Fuelling long runs without gels/powdered drinks

Anyone done it?

1 to 20 of 104 messages
07/01/2013 at 13:30

I'm wondering if anyone out there has trained for a marathon without using the various gels on the market?  I'm run/walking the VLM this year and am looking at alternative fuels to gels/powdered drinks and I've tried most of them and they make me feel very sick. 

Anyone actually done it that could give me some advice?

cougie    pirate
07/01/2013 at 13:33

gels are fairly new - so lots of people have run marathons without them. 

Why not use the jelly babies/beans/percy pigs etc ?

I've run an ultra on jelly beans and foamy bananas. Very enjoyable it was too. And shedloads cheaper than gels. 

07/01/2013 at 13:46

Thanks Cougie, usually the reaction I get is that you can't possilbly do a marathon without them!  I'll start trying out some sweets on my long runs then, although am a little concerned I may be a little sick of them after a while as I'm expecting it will take me about 6 hours to finish.  Am wondering if something like homemade flapjack might also work if I nibbled it over a period of time (rather than stuffing a whole piece in my face in one go! )

07/01/2013 at 13:49

I've rarely ever taken gels, and never during a marathon.

I sometimes have the Lucozade energy tablets, and jelly babies are always good 


07/01/2013 at 13:57

I've tried homemade flapjacks/percy pigs/jelly babies and they work fine instead of gels. A friend of mine swears by rolo's as fuel for her marathons.

This weekend's race was a new experience for me as I craved salty things and coke instead of gels. It worked really well as I had a handful of ready salted crips and a few swigs of coke and I was on my way.

07/01/2013 at 14:01

Ah, hadn't thought about using savory things too Emily.  That would also help with salt replenishment too I guess; I sweat quite a bit as running's a struggle at the moment.  Might have to think about trying cashews.  Was thinking of using orange juice diluted 50/50 with water for drinking. 

*whispers*  What are percy pigs?

seren nos    pirate
07/01/2013 at 14:05

jelly beans are nicer than jelly babaies........if its not hot then white chocolate mice go down well......

i did have a few lagers at mile 17 of london last year 

cougie    pirate
07/01/2013 at 14:17

I do like gels when racing as I find them easy to get down - but on a slower run I dont mind a walking break to take on fuel. Percy Pigs are a bit chewy though, and Sammy Snails just send out the wrong vibe. 

Tescos jelly beans are very nice. You could use gourmet jelly belly beans, but it'd probably be cheaper having caviar. 

ShotBloks are quite nice too. 

07/01/2013 at 14:28

I'm currently training for a 50 mile ultra and have always previously used gels for marathons.  Knowing that I am going to be run / walking for the best part of 9 - 10 hours I have decided to go down the route of 'real food' when running.

I have so far tried peanut butter sarnies, jam sarnies, sausage rolls, cheesy biscuits, fruit cake, nuts & raisins, the list goes on......  I find I am actually able to carry on running slowly whilst munching away or alternatively take a short walking break to scoff.

I now find my stomach starts talking to me whilst I'm out on a long run and appreciates having real food inside it instead of gels which can aggravate my stomach.  I do also now take a couple of SIS caffine gels with me just in case I really start flagging.

Good luck with the training.

07/01/2013 at 14:36

Wow!  That sounds exactly what I would like to do Liz!  Never would have thought of sausage rolls, although guess they are a good carb source.  I think my stomach will appreciate the real food too, it's not very good at coping once I get hungry which is why I think the gels make me feel ill.  I'm really pleased to know that it's totally possible to have real food and still do a long event.  Am getting rather excited about this weeks long run now so I can try a few suggestions out!

cougie    pirate
07/01/2013 at 15:44

Would a sausage roll cope with marathon running though ? You may have to veer off course and pop into a Greggs en route ?

Mr Zuvai    pirate
07/01/2013 at 15:54
seren nos wrote (see)

jelly beans are nicer than jelly babaies........if its not hot then white chocolate mice go down well......

i did have a few lagers at mile 17 of london last year 

haha - i've still got some fantastic photo's of you from that

07/01/2013 at 16:47

I'm helping crew a girl for her 100 miler in March and she's using pizza, jaffa cakes, salted peanuts and jelly babies along the route. It's all about what your stomach craves and what you need along the way. I normally hate coke - but on saturday I was craving it!

Also... I use tesco/morrison own brand jelly babies/beans and they work just as good

cougie    pirate
07/01/2013 at 16:50

i had a pack of salted peanuts in my back pocket for the marathon on an ironman. They'd turned to peanut butter i think by the time i tried to eat them. they didnt like all that running.


seren nos    pirate
07/01/2013 at 16:53

i have resal food and salted nuts for ultras but not for marathons when its a case of trying to run as fast as i can

07/01/2013 at 16:59

Now jaffa cakes sound good!  I'm going to be leaving some stuff with the RW supporters at mile 17, so could pick up a sausage roll and some other bits there.  I'll also have a couple of supporters at other stops, although I realise that I may miss them if they can't get to the front or I'm early going past (not that that's likely! ).  I've got a drinks belt thing too so I won't need to actually put stuff in pockets and am assuming there will be plenty of drinks stations along the way so won't actually need to carry my own water on the day, which will free up space for food. 

I'm not trying to run fast though Seren, I've got a niggling injury so will be run/walking the whole thing and the only aim is to get across the finish line.

07/01/2013 at 18:30

Diluted sports drink- about half strength, with peppermint creams did well for me

07/01/2013 at 18:31

Only run 2 marathons but never used a gel during race or training
Jelly babies, chocolate, mini Jaffas yes

07/01/2013 at 18:37
Done plenty of 20 milers with just water, and raced plenty of marathons with just sports drink provided on route. I find pre run meals to be the far more important factor.
07/01/2013 at 19:07

I've not done more than HM, but an experienced marathon runner I know swears by marzipan (which starts of rock hard from the fridge and gradually softens as he runs)

1 to 20 of 104 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump