Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Gels for Running
As a runner, you probably know about the importance of hydration and diet whilst exercising. When you start running more regularly or increasing your mileage, it may be recommended that you try using sports nutrition products like electrolytes and recovery drinks. One of the most popular nutrition products among runners is energy gels. These small, portable packets of concentrated carbohydrates can help fuel your runs and optimise your performance.
Whether you’re a beginner trying to break the 5K barrier or a seasoned marathoner, energy gels can be a game-changer. If you’re new to the world of running gels, understandably you may have a few questions before you try them. Below, we aim to answer some of these for you.
What is an Energy Gel?
Simply put, energy gels are packets of syrups that contain carbohydrates and often natural flavourings to make them taste nice. They are specifically designed to provide a quick-to-consume and easily digestible source of energy during exercise.
Why Should You Use Energy Gels?
When you’re running, your body burns through its glycogen stores. When this happens, fatigue sets in and performance declines. Energy gels can help to replenish these stores, providing you with a quick boost of energy to keep you going.
When Should You Have an Energy Gel?
The majority of energy gels for running can be used before, during and after your workout. Depending on the distance and intensity of your run, you may need to take gels at different times. However, generally speaking, it’s advised to have an energy gel every 45 minutes during any runs that last longer than an hour.
How Do You Use Gels?
Running gels are designed to be easy to consume, so you don’t have to take a long break when you need one. You can use energy gels whilst you’re on the go, simply tear off the top of the packet and squeeze the gel directly into your mouth. Sometimes, you need to drink water alongside the gel but you can find more information about consumption on the packet.
Are Energy Gels for Everyone?
Energy gels are generally suitable for most runners, but they might not be right for you. Some people can experience stomach problems when using gels. So, it’s often recommended that you
try your first energy gel when you’re at home rather than in the middle of a run just in case you experience any discomfort.
Can You Use Food Instead of a Gel?
Some runners will try to use natural sources of carbohydrates like bananas or dried fruits while running, but these options can be less convenient. Energy gels offer a portable and fast-acting alternative, yet you should choose what works best for you. In addition to gels, you can also purchase energy chews and energy drink powders which you may find more palatable.
Are All Gels the Same?
No, there are lots of different brands and types of energy gels. From High 5 Gels to Maurten Gels, there’s a huge variety to choose from all with different formulas. Some running gels include caffeine for an extra boost while others may contain electrolytes to help with hydration. Be sure to read the ingredients list and test different types to find one that suits you.
What are the Side Effects?
While they’re safe, as mentioned above, some runners may experience stomach issues like bloating or cramps. To minimise any side effects, you can consume energy gels with water and you don’t necessarily need to use the whole gel packet at once. You can try various brands during your training to find one that works for you too.
How Do You Incorporate Energy Gels Into Training?
Once you’ve tried an energy gel at home, if you didn't experience any problems, you can start by testing one packet during a longer training run to assess how your body reacts. If you get along with the running gel, you can then work out a consumption strategy based on things like your distance, pace and individual energy needs.
Order Running Gels Online Today
There’s no denying that energy gels can be an effective way to maintain your performance during longer runs, but it's crucial to use them correctly. By understanding when and how to use these nutrition products, you can optimise your training and race-day performance while avoiding any potential drawbacks.
When searching for somewhere to order energy gels for running, take a look at The Run Hub website. We stock a huge selection of running essentials, including High 5 products, Powerbar products, Clif products and lots of other well-known brands. Whether you’re interested in caffeinated gels or fuel bars, we will have something for you on our website. We are your one- stop shop for all of your running needs.