Running Gels

Everything about the training process, including programs, experiences, etc.

JamesP123
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Running Gels

Postby JamesP123 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:15 pm

I was just wondering , what do some of you think is the best running gel? I have only used them once to try it out a while back.

Also... are there kinds that you mix into a water bottle? I have seen some runners do that , but I didnt know if that would have less of an effect.

Thanks!
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--


PR's
800m: 2:00
1500m:4:14
5km:16:56
10km:36:47

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Jwolf
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Postby Jwolf » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:51 pm

I use Gu now, but Powergel is just as good. Only for runs of more than 75 minutes, though (I take one every 45 minutes or so). I don't mix them with water-- I just eat them right out of the package, but wash them down with water. It won't have any less of an effect if you mix it with water once you take in all the gel-- calories are calories. Some people have trouble digesting them without enough water, though.
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Postby Jo-Jo » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:17 pm

I use Accel Gel. Mainly because it's not that sweet and I'm not a sweet lover. In a race I take them "straight" with water.
When training I started last year mixing them with water...don't ask me why. But in the middle of winter my strawberry kiwi gel/water mixture tastes like a nice cold milkshake :D
I only take gels if my runs are 90 minutes and over.
I take gels every 40 minutes or so in a race or during a long run.
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Postby Ed Fizz » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:30 pm

Jwolf wrote: but Powergel is just as good. Only for runs of more than 75 minutes, though (I take one every 45 minutes or so). I don't mix them with water-- I just eat them right out of the package, but wash them down with water.


Same here. Banana-Strawberry.

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Postby KBO » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:11 pm

I can seem to stomach gels easier in the colder weather because the consistency is more tolerable to me. The best right now are GU chocolate mint (thanks to Nat for introducing them to me). When they're cold they are chewy like a chocolate.

As a second choice I'd pick Carb Boom. (or however you spell that!)

I have tried Powergel more than once...to me they taste like chemicals. Blech.

I find I can't have too many gels on really long runs. When I'm marathon training I have started taking a cut up baked salted potato with me for a couple of fuel stops. It really hits the spot! Yum! It's a break from all the sugar but definitely gives me energy.

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Nicholas
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Postby Nicholas » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:25 pm

This thread could turn into a book.

Gels give you electrolytes (primarily sodium & potassium) and carbohydrates to replace what you burn off during exercise. Your body stores glycogen in the liver and muscles which gives you enough carbs for something like 60 to 90 minutes of marathon running. Sodium and potassium control the transmission of fluid through the cell walls and get excreted as you sweat. Therefore, for longer runs it is advised to find a solution to replace these magic items. Some folks will go without this replacement from time to time on their runs to try and train their body to be more economical in using these chemicals. I'm not convinced this is a 100% sound approach as you don't need abstinence to train your body to metablise fat more efficiently.

In theory, you don't need gels. You can get exactly the same input from fluids like eLoad, CytoMax and, I guess I have to say Gatorade. So,you can run without gels if you have access to an adequate supply of these fluids. The other factor is that your body apparently absorbs carbs best in a 7 or 8% solution. So, you need to take in just the right amount of water with the gels....too much and it does not get absorbed properly, too little and it tends to sit in your stomach. One popular gel needs about 13.5 fluid ounces of water for the "proper" dilution. In a race, I always try to drink two full cups of water with each gel.

Different brands of gels (and fluids) contain different amounts of these ingredients. They are more consistent with the percentage of carbs but can vary greatly with the quantity and ratio of the electrolytes. Some brands (like Jo-Jo's AccelGels) also contain a 4% solution of protein. This is supposed to help you recover faster from intense workouts and races. I tried these for one whole marathon training and racing cycle when they first came out but found no benefit. And there are two main types of carbs in these products: simple (that get processed more quickly) or complex (that take longer to process). A balance of these allows the product to give you energy over a more sustained period....typically 30 -45 minutes per gel.

The main argument in favour of gels is that it is easier to find sources of plain water on a long run so you can just carry a few small gel packs and a water bottle. Otherwise, you would need to carry a bucket of eLoad. Mind you, I have carried eLoad/Gatorade powder with me and mixed a new batch in my water bottle at a convenient water fountain during training runs.

