Worthwhile getting in the habit or using them or not?
I'm just starting out in running and am currently training for a half and also Brighton Marathon next year. I have never used / experienced Gels and if im honest im not even entirley sure what they are. I completely agree with the chap earlier who was talking about glycogen depletion and training your body. Allthough i havn't run a marathon yet i have experienced equally physically demanding activities and have found that you cant go far wrong with 2 litres of water and a bag of mixed nuts.
I tried my first gel today. I have a half marathon coming up and in the next few weeks I'm just experimenting with different things. Here's what I've found so far:
Did a 10 mile run carrying a small do-nut shaped bottle with just water. Found it hard to carry and really flagged towards the end.
.Started off a long run with a cheaper version of a camelbak filled with water and had some treats in the pocket (jelly babies & jaffa cakes). I didn't get to try the treats beause the cheap water bladder burst 2 miles in and I had to go home!
Last week I ran 12 miles and carried lucozade sport in a bottle attached to a waist belt. A bit cumbersome to carry when the bottle is full but I soon got used to it. Didn't flag at all towards the end.
Today I carried water in the waist bottle belt and tried a gel after about an hour (high5 orange). It was horrible! Tasted rank, horrible consistency and it went all over my hands, making them all sticky and I promptly got attacked by flies! Flagged a bit by the end but only consumed about a quarter of the gel.
I'm still experimenting but I think the way forward for me in a long distance race will be to alternate a sports drink with water at the aid stations and carry a few treats in a waist belt. Also tempted to buy a decent camelbak for longer training runs/walks as before the cheap one burst it was brilliant.
Lots of good advice (as always) for what it's worth, I think experimenting on what's right for you is the way to go, for me strangely I never use gels in training runs, I typically run between 15-18 milers 3/4 times a week and get through fine (for me) without, no water either (unless I pass a fountain on route) but that's because I hate to carry anything, tried it but found it awkard.
However on race day i'll probably use 2 gels during (GU brand nice flavours) when I remember to pack them! But I don't know how much they actually help? My PB in Rotterdam was run with no gels (I forgot them!) just the Isotonic drinks and water on the course and I had a great easy feeling race, where as other marathons where i've used them I haven't found it any easier as I would have expected.
For me I think gels are as much a mental boost as physical in my opinion based on my performance, Jelly babies/beans are much nicer and cheaper but not as portable.
One thing to add not taking anything away from people who use gels, but the human body does adapt, which is evident through progression in training.
Anyway best of luck in training and your planned event.
I'm liking the answers so much info and so many different ways.I like the trying not to use them much if at all as the whole point is getting the body used to working it's arse off.
So i'll see how it goes. I'm thinking I might squeeze some jelly babies into the small key pocket in my shorts and see how they go.
I've found that if the going gets tough (especially on summer days) i'll mix fruit juice with water and have that as energy if i need it. Works a treat for 10~ miles
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