Marathon - belt or no belt

What to do with the gels ?

1 to 20 of 48 messages
01/12/2010 at 13:42

Am doing my first marathon next year.

So far have only done half marathons and I usually fuel myself with a couple of Go-Gels and a Powerade drink, which I carry in my hands around the course.

Looking at the marathon, would probably need 4-5 gels - got big hands, but not that big !

Not sure I could run with a belt on - anyone use one ?

01/12/2010 at 13:46
I run with a bumbag-type pouch, have no problem with it. My b-i-l has a SIS gel belt that hold about a dozen gels (I think) that he recommended, when he did his marathon.
01/12/2010 at 14:25
I have seen a few people who tape their gels onto their arms with plaster and then rip them off as they use them. Haven't tried it myself but it seems like a good idea.
01/12/2010 at 15:22

What about your arm hair !!!

Maybe the pain of pulling the plaster off puts you off the pain of the marathon ???

01/12/2010 at 16:15

I've used an SIS gel belt and an IronMan tri number belt and interestingly enough the IronMan belt was better for holding SIS gels because the loops were slightly tighter.  When I tried the SIS belt for the Paris marathon I thought I'd be using the pouch for holding a couple of gels but I found it bounced up and down too much.  They're a lot more stable in the loops.  Unfortunately I was standing on the start line on the Champs Elysees when I found out, so had some panic last minute gel reconfiguration to sort out!

There's a lesson there - whatever gel carrying strategy you go for, try it out in a long run or preferably warm-up race before the marathon.

01/12/2010 at 17:17
I just stuck some shot blox in the back pocket of my shorts.
01/12/2010 at 17:17

I've used a (an?) SiS belt for a couple of marathons. Always worth checking the loops are all firmly stitched before race day - I've had to get out a sewing kit and refasten a couple on race eve (easy to fix). Only trouble I have is that it can get a bit uncomfortable as I tend to bloat up with all the sport drink. For that reason I prefer (when I'm proper trying for a time not ambling round) races where you can put your own drinks out. Attach a gel to each drink with a rubber band and then nothing to carry!

London doesn't let you put your own drinks out but Berlin does, so does Abingdon (drinks tables not all that frequent, mind, but you can always put extra out on the course the night before I suppose), so does Eindhoven (an undiscovered jewel among marathons).

01/12/2010 at 17:20
PS 4-5? I use 7!
01/12/2010 at 17:56

Sports Beans are easier to carry in a key pocket and far easier to eat and digest.

01/12/2010 at 18:24

I bought a SIS belt with my first marathon in mind next year, despite Wiggle saying it was fully adjustable it is too tight for me, I'm about 36" waist, so unless you are 34" or less I would try something else

I also bought a Hilly armband that holds 3 or 4 which I may use, trouble is the gels felt a bit heavy when grouped together and I was worried the sweat would not escape easily from my upper arm

I hope to have someone at the 17/18 mile point with 3 or 4 gels to pass to me so I won't need to carry more than 4 at any time

I may even try safety pinning some to my shorts (or cap/hat/vest)

I will try various things in the coming weeks as my training runs increase and hope to find a solution

01/12/2010 at 19:52

Agree with MB ...... the jelly beans are far less messy!   Tried out gels on a longer run in pre HM training and I ended up a sticky mess!   Opted for the jelly beans on the day; easier to carry too as they fitted in my pocket.

01/12/2010 at 20:42
I used a sis gel belt for my first (and only) marathon. I found it hung a little low but it was fine with a gel or two in training. But when fully loaded I also found it became far too bouncy and hoping for the best ended up with me losing half of my gels. Luckily managed to find the OH and get him to buy emergency jelly babies.
01/12/2010 at 20:46

So many different ways to carry gels. I must admit that I don't know how people manage carrying loads of them all in their hands the whole way!

Lots of people slate the SiS belts, but they can be adapted and improved. Luckily for me my wife is handy with a needle and thread and she has sewn 2 elastic loops either side of my short, on the waist band over the hips. Unde these she has also sewn a small pocket. I can fit 2 gels either side in the loops with their bottom halves sitting in the pockets. I carry 2 other gels, 1 to neck 30 secs to go on the start line, 1 to have around the 6m mark.

I echo PPs point of fully trying your intended strategy way in advance of the race.

02/12/2010 at 08:26
A couple of safety pins through the sis belt into your waistband helps with the bouncing.
02/12/2010 at 10:30

seems to me things would be much easier if the gel makers incorporated a loop on the gel wrapper that could be broken when force was applied to it

would make for a far simpler belt that didn't need elastic loops that fall apart as soon as a gel goes near it

02/12/2010 at 19:44
I carry my camelbak, 2 litres of water with nuun tabs, don't use gels and always carry jelly babies. Also means I can carry phone, keys .. etc
10/12/2010 at 11:12
SIS belt for me too.  It is a bit tricky to load as you have to push the gels into elastic loops.  There is a little bounce if you fully load it (it takes upto 8 - so just load it with the amount you plan to use).  If it is carrying about 5 gels then it is stable on the pelvis, light and barely noticable.
11/12/2010 at 11:52

Can anyone help with ideas for carrying water? Hate carrying those handheld bottle, but don't think those bumbag things with a space for a water bottle look very comfy!

Training for first marathon and getting a bit thirsty after 14 miles!!!

11/12/2010 at 18:33

I have a Nathan balt. I also have a very small bottle that fits into the Nathan Belt. It is designed to carry 5 gels - you just squeeze them in before the start of the race. I have never actually used gels or any type of fueling for races. I just use it for water+electrolyte mix.

The belts are fine - again, Nathan do a ladies belt which is obviously smaller than the mens belt, even so, I wear mine on my hips. They come with a variety of different number of water bottles. and bottle sizes.

I don't bother with anything most of the time. Don't feel the need.


Edited: 11/12/2010 at 18:35
11/12/2010 at 20:31

I really don't like the SiS belt, far too much bounce. Done a couple of maras using it then bought a Hilly waist pack. Only fits about 5 SiS gels but perfect for me.

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