Another ingredient that some gels have is caffeine. This is supposed to help you metabolise fat faster and I usually pick gels with a caffeine content. I have no idea if it has really helped me but that's the route I go.

And then you still have salted potatoes, gummi bears, honey, shot blocks etc. as other potential solutions to energy on the go.

This is just a very brief summary of what I have learnt over the years of marathon training. And I haven't even touched on the amount of carbs or electrolytes you need to replace per period of time. You need to find out what works for you. On shorter runs, you can carry the pre-mixed fluid with you. For runs over an hour, it may be easier to carry a couple of gels and re-fill your water bottle as you go, So, try some options and find what works for you and what you feel comfortable with.

Oh, and whatever you pick...make sure you like the taste!!!

Some more in-depth articles:
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0166.htm

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=6677

http://www.completefitness.com.au/articles/nutrition/caffeine.php
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Postby purdy65 » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:19 am

Yep. Gu or Powerbar. I prefer the vanilla. I also only use them on runs 16K or more.

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Postby trixiee » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:39 am

I'm a Hammergel gal here.
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Postby MichaelMc » Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:20 am

Nice summary Nick.

I'll just contribute one practicality thing to your comment on carbohydrate percentage. If you want to know how much water you should be taking for a given gel to get the right mixture, divide the carbohydrate grams by .07 to give you the ml of water for a 7% mixture. A powergel with 28 grams of carbohydrate: 28/.07= 400ml of water (~13.5 oz). Even easier to estimate in ounces if you're content to be 'close enough': carb grams/2 ~ ounces of water required. :D

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Postby kpoire » Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:43 am

trixiee wrote:I'm a Hammergel gal here.
Same here... well guy not gal. Espresso.

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Postby Nicholas » Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:23 am

I've been using Clif Shot Mocha but have tried others like Hammer, AccelGel and GU. Just bought a box of GU Espresso Love with double caffeine. Hmmmm.

In a marathon or half I have diluted several gels(usually 1 part gel, 1 part water) into a small bottle. Then you take a swig of the gel bottle and some water from the offered cups. Problem is you have no real clue what ratio of gel to water the mixture has that you are ingesting.
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Postby MINITEE » Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:46 am

I'm an "either or" girl.. I run/ride with either a sport drink (eLoad is my choice) or gel (CarBoom).

I found that before I could settle on the gel that I like, it was a lot of hit & miss. Texture was a big factor for me as some of the thicker ones are just too gross for my palate. Some people like the pudding-like texture of Gu.. it gags me for example. I used to use the Jelly Belly Sport Beans frequently, but it's too much packaging for me - so I don't use them anymore.

The nice thing is that gels are relatively inexpensive, so it's easy to try a few different ones to find what works for you. Then when you find one you like, you can purchase it in a larger format and use a gel flask.

I have also tried Cliff Shot Blocks recently, I really like those as they're portable and easier on the teeth than Sharkies.

Again, a lot of it is personal taste.
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Postby JamesP123 » Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:07 pm

on a normal long run I have someone pacing me on a bike and I get my drinks from him. mostly E load..but now I think im going to try out some different kinds of gels to see what works best
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--





PR's

800m: 2:00

1500m:4:14

5km:16:56

10km:36:47

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Postby VeloCarrie » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:58 pm

I like to plan my runs to pass a *$ . . . :wink: Caffeine, water, lytes, paramedics . . . one stop shopping on a long run! :D
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Postby tri princess » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:27 pm

I definitely favour gels over sports drinks just because I find it easier to take the sweet stuff in one quick dose rather than drinking it over time. I use them for long rides/runs. I love the Carb Boom apple cinnamon because it tastes just like apple pie filling but I often use the Powergel strawberry banana because I can pick that up at the grocery store. Thanks to Banane, though, I have developed a recent fondness for chocolate. It's like eating icing. Gels are my excuse to eat something decadent because it isn't really a healthy idea to eat actual pie filling or icing. :)
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JamesP123
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Postby JamesP123 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:54 pm

Nick wrote:This thread could turn into a book.

