Running gels, lets talk about it!
So for my longer runs, usually 21km’s or more I’ve started using running gels and energy bars. I used to only take what they would offer at races when I started running. But I find more and more that after you’ve reached about 25km you start getting hungry and not for the bananas or coke that they serve at races, but for something more fulfilling. So I started using GU and energy bars for that… I find that it really helps keep my energy levels on par🏃🙌 what gels do you use? However i understand that not all runners prefer using running gels. In fact some of my closest friends actually would not recommend using the gels and run solely on for example natural products such as dried fruits, bananas… So like i said it all depends on what works for your body.
What are the benefits? Well… your body uses two main sources of fuel during a marathon: carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates is the primary fuel source during a race. However we only store a limited supply naturally in our muscles (even with as much carbo-loading that you’ve done). So it usually will last for about a “half-marathon” or about half way to a full marathon (2hours). Fat is an abundant resource, but is broken down into energy slowly, so it becomes ineffective for running marathons especially when you are pacing your self and trying to increase your time by running faster than your normal pace. So in hindsight the faster you run the more energy you need and the more carbs you burn.
So energy gels should be able to help replenish carbohydrate stores that are depleted when running. However, since carbohydrates are stored in our muscles, on the day of the race your performance is largely dependent on the glycogen that is released from your muscles. Therefore it is usually quite difficult for the gels to convert into carbohydrates then glycogen that fast. The gels are there as a type of supplement. To give you that extra boost when you need one.
When to take the gels all depends on the runner. I suggest taking within 60 mins into the race and leave at least 45-60 mins between each time you take the gel. I wont really suggest the specific types of gels to use. I think that’s up to the runner.
So tell me, what gels do you use