Energy gels on a half marathon?

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26/08/2013 at 20:20

Hi

I am trying to beat a PB of 1 hour 40 mins for a half marathon.

Should I try energy gels or not? Have read there's no point if you're running under 2 hours? I am 6 foot 1 and 13 stone.

Thanks!

26/08/2013 at 20:30
In my personal oppinion I would say that you don't need them.
As long as you eat a good diet in the run up to the race you will be fine.
27/08/2013 at 01:13

I don't think you NEED one.. but nothing wrong with having a boost about 9 miles in.  A bit of Kendal Mint Cake does the job.

27/08/2013 at 05:22

I personally have one about an hour in and find it helpful towards the end when I might otherwise be flagging.

27/08/2013 at 10:40

I'm aiming for under 90mins this year (1 hour 36 last year) so I've always been under the impression that gels wouldn't be needed, but I suppose a quick sugar boost couldn't hurt....Jelly Babies will probably do the same job

cougie    pirate
27/08/2013 at 11:01
I'd say not. I think you'd lose more time having to take the gel rather than run flat out. If you're suffering from lack of energy toward the end - I think you need to get used to running for longer rather than eat. Unless its baking hot I won't even take on any water.
27/08/2013 at 11:54

The caffeine zipvit blurb on the back of the packet says to take one 90 minutes before the end of an event (or words like that - the key bit being that they last 90 minutes). 

I take one before I start but then I'm not too good at eating first thing so it's more of an emergency breakfast solution and comfort blanket. 

It's mostly about what suits you...

cougie    pirate
27/08/2013 at 12:47
I thought gels take 20 mins to get absorbed ? Theres only about 100 calories in a gel anyway - so it would only be able to provide enough energy to run one mile or so - if you were using that exclusively as an energy source - which you won't be.
27/08/2013 at 15:15

Think that depends on the gel. 199 in a zipvit from 51g of carb. (vs 2 weetabix - 134 / 25.7g of carb).  Can't speak for any others as I don't have them in the cupboard to check.  I'm sure it'd be on their websites though if anyone was interested... We get the zipvits as they are double size/dose compared to most gels that we've tried and we like the taste.

All down to personal preference and tolerance maybe?

27/08/2013 at 17:07

I have a few high 5 isogels which are 92 cals. It says on the packet '3 sachets per hour during activity'. I think I would lose more time fighting to get them open in a race and drinking them, than I am likely to gain from 92 calories. Based on that advice I would need 4 in a HM. Not sure how practical that would be simply in terms of carrying them along!

Edited: 27/08/2013 at 17:08
27/08/2013 at 19:26

No need for gels at all for that time over a 1/2. I'd defo take in some water though, even if it's not baking hot. Over 90mins of hard work demands a little hydration IMO. 

27/08/2013 at 21:12
cougie wrote (see)
I thought gels take 20 mins to get absorbed ? Theres only about 100 calories in a gel anyway - so it would only be able to provide enough energy to run one mile or so - if you were using that exclusively as an energy source - which you won't be.

It gets complex. The harder you go the less you can absorb. The guide is 100-250 per hour. If the OP is looking at 1:30 HM then they'll be using about 800-900 cals an hour. 

 

27/08/2013 at 22:24

 .... and the 100 calories does not all make its way to the working muscles. It is not a 1 to 1 replacement of burnt calories.

Eat well the day before, have a decent breakfast, and then race. 

I imagine the biggest effect a gel will have in a HM is to raise the blood glucose level to feed the brain which will "waken you up" if your glucose levels had fallen significantly (the 'boost' people talk about when discussing gels). I can't see it having much effect on the muscles at this distance / time period. I'm not one for using gels in half marathons, but who knows what a bit of brain sugar might do.

You'll get lots of advice. Trialing things for yourself to see what works for you is always an option 

28/08/2013 at 21:13

tried an SIS go gel the other day. the consistency tasted like a cross between wall paste and snot with a slight berry taste. They had 67 kcals in them. Is it me or does it seem like you use half the calories opening the thing and squeezing it out? I was really expecting there to be a lot more calories in them.

Might be better getting some energy drink powder and doubling the amount of powder to water so you don't need to drink so much to get the calories. 

When I've used up my go gels I'm not buying any more. Very put off by them

28/08/2013 at 21:18

I prefer shot bloks, like a cross between a jelly baby and a jelly cube, nom nom! And you can just shove one or two into your shorts pockets so nothing to open.

Don't think you need to take energy gels for a half, although if it provides you with a 'brain boost' or gives you something to look forward to, give it a try.

28/08/2013 at 21:20
Why would you want to carry a drink around a half marathon? If you get desperate there should be water in races.
seren nos yn canu    pirate
28/08/2013 at 21:40

i didn't use to use them apart from one or two ina marathon.but been using them more recently even in a 10k race.......might be all in my head but i think the caffiene/sugar boost helps as well as giving me a drink at the same time.....

28/08/2013 at 21:40

on  a plus point for high5 gels, the texture is far lighter, almost like an isotonic drink. The sis gels as said above are disgusting.

seren nos yn canu    pirate
28/08/2013 at 21:43

DT15 only if you by the isogels.the normal gels are still sticky

28/08/2013 at 21:51
Millsy1977 wrote (see)
Why would you want to carry a drink around a half marathon? If you get desperate there should be water in races.

I've come unstuck twice this year when getting to tables that were understaffed and there was a long queue waiting for water. If you're out for a PB and there's no one with a cup ready to hand to you it may be another 30mins.

I carry a 500ml bottle in training, usually I'll drink a quarter, the rest goes over my head or down my neck. It's easy enough to do the same in a race. 

During the winter I may run 15miles with no water.

Horses for courses. 

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