Gels give you electrolytes (primarily sodium & potassium) and carbohydrates to replace what you burn off during exercise. Your body stores glycogen in the liver and muscles which gives you enough carbs for something like 60 to 90 minutes of marathon running. Sodium and potassium control the transmission of fluid through the cell walls and get excreted as you sweat. Therefore, for longer runs it is advised to find a solution to replace these magic items. Some folks will go without this replacement from time to time on their runs to try and train their body to be more economical in using these chemicals. I'm not convinced this is a 100% sound approach as you don't need abstinence to train your body to metablise fat more efficiently.

In theory, you don't need gels. You can get exactly the same input from fluids like eLoad, CytoMax and, I guess I have to say Gatorade. So,you can run without gels if you have access to an adequate supply of these fluids. The other factor is that your body apparently absorbs carbs best in a 7 or 8% solution. So, you need to take in just the right amount of water with the gels....too much and it does not get absorbed properly, too little and it tends to sit in your stomach. One popular gel needs about 13.5 fluid ounces of water for the "proper" dilution. In a race, I always try to drink two full cups of water with each gel.

Different brands of gels (and fluids) contain different amounts of these ingredients. They are more consistent with the percentage of carbs but can vary greatly with the quantity and ratio of the electrolytes. Some brands (like Jo-Jo's AccelGels) also contain a 4% solution of protein. This is supposed to help you recover faster from intense workouts and races. I tried these for one whole marathon training and racing cycle when they first came out but found no benefit. And there are two main types of carbs in these products: simple (that get processed more quickly) or complex (that take longer to process). A balance of these allows the product to give you energy over a more sustained period....typically 30 -45 minutes per gel.

The main argument in favour of gels is that it is easier to find sources of plain water on a long run so you can just carry a few small gel packs and a water bottle. Otherwise, you would need to carry a bucket of eLoad. Mind you, I have carried eLoad/Gatorade powder with me and mixed a new batch in my water bottle at a convenient water fountain during training runs.

Another ingredient that some gels have is caffeine. This is supposed to help you metabolise fat faster and I usually pick gels with a caffeine content. I have no idea if it has really helped me but that's the route I go.

And then you still have salted potatoes, gummi bears, honey, shot blocks etc. as other potential solutions to energy on the go.

This is just a very brief summary of what I have learnt over the years of marathon training. And I haven't even touched on the amount of carbs or electrolytes you need to replace per period of time. You need to find out what works for you. On shorter runs, you can carry the pre-mixed fluid with you. For runs over an hour, it may be easier to carry a couple of gels and re-fill your water bottle as you go, So, try some options and find what works for you and what you feel comfortable with.

Oh, and whatever you pick...make sure you like the taste!!!

Some more in-depth articles:
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0166.htm

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=6677

http://www.completefitness.com.au/articles/nutrition/caffeine.php


thanks , this helps alot , one of the main reasons I have yet to really try gels is becuase, I didnt know enough about them.
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--





PR's

800m: 2:00

1500m:4:14

5km:16:56

10km:36:47

JamesP123
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Postby JamesP123 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:57 pm

MichaelMc wrote:Nice summary Nick.

I'll just contribute one practicality thing to your comment on carbohydrate percentage. If you want to know how much water you should be taking for a given gel to get the right mixture, divide the carbohydrate grams by .07 to give you the ml of water for a 7% mixture. A powergel with 28 grams of carbohydrate: 28/.07= 400ml of water (~13.5 oz). Even easier to estimate in ounces if you're content to be 'close enough': carb grams/2 ~ ounces of water required. :D


ohh okay , thanks!
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--





PR's

800m: 2:00

1500m:4:14

5km:16:56

10km:36:47

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orleansrunner1962
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Postby orleansrunner1962 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:28 pm

James123 - glad you asked the question about the gels.... I have always stayed away from them, worried about the consistency... but after having read the responses to your question, I think I will give them a try during my training runs.....
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JamesP123
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Postby JamesP123 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:14 pm

orleansrunner1962 wrote:James123 - glad you asked the question about the gels.... I have always stayed away from them, worried about the consistency... but after having read the responses to your question, I think I will give them a try during my training runs.....


glad the responses helped you too!
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--





PR's

800m: 2:00

1500m:4:14

5km:16:56

10km:36:47

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Postby Mid_Packer » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:20 pm

I typically use powergels, but have question about them. In Canada generally Powergel is available in only 3 flavours--choc, vanilla and Strawberry-Bannana. However at US race expos I've been able to get: Green Apple, butterscotch (I think it was), tangerine etc. I usaully stock up at $ 1 per gel and get variety of flavours as well.

