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9434 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Jun 5, 2011 1:17 PM by quadzilla1 1 2 Previous Next
kzum0411 Amateur 20 posts since
Feb 7, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 18, 2011 2:33 PM

Energy gel worth it??

I am still a new runner and my very first race is on April 30 where I will run a 10k.  I have been reading articles about energy gels.  My question is, are they really necessary?  Do runners do better when they eat/drink/slurp this stuff?  I am debating on whether I should try some on my long run day and then use it again on my race day.  What are your thoughts?  Worth it or not?  And if so, what is a good brand/flavor to get?

Thanks !!

Illinois Marathon 10k - 04.30.2010 -01:07:42

Kirby Derby 10k- 05.14.2010 -01:00:32

Kirby Derby 5k - 05.12.2012 -34:07 (25 weeks pregnant with baby #2)

Schumacher Shuffle 5k- 11.10.2012 -32:37 (13 weeks post partum)

Illinois Marathon 5k- 04.27.2013 -29:56

Ilinois Marathon Half- 04.28.2013 -2:22:23

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Apr 18, 2011 5:50 PM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    In my opinion, you don't really need gels (or nutrition particularly) in a 10K.  If you feel the need, it's easier to drink the sports drink instead of water.  (Assuming they offer it.)




  • Angelique Simpson Pro 92 posts since
    Mar 24, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Apr 19, 2011 9:15 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I agree with Len. I didn't start using energy supplements during runs until I was training for a Half Marathon. If you feel the need to do anything, like Len said, just use the sports drink. Be sure to find out what they will have available at the race and try it out on one of your runs to make sure it doesn't cause any stomach cramps or anything. Otherwise, just use water!



    Race History
    5K - Apr 2009: 39:00
    5K - Jun 2009: 36:55
    5K - Sep 2009: 34:06
    10K - Oct 2009: 1:13:45
    5K - Nov 2009: 34:23
    5K - Feb 2010: 32:28
    Half Marathon - Apr 2010: 2:39:06
    5K - May 2010: 29:49
    10K - Jun 2010: 1:01:48

    5K - Aug 2010: 27:57

    Half Marathon - Oct 2010: 2:12:18

    10K - Nov 2010: 52:44 (PR)

    5K - Feb 2011: 23:45

    Half Marathon - Apr 2011: 1:49:18

    Marathon - May 2011: 3:56:05

    Half Marathon - Oct 2011: 1:49:14 (PR)

    5K - Nov 2011: 22:20 (PR)

    Marathon - Dec 2011: 3:41:42 (PR)

  • ModernMaven Pro 135 posts since
    Jun 8, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Apr 19, 2011 1:54 PM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I also dont use them on 5-6 miles runs.  Just a small hand held water bottle.


    When I do 8 miles or more on, I do.  And for my longer runs during half training.  I like to know what is going to work for me and not make my belly go bad before I actually use any in a race.


    08/15/2009-  Patrick Joyce Scholarship Run 5K (Lakewood, OH)  30:00

    08/29/2009- Outrun Ovarian Cancer OROC 5K (Cleveland, OH)    28:50

    09/12/2009- Race for the Cure 5K (Cleveland, OH) 30:08

    10/17/2009- Mid Town Classic 5K (Cleveland)  30:15

    05/02/2010- Lakewood Hospital Ambulance Chase 5K 27:45

    09/11/2010- Race for the Cure 5K (Cleveland) 28:50

    10/10/2010- Towpath Half Marathon (Cleveland) 2:16:28

    10/23/2010- Army Ten Miler (DC) 1:42:12

    03/12/2011- St Malachi 5 Miler  45:50

    04/23/2011- Run for Cover 10K (Dallas, TX) 58:18

    04/23/2011- Cleveland 10 Miler 1:34

    05/15/2011- Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon 2:05

    07/05/2011- Warrior Dash Ohio 36:40

    08/06/2011- Gazebo Gallop 5k 26:20 PR!!

    08/14/2011- Run Jane Run 10K 57:40 PR!!

    08/20/2011- OROC 5K 26:15 PR!!

  • DJMark Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 7, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Apr 20, 2011 6:39 PM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I prefer honey sticks.  Honey is low in glycemic index.  That means it not going to give you that sugar high-low.  If your runs are over and hour, I recommend using honey sticks.


    Talk a look at the ingredients those gels.  Also drink water with electrolytes.

  • j9hannum Rookie 3 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Apr 21, 2011 6:16 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I agree with everyone else that a 10K does not require gel.  Just a little hydration at most.  When you do go for gel, try Hammer gel.  It is all natural and has a lot of good science behind it.  Also, it has fewer reports of upset stomach than most other brands.

  • DavidB67 Rookie 3 posts since
    Nov 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Apr 21, 2011 6:31 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    Six miles is my break point.  Anything six miles and under, I don't worry about gel packs or hydration (until I'm done).  However, distances greater than six miles, I take a gel pack (Gu-Gel) every 4 miles and I also carry water with me.  Hydration and Gel packs normally aren't an issue in sponsored races as they usually have stops set up every two miles for hydration and gel packs.  My first race was a half-marathon.  A few weeks before I was scheduled to run the half, I decided to go run a half.  I felt strong and was cruising at the 12 mile point.  A half mile later, I could barely walk.  I hit the wall.  I didn't realize it at the time.  I got home and was talking to a friend about it and she explained the wall to me.  Since then, I've been faithful with the Gu-Gel packs and hydration on long runs (greater than 6 miles) and have not hit the wall since.  I'm also have some Clif "Shot Bloks" after long runs to help with the electrolytes and recovery.

