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11/08/2013 at 11:44


I am doing a half marathon in September, and aiming for 1:40.

When and how many gels should be looking at using?



11/08/2013 at 13:49

Depending on the time of day you're running but if morning (10am) I'd say you won't need anything aside from a proper breakfast (porridge) and drinks

If you want to carry a gel I doubt you'd need more than the one, and remember to take it with water.

11/08/2013 at 13:59

Agree. None and never is the answer(in a half marathon)

11/08/2013 at 14:19
In a half , none!
11/08/2013 at 14:52

You make gels sound like petrol for people.

The energy storage and release capacities of humans are a little more sophisticated than an internal combustion engine.

11/08/2013 at 14:59

I'd only add that it is worth thinking about if you are looking at a 2hr+ finish time for the HM. That tends to be my line in the sand where I start thinking about using gels in races. Never bother with them in training other than to make sure I can stomach them.

11/08/2013 at 15:11

I once saw a bloke with 8 gels for a half,  weird !!

11/08/2013 at 15:50

I a would say from my experience that 1 or 2 but try them first to see what works and if use use "SIS" products I have found that no extra water needed,but is all personal preference .


11/08/2013 at 16:25
ashman wrote (see)

I once saw a bloke with 8 gels for a half,  weird !!

That is pretty weird. Did you actually see him use them all?

+1 for none, btw.

11/08/2013 at 16:48

No literatin only saw him at the start with them all on his belt.

11/08/2013 at 17:33

Thanks for the input.

I am a bit confused, I have read elsewhere after 75/90 minutes energy stores are depleted and you should use gels to replace??



11/08/2013 at 17:52

William see how you feel when doing your long runs in training. I don't take liquid or gels for a half, even when doing training runs of over 2 and half hours I feel fine without anything. But I always take money with me so I can get something if I need it. 

11/08/2013 at 17:59

I seemed to manage 18 miles today with nothing but water but from experience Scott says 1 or 2. Perhaps he should run with his blanky too

11/08/2013 at 18:00
Most of the people who say you need to take a gel after that period of time are the manufacturers who's main business is to sell more gels.
11/08/2013 at 18:12

Wo there! The "blankly" comment was a bit sharp! I don't work for a gel company wish I did as they must make a fortune!  They do seem to help but maybe it's all in my mind but we all need a mental boast to get us to the end,if we are doing 5k or full 


11/08/2013 at 19:09

Mental boast(sic) over 5k? i think the question was about how many gels you need in a half marathon. How many you need for a mental boast(sic) is not going to be a specific number. 

11/08/2013 at 19:54

Having one might be more of a placeebo effect. You might not need the gel but it may give you a mental kick. Half the battle of distance running is peoples mental capaciy to push through pain and exhaustion. 

One gel is hardly going to hurt unless it tastes bloody awful and you puke it all over yourself.

11/08/2013 at 20:38

thing is, they do taste bloody awful though. *shudders*

11/08/2013 at 22:03

In one of my less sensible moments of July I ran 2hr:53min on the treadmill for 26.2 miles. I was interested to see how I coped with water alone. I was fine - that second rate fuel (fat) saw me through it, along with copious water.

Hopefully that means I have got my long runs correct, running them nice and slowly and gaining the training adaptations we look for (increased glycogen storage, and improved fat utilization).

So in a half, I wouldn't think about Gels, in a marathon on race day I will take them to stave off any risk of glycogen depletion - it is the effect on the brain you need to avoid, along with swimming and cycling a long way before a marathon 


Edited: 11/08/2013 at 22:06
11/08/2013 at 23:09

I don't use gels as only run as far as HM (and they make me gag) but the guys who I am racing around, so 1.25-1.30, normally take them at the 50 min mark. I read that the body has glycogen stores for roughly 90 minutes of effort

On the point of them being disgusting, I was recently given a high5 isogel and that was ok, almost like a mini isotonic drink in texture.

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