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 Gu, PowerGel, etc.
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:24 am 

For those that use energy gels, what have your experiences been? I normally use Gu gels on my longer runs-- anything more than 10 miles, and take one every five miles. I take them during marathons too. What's the consensus on these things, are they really worthwhile? Especially during a marathon, where you're already getting some extra energy from the sports drinks they hand out? It seems like it might be too much.

sfird
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Long Island, NY
Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 80

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 7:46 am 

I used PowerGel for four years until I started getting indigestion from it earlier this year. I switched to Gu and the indigestion problem went away. I also found Gu to be a little more watery and thus easier to eat while on the run. I use them on long runs of at least 10+ miles and in marathons (1 every 5 miles). On my long runs and in the marathons I've run, I only drink water (no Gatoraid, Poweraid, etc.), so for me Gu is my onlysource of energy. I stay away from the Gatoraid, etc. as I don't want to mix the drink and gel and I don't like lime drink which is what is normally provided at races. It seems to work for me.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:21 am 

One argument I've heard against using gels in training is that it prevents your body from experiencing major glucose depletion, and therefore prevents it from learning to turn more to burning fat for energy. So if you follow that reasoning, you should race with gels but not train with them. It doesn't seem to be a popular viewpoint though.

sfird
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Long Island, NY
Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 80

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:42 pm 

I've heard the same thing. I've got two types of long runs. One is where I include tempo runs trying to at least in part replicate the marathon experience. On these runs I eat a gel every five miles. The other type of long run is at a slower pace. On these runs I eat a gel at 10 miles. I do this because I've found that if I don't eat the gel at this point I usually bonk towards the end of the long run. Please note that I'm slow (around 10-10:30 pace) so for me long runs take awhile.

BGibbsLMT

Southington, CT
Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 68

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 9:31 pm 

Racing with something that you don't train with sounds like a bad idea to me, kind of like racing a marathon in brand new shoes. I use Stinger gels if I use gels at all. They're honey based and easy to digest. One gel every 30mins. or so.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 9:16 pm 

I just found some interesting analysis on a cycling website that basically says energy gels are a waste of your money: http://www.cptips.com/gels.htm Not because they don't work, but because they don't provide any benefit versus solid food + water or traditional sports drinks, yet they cost much more per calorie. The only possible reason the author could think of to explain why gels might be more effective was that they're more convenient to take, and therefore you're likely to take more.

OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Gu, PowerGel, etc. Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:07 am 

I take both Gu (every 5 - 7 miles) AND drink the gatorade during marathons. Always leaves me despising the taste of both by the end of the race, but anything I can do to stave off the wall is good in my book. Incidentally, where can I find a race serving lime gatorade? I think I've been served red somethingade in each of the 4 marathons I've run, and the darn stuff gets all over your clothes, hands, shoes, etc. and stains everything red.

Now, about that solid food, am I supposed to eat a sandwich while racing? The best thing about gels is that you can swallow them so quickly and easily. A couple of years ago I ate Powerbars on long training runs. However, I gradually came to hate the taste, they took too long to choke down, and I was always afraid I would aspirate some unless I stopped and walked while eating it. Nasty, nasty things, powerbars. Yuck!

I usually don't bother with gels on long runs of less than 17 miles because I'm a cheap bastard, but on longer runs I'll take then at least every 7 miles. I figure the goal is to maintain pace, which means gradually cranking up the pace, especially during the final miles when you're supposed to be approaching race pace but want nothing more than to slow down. Anything that will help me keep up the targeted pace is wecome news.


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