I'm an equal opportunity sports drink consumer. I can pretty much drink anything. There are a few I won't drink. Powerade, for instance, contains high fructose corn syrup, that I try to avoid. We almost always have some Gatorade in the fridge, mainly because it's cheap. That's what I usually gulp down before a weekday morning run. Often, if I know a race will serve a particular brand, I'll buy some to test out, just in case. NODM announced it would have HEED, so I bought some. I hear a lot of complaints on the running forums about HEED. But I don't mind it. In fact, I like it. They served it at the PCT 50/50 too and it didn't let me down. But for me, I don't think there's a magic sports drink out there. I think what I consume over a week's time is just as important as what I consume over a few hours. As long as a sports drink has the basic ingredients, tastes okay, and doesn't make me nauseous, I haven't found that one formula is necessarily better than another.
A few months ago, a PR guy for Accelerade emailed to ask if I wanted a sample. I had never tried it, so I said, sure, but told him I wasn't necessarily going to write about it in my blog. A week or so later, I received a canister of lemonade flavor Accelerade and two of their gels. I'm flush with gels and am actually moving away from using them. (I prefer Clif Bloks.) So I gave them to Marc (who had never used gels) and he thought they were fine.
Then, a few weeks ago, a different PR person for Accelerade emailed to see if I wanted a sample and asked if I'd write a review on my blog. Since I'd already tried it, I said sure. This time I received fruit punch flavor (my request) and 2 more gels (orange and kiwi strawberry).
First, the bad news:
Accel Gels: I don't like them. They may work well, but they have a gritty consistency that made it difficult to get them down. If you can get past that you may like them. Not me. I also don't like that they contain high fructose corn syrup.
Now, the better news:
Accelerade: Before carrying it on a run I tried some of the Accelerade as a recovery drink. I would describe it as thick, even when mixed half-strength (I rarely drink my sports drink full strength). It seems to have some substance to it. I like the taste of both the lemonade and the fruit punch. Accelerade contains carbs and protein in a 4/1 ratio. For the past few years I've tried to make sure I ingest something after a long run with a 4/1 carb/protein ratio and I think there's something to it. I've since used Accelerade on some medium runs (10-12 miles) and on my last long run of 20+ miles. My runs have been fine to good every time I've used Accelerade. I recovered really well from that last 20+ mile run. Maybe the Accelerade helped. It certainly didn't hurt. So I guess Accelerade has my recommendation...for whatever that's worth!