So how come not in Canada?

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'10 ATB 2:27, Boston 3:43, Missga 3:42, Sulphur Spring 25k, Niagara 50, ITT,Toad 50, Marine Corp M,
09 Chilly 1:43; ATB 2:37, Boston 3:50, Missuga Mara 3:49, Run for Toad 25k 2:22, Oakville half 1:51, Detroit 3:45
'08 Chilly 1:42; ATB 2:31; Miss Mara 3:43, Westover, Erie (DNF), Detroit 3:36
'07 Chilly 1:45, Detroit 3:50
'92-93 Half 1:27; Detroit 3:10, Boston 3:56

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Postby ultraslacker » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:24 pm

for gel newbies, be sure to try a couple of different brands. Some will make you gag and others will go down really nicely. I can't take powergels... *shudder*... but other people love them.

I use carbboom and sometimes clif shots (mmmm raspberry!). the clif shots are cheaper.

btw, DON'T buy gels at the RR... they are overpriced. Carb boom is $2/each at RR and $1.40 at MEC. Clif shots are only $1.25 at MEC.
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MichaelMc
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Postby MichaelMc » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:26 pm

Mid_Packer wrote:I typically use powergels, but have question about them. In Canada generally Powergel is available in only 3 flavours--choc, vanilla and Strawberry-Bannana. However at US race expos I've been able to get: Green Apple, butterscotch (I think it was), tangerine etc. I usaully stock up at $ 1 per gel and get variety of flavours as well.

So how come not in Canada?

Dave


Canada's food rules are different, our labelling requirements are different (must have both languages) and so are Canadians' tastes. Many companies choose not to bring certain products into Canada for this reason, and some flavours are different (sometimes even the SAME name flavour has a different formulation). Hammer Gel was dropped by a certain Running Store in spite of being a good seller because they couldn't/wouldn't label in French.

I guess someone decided bringing Butterscotch Gels to Canada wouldn't pay off. I for one won't miss it (Ick!).

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Postby turd ferguson » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:29 pm

MichaelMc wrote:Canada's food rules are different, our labelling requirements are different (must have both languages) and so are Canadians' tastes.


Clif Shots used to use paper labels over the foil to meet the Canadian requirements. I used to put the entire pouch in my mouth and squeeze out the gel by pulling it back through my teeth. It took me an entire training cycle to figure out why I kept getting huge hunks of paper in my mouth after every gel.
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Mid_Packer
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Postby Mid_Packer » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:50 pm

Canada's food rules are different, our labelling requirements are different (must have both languages) and so are Canadians' tastes.


Forgot about the language issue. Must be that they find the 3 as the highest volume and don't want the expense of doing a separate production run for dual language.

Flavours--I checked the web, it was double latte not butterscotch, and I forgot my favourite --Raspeberry cream--much better than Straw-bann.

Lots of people like the chocolate but when its cold its too thick and like cake icing...not for me, but everyone has their own tastes.

Thanks for the response.

Dave
'10 ATB 2:27, Boston 3:43, Missga 3:42, Sulphur Spring 25k, Niagara 50, ITT,Toad 50, Marine Corp M,
09 Chilly 1:43; ATB 2:37, Boston 3:50, Missuga Mara 3:49, Run for Toad 25k 2:22, Oakville half 1:51, Detroit 3:45
'08 Chilly 1:42; ATB 2:31; Miss Mara 3:43, Westover, Erie (DNF), Detroit 3:36
'07 Chilly 1:45, Detroit 3:50
'92-93 Half 1:27; Detroit 3:10, Boston 3:56

JamesP123
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Postby JamesP123 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:14 pm

I was at the GNC the other day with my brother..and I was going to stop in at the running store on my way home. The lady that worked at GNC told me that a good gel for runners is Amino Vital..but they cost alot more.

And a runner I was talking to told me that the Amino Vital is not that good..so was the lady just trying to get me to buy the kinds that cost more?...lucky for me I didnt buy anything yet.
--Pain is about seeing how strong you are mentaly--





PR's

800m: 2:00

1500m:4:14

5km:16:56

10km:36:47


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