What are energy gels? Energy gels are a concentrated form of sugar made up of approximately 100 calories each. They’ve been designed to help runners refuel during a race. You can take up to 3 sachets an hour but no more than 15 sachets a day. The gels provide your body with the essentials that it needs during a long run, such as sugar and carbohydrates. And, it is recommended that you take them with water or a sports drink to boost your hydration and digestion.
What’s the best thing to do when trying gels? In my opinion it’s best to go out and buy a variety of different flavours and brands. That way you’ll know which ones you like the taste of (trust me some are awful and could be mistaken for medicine) and which sachets agree with your body. It’s so much better to have a bad experience with an energy gel now rather than on race day. Never try a gel for the first time on race day; it could completely ruin your run. Imagine feeling sick or worse during a 26 mile race. If you’re doing the London Marathon now is the perfect time to test them out, as you still have plenty of time to get used to taking them.
Why take them? On a personal note, I didn’t feel that I needed them until this point, but now that I am running 18 miles on my long training sessions I need the little boost that they provide after the first hour. I’m not suggesting that everyone should take these gels. You have to do what’s best for you. I was hoping that I wouldn’t need them but after running for 12 miles I feel empty and really need the extra fuel. If you begin to flag after a certain distance, like me, give these sachets a go. And if you’re able to keep going for 26 miles without them you’re pretty amazing!