ENERGY SUPPLEMENTS

From Trainer Will: energy supplements

Each of those items (gels, gummies, beans) are designed for the same purpose: quick, easily digestible energy. The different forms are only to cater to various individuals' personal preferences. Some don't like the texture of gel (like Gu), some don't like gummy-type stuff (like Shot Bloks), and some don't really like chewing on jelly beans in the middle of a race. These provide energy through caffeine and simple carbohydrates.
When to use them is also a personal preference situation. Most of these products say to take one serving 15 minutes before you start, and then one every half hour of exertion. There's nothing wrong with that strategy, however, because these supplements all use caffeine (they have non-caffeine options, but...let's be real here: why use it if not for the caffeine, which can cause a significant performance boost), you don't really want to stop consistently taking them until your exercise is finished. Also, sometimes you can only ingest so much caffeine before you start feeling "off.” Because of that, some people like to settle for a good breakfast before the race and then wait a period of time (maybe 60-75 minutes into the race) before starting to use energy supplements. 
Whatever race day strategy you decide upon, you should be careful to test it in training. Use your long runs as you lead up to the race to practice and test various strategies and see which works best for you, so that you have no questions or indecision on race day.
Good luck with your training!

  • Trainer Will

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