Using gel's while training and racing

8 messages
10/03/2010 at 20:32

My plan is to take a gel every 4 miles during the Edinburgh marathon.

The question is; should I stick to this during my training runs or take them further apart; say every 6 miles?
My theory is that when it comes to race day, my body gets a gel hit quicker than it expected and may be of benefit; or is this a load of rubbish and I should train as I plan to race?

If it helps; at the moment I'm guesstimating my finishing time to be around 4:35 which is roughly 10:30 pace. 

Cheers in advance.

10/03/2010 at 20:56

Hi Mick

In my limited experience, I used to follow the same gel/distance pattern in training and marathon. I did feel that by race day I wasn't feeling any particular boost after a gel - usually they take a couple of miles to kick in, so don't make the last one too late.

This past year I have weaned from them in training. I used to take them every 5 miles on a 18+ run, and started to reduce to every 7 miles until now I can get away with one gel in a 20 miler these days and don't feel any different, ie I'm not dying on my feet. Then just refuel immediately after running. I wanted to train myself to not need them and like you said hope that when I use them in a marathon they will give the required kick.

2 thoughts - 

You will probably need to have at least 1 - 2 runs using your race pattern to see if you can tolerate them/that many.

I'm not sure how many you used when you were up to 16 or so last  year, but I swear, you will be fed up with the taste of them, especially if you also take energy drinks (I don't). Personally I would go with every 5 miles max. Or 5, 10, 15, 19 and no later then 22.

Edit for clarification - 5 mile intervals in the race, nice round numbers. Your (generic "you" ) mind sometimes is not able to manage simple calculation when you're running for so long. In training, space them as far as you can get away with.

Edited: 10/03/2010 at 21:01
10/03/2010 at 21:46
Hi Kelly,

I was up to 16 miles last year and I think I was having a gel every 6 miles.  The reason why I changed to every 4 miles is that they (they - magazine articles) recommend a gel every 40 minutes.  A change to  every 5 miles shouldn't be a huge problem and like you said, it might be easier to remember!

I don't use energy drinks, just water.

I have my first long run planned for Sunday (16 miles) so I might try them at 6 and 12 miles.


10/03/2010 at 22:08

I think that should be fine. Remember, it also says on the packets, 3 an hour , so you've just got to find what works for you.
I actually think it is the immediate refuelling with proper food when you get back that makes the biggest difference in replenishing stores.

I don't think you (you personally?) use gels in a half, so 2 with a few miles longer will be a good boost.

Also, I think "they" recommend 1-2 gels 10 mins before you start a marathon so that will carry you too on the day if you choose to do that. 

11/03/2010 at 11:18

I also, when I remember, take one every 5 miles when running say 20 miles and only one when running a half.

(I do like the taste of them thou esp the SIS Smart ones & always carry a spare)

11/03/2010 at 15:31

I wish I liked the taste of them - I still almost gag every time I take one - and I've tried quite a few now. I must admit the Lucozade ones agree with me the very least.

11/03/2010 at 20:49
cheers all.

I use the SiS Go tropical gels and find they are the best but its personal preference.
I tried a lucozade once; and only once.  It was way too thick and nasty.
15/03/2010 at 21:13
Well, I did my 16 mile run and took a gel at 5 and 10 miles.  I didn't feel any noticable boost but then again I shouldn't really at this distance but it's all good training.

I don't mid the texture of gels at all but I really wish they offered a tasteless version to stop the smelly burps.  

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