What effect do you notice after taking a gel?

1 to 20 of 47 messages
03/02/2013 at 14:34

I have just started experimenting with Sis Go gels on long runs, and wonder what effect I should be expecting and experiencing. In November last year I did my first 10 mile race, and all my runs before that had been without gels. It never occurred to me to use them. Then I entered my first HM on 3rd March, and thought - ooh err, 13 miles, perhaps I should be using gels.

Last weekend did 10 miles (gel after 6.5) and yesterday 11 miles (furthest I have ever run, gel at 7 miles). I half expected to feel like a switch had been turned on, and to have a sudden burst of energy. Instead, I didn't feel much different, really. After both runs, I was knackered, and my pace/tiredness didn't noticeably improve.

Perhaps the effect is subtle, and perhaps without the gels I would have felt worse? But that doesn't tally with my successful 10 mile gel-free race. And 7  miles is a distance I comfortably and regularly do on my general runs. (Another  concern is that I don't want to become reliant on gels when the HM is over and I'm running for pleasure rather than for a race).

I'd be really interested to hear of anyone else's experiences of using gels and what difference you feel, what difference they make to your speed and endurance.




03/02/2013 at 15:11

OK very simply and from a layman's point of view...on longer runs there comes a point where you've used up all the energy  that has  has been stored as Glycogen in the muscles and liver. You then  start to burn fat, which you can't do as efficiently. So your energy levels, for want of a better term, drop off and you get tired.  Gels are supposed to provide accessible energy so that you don't deplete all your reserves.  They won't "inject" you with a spurt of energy, your body still needs to be efficient at converting what energy they provide.

 People have been running races of all distances without gels until the last few years.  Get a few gel-less halfs under your belt - you certainly don't need gels to run a half- then try it in a race yourself and make your own mind up about any improvements.

cougie    pirate
03/02/2013 at 15:12
You don't need held for those distances.
A gel takes about 20 mins to be absorbed so you'd probably finished your ten miler.

The body stores enough energy to run up to 20 miles without taking on any extra.
There's no turbo boost from a gel - not that I've ever noticed anyway.

If you're planning a marathon then you can use them- otherwise it's a waste of money. You'd probably run faster without a gel anyway - eating and digesting anything will slow you down if you don't need that fuel.
03/02/2013 at 18:31

I've run 18 marathons & over 200 half marathons over the years & managed well enough for years without gels & muck like Lucozade Sport & personally think runners are better off with water & Jelly Beans. When i did try them i found no benefit at all & along with Lucozade Sport made me feel sick, stopped taking them all together & found no difference in performances. From personal experience i think there's big  marketing from large companies promoting these products but whether they are as good as they claim is very questionable.

03/02/2013 at 18:34

i get the BOKE

03/02/2013 at 19:02
My handle bars get sticky
cougie    pirate
03/02/2013 at 20:38
Jelly beans are no good for me. Id probably end up scoffing them before the race and end up with none left. At least I won't scoff gels for fun.
03/02/2013 at 22:13

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'll try my next long run without taking a gel, and see how I feel in comparison with the last two.

04/02/2013 at 21:38

Water and additional training are more effective than gels. 

04/02/2013 at 21:55

gels are just an expensive gimmick IMO and pretty sickly.   Percy Pigs will do the same thing and you don't have to ingest the whole bag at once - but by gibbidy it's hard not to. 

cougie    pirate
04/02/2013 at 22:01
I did a race using Sammy Snails once. (the asda version of Percy pigs).
Apart from the Snail vibe obviously slowing me down - they're definitely harder to eat at speed. Especially if you want to breathe too.

They're ok for slower training runs but I prefer gels for racing.
04/02/2013 at 22:20
I've never used gels or jellybabies in the past, but last HM I did there was a kid at the side of the road with a bowl of skittles (i assume he was offering them to runners) so I grabbed a hand full and tried to eat a few.
To cut a long story short most of them ended up in a hedge bottom as soon as I was out of sight of the very kind and thoughtful young chap.
05/02/2013 at 17:44

I can only speak from personal experience of trying them & have come to the conclusion they're absolutely useless & had no effect at all, people buy into the bullshit that the big companies sell but the truth is they're no better for an instant fix than a sugar cube.As for Lucozade Sport it contains 8 spoonfulls of sugar, says it all really.

cougie    pirate
05/02/2013 at 17:51
Isn't that what you want from it though ?
It's be crap giving out the diet version at the marathon.
05/02/2013 at 17:58
there'll be bluebirds over....,, wrote (see)
there'll be bluebirds over....,, wrote (see)

"...without gels & muck like Lucozade Sport & personally think runners are better off with water & Jelly Beans. "


there'll be bluebirds over....,, wrote (see)

As for Lucozade Sport it contains 8 spoonfulls of sugar, says it all really.

Pray tell, what is in your healthy Jelly Beans ??

05/02/2013 at 18:06

Sugar, the same as the overpriced nonsense that is gels & Lucozade Sport but at the fraction of the price.

05/02/2013 at 20:04
there'll be bluebirds over....,, wrote (see)

Sugar, the same as the overpriced nonsense that is gels & Lucozade Sport but at the fraction of the price.

So why use Jelly beans, as you mentioned earlier?

Can't say I am a fan of eating anything when running, cycling or rowing. Gels are a convenient fuel source for long endurance events. Are we not just benefiting from the advances developed for elite endurance athletes. Maybe runners world would be better placed to explain how to use then, and what they are for, then we wouldn't see 5k, 10k and half marathons littered with Gel wrappers.

05/02/2013 at 20:41

Interesting this, I've just finished reading this months Mens Running and there's loads about energy bars/gels in the articles and they seem very popular. I for one have only tried them once when running a half marathon and they just made me feel sick! 

05/02/2013 at 20:48
I see loads of people at my local parkrun jogging round with bottles of Lucozade.
I wonder if they ever stop and think about how the runners at the front manage to get round without anything.
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

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