Runner’s Nutrition: Lucozade Sport Jelly Beans

The nerve of these people! What on earth were they thinking? After all, yours truly has long been… wossname… synonymous with heavy consumption of Bertie Bassett’s finest confection; before, during and after races. Goodness, have they even read the title of this blog?

Apparently not, as just last week a few bags of new Lucozade Sport Jelly BEANS dropped onto the mat here at Jelly Baby Towers.

And while I’m always glad to try new things, this just seemed to be against the natural order of things. But I’m a fair-minded sort, and so, for a couple or three days, I eschewed Jelly Babies, bananas and Cranberry Taut in favour of Lucozade’s latest foray into range extension.

So do these things work?

Well, first off, I have to declare that I’m not a fan of Lucozade drinks, as I prefer the unsweetened alternative provided by Taut.

However, these things seem to be sugar and syrup-based, and pack an even heftier carb punch per 100g than jelly babies. So I followed the instructions and munched a bag, followed by a glass of water. They mix orange and raspberry flavour beans in every bag, and frankly, they taste very nice; though they might be a bit sickly without the H2O chaser.

I then set out for a slightly warm 10 miler, taking another bag and a small bottle of water with me. As is my wont, I waited for a few miles, then started munching and sipping as I went. I was very pleasantly surprised too, as not only were they easy on the stomach, I felt full of energy throughout and put in a fairly respectable performance.

However, at the end of the day, there’s no miracle ingredient that makes these things more than just a pretty pleasant way to get some carbohydrate energy into your system while you train.

They do seem to pack more carbs than standard jelly beans per gram, but then, you could always just eat more standard jelly beans. After all, at 99p for a 30g pack, these aren’t cheap.

Which is better, babies or beans?

The small problem these presented when running, was getting these slippery little suckers into my mouth. More than one of them bit the dust of the dunes as I ran.

Though through trial and error, I’ve worked out that the best way to take them is to tear a very small corner off the pack and try to ‘drink’ the beans from the small opening this creates.

Which is where Jelly Babies score a good bit higher, being considerably easier to get a grip of when you’re on the hoof.

Also, and this is crucial, as I am prone to accepting proffered sweets from strangers in the latter stages of marathons and half-marathons, I also like the tamper-proof nature of Jelly Babies.

You see, that light dusting of sugar would surely give the game away if someone had licked their Jelly Babies before handing them out to runners, whereas the shiny, Shellac finish of Jelly Beans offers no such comfort.

The entirely objective and fair-minded findings

While I was initially a bit sceptical, I actually like the Lucozade Jelly Beans quite a lot. They plainly deliver the goods in terms of energy and are gentle on your stomach too.

Though having said that, I’m still going to be paranoidly looking out for purveyors of free Jelly Babies the next time I run a marathon…


Gear Review: Polaroid Vector Running Sunglasses

There is a character in Douglas Adams’ wonderful book ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ who, unbeknownst to him, is a Rain God. Wherever he goes, the clouds follow him, and water him.

Which makes him pretty much the opposite of my good self.

Yep, all it takes is for me to idly wonder where my shorts are and all precipitation will magically cease in order for the sun to put his hat on to make me as hot and sweaty as possible.

So, as an inveterate plodder with a faulty thermostat, lightweight sunglasses that will stay in place regardless of the rivers of sweat pouring down my face are something of an essential buy.

For the last year or so, such duties have fallen to the darkly handsome Polaroid Medal sunglasses reviewed here. However, having enjoyed their lightweight comfort for a full 12 months now, I couldn’t resist trying out the new, improved and even sexier 2010 incarnation, the Polaroid Vector 99 P7007A.

First impressions? They’re sex on legs…

While they’re far from cheap, you always get a bang for your buck when you buy Polaroid sunglasses.

Open up that slinky case and your first thought is ‘Cool, they’ve wedged three pairs of sunglasses in there by mistake!’

But no, as you’ll quickly find out, they’ve stuck three pairs of running sunglasses in there completely on purpose. Okay, so there’s only one set of lightweight legs, but they come with one-piece brown tints fitted, and alternative sets of orange tint and clear lenses slotted into protective foam in the case.

What’s really clever about the Vectors though, is how quick and easy it is to switch between the three sets of lenses. Simply bend one side of the top frame up slightly, and the silver section that holds the lenses slides out, before your replacement lens clicks into place.

The result is a very robust arrangement, which really belies the waif-like weight and proportions of the Vectors. Polaroid don’t give an official weight, but they appear to be about 25g, which is next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

These are also strikingly good-looking sunglasses to my mind, if a little bit on the ‘bling’ side. In fact, to be honest, my Good Lady Wife has started to refer to me as ‘Puff Daddy’ in front of the kids when I’m wearing them. Though that’s actually an improvement on the Ray Charles jibes I’ve endured while wearing the Polaroid Medals over the last 12 months.

But does even P Diddy need three different lenses? Well, yes. As the weather has been mildly atrocious since these things rocked up here at Jelly Baby Towers, I’ve run through golf ball-sized hailstones, where the clear lenses were simply a godsend; the deep gloaming of a late afternoon run at the beach where a slight miscalculation with regard to sundown made my choice of the orange tints an inspired one; and now that the weather has picked up a bit, I’ve enjoyed a sunny, sweaty traipse through the dunes where the brown tints showed that Polaroid really know their stuff when it comes to clarity of vision.

Second impression, they’re pretty clever too…

Well, when it comes to running sunglasses, lightness, comfort and fog-resistance are even more important than clarity of vision.

So while the Polaroid vectors undoubtedly keep UV at bay, that would be to little avail if they didn’t perform when the heat is on.

Fortunately, someone at Polaroid has obviously rethought the whole concept of sunglasses for runners, and incorporated a couple of superb design details.

The first of these is the adjustable rubber fitments you’ll find on the leg. The soft little things can be slid up and down the leg to allow perfect adjustment behind your ears, ensuring that the Vectors stay firmly in place while you’re running, without rubbing or chafing at all.

The second great design detail is that the lenses ‘float’ beneath the frames, pulling off the difficult trick of giving you all round protection from the sun, while ensuring plenty of airflow to prevent the lenses misting up.

The sweaty but slightly smug conclusion…

I must admit that while I acquired the Polaroid Vectors for athletic purposes, they now live in my car, because the orange tints make the most superb driving glasses I’ve ever had. When the sky turns black and the rains come down, putting these on is like making the sun come out. They’re also great for evening runs.

But it’s when the clouds part and it’s time to take my ageing, sweaty body out in the sunshine for a run that these things really come into their own. The vision through the brown tints is perfect, they’re so light and comfortable that you forget you’re wearing them, and best of all, with all that ventilation and a hydrophobic coating, it’s impossible to steam them up.

Even as I type this post, sweatier than a Lee Evans encore, after my first hot weather ten-miler of the season, I can see the screen of my Mac as clear as day through the Vectors.

And so, having given the previous incarnation of Polaroid’s sunglasses for runners a rare 5 Jelly Baby Rating, I’m afraid that the Vectors are such a massive improvement, I’m going to have to give them the whole damn bag.

Technical Specification

• Polaroid polarized lenses
• 100% UV400 protection
• Filter category 3
• Weight 25g (Unofficial)
• Specially designed ear fittings for better hold
• Unique construction with lenses secured at the nose
• Clear, brown and orange easily interchangeable lenses
• Clear and orange lenses are non-polarized
• Comes with padded, zipped Polaroid case
• Inside frame width 130mm, lens height 39mm