  • gkarms Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 28, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Apr 21, 2011 10:53 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I'd like to offer a different perspective on the gels.  I'm a fairly new runner: started in January 2010, got a cancer diagnosis in April, ran my first 10K in May.  I've had numerous surgeries and ran on and off since then.  I am recently back in training and the energy gels seem to help give me that extra "boost."   They work well for me!


    I like the GU brand of gels - most flavors are quite good - depends on your taste and preference.


    Happy running!

  • SansPants Amateur 18 posts since
    Apr 20, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Apr 21, 2011 11:35 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I use the GU energy gels when I'm running for more than 6 miles.  I dehydrate pretty fast and seem to hit a wall around mile 9.  The GU really helps replenish the body with sugars, sodium, carbs, potassium and cafeine.  It really depends on your body's metabolism but I'd say they are worth it.

  • RealtorDawnFL Amateur 13 posts since
    Aug 22, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Apr 21, 2011 5:28 PM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I also agree with everyone else here - I didn't use the gels until I was training for a half marathon.  Unfortunately the gels really upset my stomach now (will look into the Hammer gels) so I use the Clif Shot Bloks and will chew on one every 3 or 4 miles during a long run.  I also run with an electrolyte replacement drink (GU Brew).  I don't use anything (but the drink) unless I am running 8 miles or more.  Best thing to do is experiment on what works best for you well before the race.  For a half marathon, I always wear a belt to carry my own 'stuff' at a race since it is not always easy or convenient when the race is supplying them.  I also ran one race that ran out by the time I got to the GU station and I wasn't even at the back of the pack!  My goal this year is to run a full marathon in December so I may have to learn to like gels again.


    Good Luck!

    ~ Dawn

    Halloween Half 10/31/10 - 2:47

    Palm Beach Half 12/3/10 - 2:30

    Georgia Half 3/20/11 - 2:24

  • Maggie Mine Rookie 4 posts since
    Nov 17, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Apr 22, 2011 5:57 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    In my racing experiences, I don't bring anything to refuel me unless it's a marathon, so depending on your comfort level with the 10k, psychologically you should be fine. When I first started running I used GU, and found that while it had some good nutrients, my body needed something more substantial than jelly. For any runs over 10 miles I'll eat natural granola bars, sport jelly beans, and / cliff shot bloks. Remember-don't try anything new on race day! Best of luck to you!

  • Leshock Amateur 12 posts since
    Jul 1, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Apr 22, 2011 6:20 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    The concensus here is sound.  During a 10k race, unless you're going to be out there for an hour or more, you don't need to take on any fuel.  However, I'm a serious runner who has completed 6 marathons, and you're making a smart move if you're taking gels during or at least before your long runs.  Especially for those of us who work full time, getting enough fuel for our runs is essential.  I know this is something I've struggled with as a full-time teacher.  It doesn't even have to be gels that keep you going (after all, they are expensive).  In many cases, you can better fuel your runs just by making sure to eat a meal with enough carbs about 2-3 hours before your run.


    You can read more specific training advice on my blog if you want.  I'm located at


    Happy running!

    Current marathon PR: 2:48:54

    I want to be your coach!

  • BeeRoo Rookie 3 posts since
    Jan 18, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Apr 23, 2011 8:51 AM (in response to kzum0411)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    Good advice stated in the above posts, but here's a different perspective... I think the answer depends on your level of conditioning, the climate you are running in (heat and humidity), time and distance, etc.  There is no right answer that works for everyone.  I'm in my mid-50's and have been running "seriously" for about 6 months.  Here in southeast Texas it's already hot and humid in the morning.


    That combination of my age, warm climate, and the fact that I still haven't peaked in my training mean I need an energy gel for runs approaching an hour.  A couple months ago I ran all over Boston in 30 degree weather and my body was fine because it wasn't taxed by the heat.  My body is accustomed to the warmth of Texas and the cool weather in Boston was a welcome relief... I did not need any energy gel, just a little water.


    So I think the answer for this question is: be in tune to what your body is telling you.  If your training runs tell you that you need a shot of energy gel to fuel your muscles for a 10k, then use it.  I ran a 10k here in Houston in February and was fine with the water and gatorade that was provided.  In a recent 10k in April with warm, humid weather I used energy gel at 25 and 50 minutes to give my muscles some fuel to finish the race strong.  Give your body what it tells you it needs.


    As far as what kind, I bought several different kinds and tried them to see which ones tasted best.  I like the Clif Shots chocolate because they are 90% organic and taste good (to me).  I also like the Honey Stingers because they are honey-based and they include a variety of B vitamins that give you a boost also.  I suggest trying several different kinds to see what you like. I'm looking for natural ingredients (not chemicals and artificial crap) and something that tastes good.


    Good luck!

  • roufarunnershusband Amateur 29 posts since
    Apr 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Apr 23, 2011 10:37 AM (in response to BeeRoo)
    Re: Energy gel worth it??

    I agree with most everyone else; a 10K should likely not require gel packs.  I ran my first race ever on April 2, which was a 10k, and I didn't need any fuel during the race.  In fact, my last mile was my best mile.  You will be surprised in how much the adrenaline and excitement of the race will boost you.  Also, running in a pack and picking people to pace or pass will carry you far, too.  I can also tell you that I have in the past (including just this morning) gone for lonegr runs without bringing any means of refueling or hydration.  I say stupidly because I know that my performance could have been vastly improved if I had strped on my Camel Pak and brought a couple of granol bars.  But live and learn, right?  I am going to look for some combination of hydration and energy (gatorade in a camel pak?) for long goal is to start running longer at least twice a week.  But I am finding that at about the 7-8 mile mark, I need something.  I am hitting the wall consistently at 9 miles.

    Roufa Runner's Husband

    Phil 4:13

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