What effect do you notice after taking a gel?

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05/02/2013 at 20:49

There was a programme last summer about the effects of these products & questioned their effectiveness, the experts came up with the conclusion that water was just as effective. Everyone to their own & if they want to spend money on them fair enough but personally i don't see them as the be-all end-all, we live in  quick fix times & we are bombarded by companies claiming that by taking their products we will perform better but at the end of the day there's no substitute for hard work & of course water

05/02/2013 at 21:10

I think you have oversimplified the conclusions of that program in a Daily Mail kind of way.. For Joe public, not taking part in endurance type events, they are a complete waste of money. But they were recognised as having a place in endurance events. I noticed Wiggins time his Gels to one every 18 mins.

I think a lot people ("users") see them as some sort of turbo booster, and have little real idea why they use them. I can run a marathon on water and training. I could run one a little faster with a bit of easily digested carbs.   

cougie    pirate
05/02/2013 at 22:04
I've seen women scoffing 500gr dairy milks to get round the race for life.

Christ knows why - it looked like her fat stores were pretty much topped up.

Joe Public just hasn't a clue about these things. And most others too.
06/02/2013 at 10:38

I've tried quite a few different brands of gel but they all make me feel slightly nauseous, I get on much better with Jelly Babies or Shot Bloks. Lucozade/Powerade also me feel a bit sick if I drink them while running and the sugary/sticky residue is horrible.

I tend to have a Blok or a couple of Jelly Babies about 80 minutes into a race and then every 30 minutes after that. I think the idea is to take them before you feel like you need it so that you don't crash? That's what I do anyway, and if it's just a placebo I don't really mind - its a good excuse to eat some sweets

Has anyone tried the sports jelly beans? My sister got me some of the Lucozade ones but they are so chewy (and expensive! 25g is nearly the same price as a whole bag of Jelly Babies)

M.r Zuvai    pirate
06/02/2013 at 10:46
Also-ran wrote (see)

I think you have oversimplified the conclusions of that program in a Daily Mail kind of way.. For Joe public, not taking part in endurance type events, they are a complete waste of money. But they were recognised as having a place in endurance events. I noticed Wiggins time his Gels to one every 18 mins.

I think a lot people ("users") see them as some sort of turbo booster, and have little real idea why they use them. I can run a marathon on water and training. I could run one a little faster with a bit of easily digested carbs.   

perfect summary

06/02/2013 at 11:31

I am pretty slow so my LSR can be 3 - 4 hours.  I don't like to eat too much before a run and I find gels quite useful as an easy to carry top up; I use Gu gels, but only take about half a sachet at a time, any more than that and it makes me nauseous.  No more than 3 in one day, for the same reason.  Can also cause a bit of stomach distress afterwards.  Regarding effect - about 10 mins or so after taking it I do feel a boost, suspect most of it is down to the caffeine.

06/02/2013 at 11:41

Just a quick ask - does everyone follow the instructions on the gels ? They're usually quite precisely written on the back of the packet, but to see the wrappers strewn about during a large event, it makes you wonder.

Anyway, I found a number to be a bit fiddly as you had to take them with water, switched to a make where they were already diluted, but then switched back as I felt more in control of my gloop 'dosage' 

cougie    pirate
06/02/2013 at 12:16
I think the gel usage as directed is too much. I know some riders on a sportif did a trial whereby they got free gels and had to use them as directed. They came back with good reports - but it was a stupid amount of gels - something like 20 or so ?

That's a bloody expensive bike ride.
M.r Zuvai    pirate
06/02/2013 at 12:34
LouiseG wrote (see)

I am pretty slow so my LSR can be 3 - 4 hours.  I don't like to eat too much before a run and I find gels quite useful as an easy to carry top up; I use Gu gels, but only take about half a sachet at a time, any more than that and it makes me nauseous.  No more than 3 in one day, for the same reason.  Can also cause a bit of stomach distress afterwards.  Regarding effect - about 10 mins or so after taking it I do feel a boost, suspect most of it is down to the caffeine.

i would have a think about the volume of gels you're using during training - the LSR is there to train your body to fuel from fat, and by taking gels you'll be limiting how much you're developing that process

06/02/2013 at 13:40

the body metabolises both stored glycogen (from the liver and muscles) and fat for energy during your race.

there are physiological limits to how much glycogen you can store in your body (this equates to about 90mins of high intensity exercise). There is a MUCH higher limit to how much fat you can store.

if properly nourished before the race, and assuming you have no medical conditions that interrupt normal metabolism, when you run at low relative intensity your body will metabolise fat for about half of the energy requirements of your muscles. At higher intensities, the energy demand increases, and it's more efficient to use glycogen (the metabolic path is quicker and cheaper) to satisfy those demands.

