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Question
Posted by: Jessie | 2007/11/28

Energy Gels and other 'boosters'

Hi Doc,

Hope you're well and enjoying the the runner's bliss of Summer.

I've taken a 2 week rest from training and I'm feeling great. Even lost some weight in this period. I'm keen to get back into my programme and have been invited to join an "easy" 60 minute trail run this evening. Think I'm going to need some energy gels or something to keep my energy levels up. Haven't used anything before. What's your opinion of these gels? Are they effective and safe?
Thanks,
Jess

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Our expert says:
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Hi Jessie

Yes indeed, I'm delighted that summer has arrived! I trust you're also enjoying it!

To answer your question, you can probably get away with 60 minutes on no energy gels, provided you get something in about 60 to 90 minutes before you train. 60 minutes is short enough that your body will cope. once you get to 90 minutes, or upwards, then you start to need energy.

The other thing is that the gels are incredibly concentrated, and so you need to have them with water, to dilute the carb concentration somewhat. If you don't do that, then you run the risk of causing stomach problem. That said, some people get away with it, others don't, so as with most things, practice makes perfect! So perhaps you should practice using them on a shorter, 45 minute run where you will have some access to water in case you need it (and maybe a bathroom!) and then see.

As for which, the best are the ones that taste good, are more liquid, and taste good! There is little difference between them, as far as effect goes. I seem to recall that Breakthru make a Corn Syrup that is very sticky, and that's not good if you don't have water - it'll stick to your palette like paint to a wall! I think it's Leppin who make a nice tasting, quite liquid one.

But as I said, you don't HAVE to take them, provided you get something in about 60 minutes before.

Good luck!
Ross

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