Nail-biter, gum-snapper, pencil-gnawer, teeth-tapper — Freud would have a heyday with my oral fixation, which I self-medicate by chewing gum, a lot. Call me the Violet Beauregarde of running. So when a friend offered me an entire box of Nick Symmond‘s RunGum she won at a race I took it. Chewing caffeinated gum while I run? Sounded like a match made in Heaven: three of my favorite things all rolled into a single experience.
With the gum long gone and the box recycled, did I turn into an elite runner, OTQ, improve my tempo pace, turn into Cornholio, enhance my physique, or at least pony up the money to buy another box of RunGum for myself?
RunGum was created by Olympian Nick Symmonds as a way to get more caffeine into your body without “unwanted sugars and liquids.” That’s a great idea because caffeine is life and sometimes I want some and don’t want to have to pee like a racehorse 45 minutes later.
On the practical front, caffeine has been shown to help performance both mentally and physically and isn’t an illegal performance enhancer. Each piece of RunGum has 50mg of caffeine; the rough equivalent of a shot of espresso. Mmmmm. Espresso.
Nick promises quite a lot will happen when you chew his magic chicklets:
When you chew Run Gum, you will: 1. Feel a quick boost from a proven source… Caffeine. You will also get the benefits of taurine and B vitamins, both shown to have a positive impact on energy levels. 2. See how chewing gum helps you focus and keep away the urge to grab a high-calorie snack. 3. Have the energy needed to perform better during workouts and at work so that you can do more of the stuff you love at night and over the weekend. Run Gum will help you maximize your performance.
There were 12 packs of gum in the box, each containing two pieces. I have a high caffeine tolerance, so I chewed two pieces of gum per run. I also offered gum to several running buddies to get their opinions. Our opinions were all the same.
Nick, you sure this isn’t decaf?
There was no buzz. None! Like seriously, zero. Instead of a buzz, it was a buzzkill. Even my super-sensitive-to-caffeine friend reported no real effect. No increased focus or improved performance. Sad!
The gum itself is grody.
The caffeine, taurine and B vitamins gave me no perceived running improvement, but I love myself some gum, remember? But … but … hmmmm. Those additions to the gum render it with a chemical taste (similar to a diet soda) and after that wears away, the mint flavor is also gone. The texture of the gum is reminiscent of the year-old, rock-hard pink Double Bubble you’d find in your Halloween basket the following Halloween. Meaning, after you get the gum warmed up, it quickly makes your jaw sore and the flavor is gone. Oh, and it doesn’t snap or make good bubbles either. WTH?
It won’t get you that bikini body.
Chewing gum will deter you from snacking because crumbs in your gum is just no fun. But I don’t generally snack on my run. Do you? It’s kinda gross, so chewing it when not running is not exactly something I’m keen to do, but I tried it to see how hot I’d get, but RunGum did not deter me from snacking. If anything, because of the bad flavor I wanted an immediate snack to get the taste out of my mouth as quickly as possible.
It’s almost a dollar per piece.
$22 for 24 Chicklet-sized pieces? This stuff doesn’t freshen my breath, chew well, boost my performance, or enhance my figure. So, will I ever buy this myself … No. Nope. Never.
What did I learn from this experiment?
I can run and chew gum at the same time! After the RunGum was gone, I tried chewing my regular favorites while running for comparison (Extra and Trident or Stride if you’re wondering). I found out that I like chewing good, normal sugar-free gum on my runs. The flavor is nice, it reduces dry mouth and makes me feel less thirsty, especially on hot days. Plus, long solo runs can get boring and perfecting my bubble blowing and gum-snapping at tempo pace as a way to get through the miles makes them more interesting. Sadly, RunGum is less fun on the run than Bubble Yum.
After noshing on the entire box of RunGum, I did not feel faster, train better, wake up, blast off, cut inches from my hips and thighs, or blow my money on more.
Love ya Nick, you’re a great salesman, a fun and interesting guy, a super leader for the sport, but … I think I’ll have to pass even if someone offers me another free box of RunGum.
Have you tried RunGum? Has a running product ever disappointed you?