An elite distance runner will have trained to a degree where s/he can draw on fat stores for a higher proportion of energy requirements for longer. There is also some evidence that small amounts of caffeine ingested before exercise can increase the rate of fat metabolism.

So in summary, this explains why some people can run an entire marathon on nothing but a bit of water to rehydrate themselves, as they're using a mixture of fat and carbs from the outset to supply their muscles with energy, and they never fully deplete those glycogen stores. Unless you've starved yourself, you don't need any additional carbs during workouts up to about 90 mins in length, and that's assuming you burn glycogen only, and burn no fat at all.

Edited: 06/02/2013 at 13:42
06/02/2013 at 15:46
cougie wrote (see)
I think the gel usage as directed is too much. I know some riders on a sportif did a trial whereby they got free gels and had to use them as directed. They came back with good reports - but it was a stupid amount of gels - something like 20 or so ?

That's a bloody expensive bike ride.

Thats very true of the SIS isotonic Gels. Look on the packet and its one every 20 minutes, but look on line for SIS' advice on marathoning and its more like 30mins. I'm OK with a Gel belt, but carting around a carrier bag full of them is getting a bit much.

06/02/2013 at 15:59
GU made me feel sick, and the Cliffe jelly blocks seem to take forever to chew and interrupt my breathing. SIS gel for me was easiest to swallow quickly as the added water makes it flow well.

Jelly beans for me had too few in a packet, and did not seem to do much.

Horses for courses I guess.
cougie    pirate
06/02/2013 at 16:07
YOU CANT EAT HORSES !!!

Unless you're french.
M.r Zuvai    pirate
06/02/2013 at 16:14

you might get the runs!!

06/02/2013 at 16:27
I forgot to say I tried to train without Gel on my long runs but for the Marathon decided an extra mental boost of knowing I was not going to hit the wall made it worth spreading 3 over the distance. I think it is as important to properly hydrate over the previous 48 hours so not to need excessive fluid during the run.

I am still trying different strategies but finishing my first marathon in good shape makes me think I am close to the right solution FOR ME.
06/02/2013 at 16:27

I use SIS gels when running/training anything over 1 1/2 hours. They take about 40 minutes to get in to your system so I plan around that.

They dont make me feel super energetic (if that's a word) but what I can say is when I dont use them I feel a lot worse.

It might be a placebo effect but who knows.

Andy Murray, Bradley Wiggins and Chrissie Wellington cant all be wrong can they.

Trial and error is unfortunately, your best bet to see what is best for you.

Good luck.

06/02/2013 at 16:30

Trots normally

06/02/2013 at 18:31

Everytime i've watched Andy Murray in a long match his favourite energy source seems to be a banana & fluid. Everyone will have their own take on gels but the twice i've taken them on marathons both times i've been nauseus at the finish, the 16 other marathons i've finished i never had that problem & there was certainly no improvement in my performance or time in the twice i've taken them. Maybe it's me & i'm allergic to them but at the Paris marathon where i only took water & banana i had a really good run & felt great at the finish. Everyone to their own but they're certainly not for me.

06/02/2013 at 18:39

Really interesting discussion! I haven't done enough LSRs and longer races with and without gels to be able to make a comparison yet. I'm going to aim for 12 miles LSR this weekend, which will probably take me just over 2 hours, and try without any gel to see how it feels. 

Isn't it a bit of a pain to be carrying banana on a long run? 

 

06/02/2013 at 18:48

I suppose the best way is to try out a long run using gels & another without then you can see if they really work, it's surely in the companies best interest to bull their products, Lucozade Sport really makes you last 33% longer? If that was true maybe i should have taken it on a gruelling 20 mile road race last spring & could have gone on for 30 miles

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