I tried my first gel

And I feel like a hypocrite.
I’ve posted a few times that I’d like to try and fuel naturally throughout this training season- and by natural, I mean “real food” i.e. granola bars, bananas and at a push, jelly beans. I basically didn’t want to become reliant on gels, and the whole idea of them put me off anyway.
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But I then found out that SiS was a sponsor of Manchester Marathon, and that there would be SiS gels at various aid stations. And the logic was this: I’m going to take my own fuel, but worst case scenario, I might hit the wall and need a gel, in which case I need to know that they’re not going to give me cramps or stitches.
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So anyway, I tried a gel on my 10-miler (also known as the run in which everything went wrong). And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It was quite warm by the time I got to it, but it was an isotonic gel, meaning I didn’t have to have water with it. Yay! I tried the Tropical flavour, and it wasn’t too bad!Β It gave me a nice boost of energy and helped me get through the remainder of that run.
Also as a side note: I was a responsible runner and kept the gel packet to dispose of properly. It really annoys me to see empty gel packets left lying around on the road!
Do you use gels and gus?Β 
Lots of love,
Pippa
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6 thoughts on “I tried my first gel

  1. Hi Pippa,

    I know how you feel about gels. I’ve tried using them and also don;t want to become reliant. I’ve now switched tack. I’m using Tailwind products which, imo, are far better.
    Dissolve in water and that’ll give you the right balance of electrolytes, etc.
    I tried them on my 33miler and found them to provide sufficient hydration and a little boost in calories too.
    More info about them can be found … http://www.tailwindnutrition.co.uk/
    I’m also going to use only these on the 55 this weekend. I’ll do a write up.
    Keep keeping on. Take care.

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  2. The great thing about our bodies is that they don’t know (or generally care) what goes down the cakehole as long as it does the job. In this case, you might find that your granola bars have as much sugar in them as a gel. And gel is really just sugar on the run. Ditto with jelly beans. A gel is mostly water, glucose (sugar) and maltodextrine (a complex carb with an unusually high glycemic index, so it behaves like sugar). Good if you’re working out; not so much if you’re on your arse watching box sets. In your case, you will burn off gels every half hour at least, so no worries. Gels aren’t cocaine. They’re just liquid jelly babies πŸ˜‰ Perhaps a more pertinent question all runners need to ask is ‘do I need to rely on sugar so much for energy, or can I train my body to be more efficient and burn the glycogen we all have stored, and also tap into the (admittedly hard-earned skill) of oxidising fat reserves. For most of us lesser mortals who haven’t the time or commitment to reach that level of training (pro triathletes and cyclists, for example), gels do the job. If you can wean yourself off by eating natural foods, you’re already ahead of the game, but personally, bar training sessions on the bike, I don’t have the time for eggs, avocados or nuts on a long run. Gels fill that gap. Lastly, water is by far the most important element of the lot. You could ditch all the other stuff, and still survive on water…

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  3. I don’t like gels and gus. The ones I’ve tried taste like chemicals to me, and the consistency bothers me. When I’m running, I rely on gummies. They are mostly sugar so they are easy to digest and they taste good so they don’t upset my stomach.

    I like to eat “real food” on the bike because I get sick of just straight sugar. I still have to use sports food now, though, because I just can’t carry/eat enough trail mix! I’ve been eating Honey Stinger waffles, though, which are amazing!

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  4. When going for a long run, most of my blood flow is going to the heart, lungs and legs. My stomach (and, I think, my mind) gets all but shut down. Gatorade, gels, etc are just the simplest way of getting electrolytes and calories in the tank. Bananas are great too, but I would have a hard time with granola bars. They are easy to carry, and they get handed to you on the course. Train with what you will use on race day.

    For half marathons, I will only use water and sport drink. Shorter distances are just water. Since I have no marathons in the foreseeable future, I doubt that I will touch another gel for a long, long time…

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  5. I use Honey Stinger gel which is made with honey. The consistency is closer to honey and they aren’t as thick as other gels I’ve tried. They’re also like 98% organic or something wacky like that which isn’t a big concern to me, but a nice bonus. I did gummies for a while but ultimately they’re hard to carry and take longer to break down. I think it was smart for you to try the course gel so you can take it in case you need it!

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