Carrying Your Gel

When running a marathon, you will need to figure out a way to carry your marathon gels with you.  While most marathons will provide you with one or two stations where you can refuel with marathon gel, you will most likely need more than one or two gels during the course of your 26.2 mile run.  You will also want to be prepared for anything, for example, it is possible that you might miss the gel station.

There are several different options you have for carrying your marathon gels with you during the race.  One option is to purchase a fuel belt which holds small water bottles.  A fuel belt will fit around your waist during the race.  You can empty your marathon gels into the small water bottles prior to the race so that you will have them whenever you need.

Another option for your marathon gel is to purchase an actual gel flask.  Gel flasks are relatively inexpensive and smaller than a water bottle.

Some types of gels are very thick and often times are quite difficult to suck through the water bottle or flask.  Another problem with the thicker gels is that they get stuck to the bottom of the flask and you are unable to ingest them.  In order to make the gel a little more viscus, you can add some water to the bottle with the gels.

Another option to carry your gels on race day is to purchase a pair of race ready shorts.  These shorts have pockets strategically placed along the waistband.  You can carry three to four marathon gels in them.  There are also running shorts with zipper pockets in the back.  These are useful and usually large enough to carry a few gels.  However, being in the back of your shorts, it is sometimes difficult to access the pocket while you are running.

A running pouch is another way that you could carry your gels.  These running pouches have a clip on them which you can use to attach to the waistband of your shorts.  If you position the pouch with the pocket inside of your shorts, it will minimize the bouncing of the pouch.

A final option you can use in order to carry your marathon gels during the race is to simply pin the gel packets to the inside of your shorts.  Take a safety pin for each packet of marathon gel and pin them to the waistband.  When it is time to take a gel during the marathon, just rip the pack off of your shorts and you are ready to refuel!

Remember to always test out the method that you are planning to use prior to the race.  It is much better to figure out what does and doesn’t work prior to your marathon rather than right in the middle of your big race.  There are so many different things that can happen in the marathon that you want to make sure that you minimize the potential for things to go wrong.  For example, if you are wearing a pair of lightweight running shorts and attach a flask full of gel to them, it is possible that the weight of the flask will pull the shorts down as you run.  If you wear tights or even half tights, which are more form fitting, this would be less of a concern.

If you have any questions regarding any of these tips, let us know.

Do you have any other methods to carry marathon gels that have worked well for you?  If so, please share them in the comments section below!


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Ingesting Marathon Gel

While running a marathon, you want to make sure that you have plenty of energy to get you to the finish line.  You have trained very hard over several months, putting in miles and miles and miles.  You do not want a lack of glucose in your system to lead to you hitting the wall or possibly not even finishing the race.

Therefore, it is important to take marathon gels during your big race.  Many people have asked me how often they should take marathon gels while running the marathon.  The first thing that I would suggest would be to make sure to practice taking marathon gels during your training so that your body is accustomed to the extra sugar entering your system while running.  If you implement this strategy during your training runs, your body will be used to it by the time you are ready to run your race.  You want to minimize the possible surprises during your big day.

You want to get to the starting line being fully hydrated as well as being carbed up from the week prior.  Once you start the race, you will want to start off nice and easily and not get caught up in the rush and excitement at the beginning of the race.  Many races will provide energy gels to you at certain mile markers.  It is however, advisable to carry some marathon gels along with you during your race.

Once you get settled in to the race and have found your place in the crowd, just relax and go with the flow for awhile.  You should have plenty of energy for the first several miles because of the carbo loading you did during the week as well as the hydrating you did the day and night before your race.  It is advisable to hold off on the energy gels until you are about 45 minutes into the race.  At this point, you can take your marathon gel.  It is probably a good idea to do this once you get to a water stop along the course.  You will want to take your marathon gel with a cup of water rather than a sports drink like gatorade.  Both the marathon gels and the sports drinks are loaded with sugar.  Taking both of them at the same time could be too sweet for your stomach and could potentially lead to an upset stomach.

It is suggested to continue this pattern of ingesting your marathon gels. That is, to take one approximately every 45 minutes or so.  Depending on where the aid stations are positioned on the course, you may want to take a marathon gel at the station that is closest to the 45 minute mark, give or take a few minutes.  So, if you are planning on running a 6 hour marathon, you will end up taking 8 marathon gels.  On the other hand, if you are running a 2 and a half hours, you will probably only consume about 3 gels.

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Glycogen Stores

When competing in endurance events such as marathon running, bicycle races, snowshoe races, or cross country skiing, your glycogen stores can be depleted. Without consuming carbohydrates or other sources of glycogen during your long distance event, it is possible that you will hit the wall. Hitting the wall happens when your body experiences glycogen debt. It becomes more and more difficult to move your legs as the fatigue increases in intensity. The human body generally contains enough glycogen stores to last around 2 hours. In the marathon, many people experience hitting the wall somewhere around 18-20 miles into the race. Your body can be trained over long periods of endurance exercise to increase it’s storage capacity of glycogen. As your body adapts to the higher training load, it becomes more efficient in burning fat, therefore being able run farther without refueling.

Even with proper training, the human body is still not capable of holding enough glycogen reserves to finish an entire marathon at your optimal marathon pace. It therefore becomes necessary to consume some form of glycogen replacement during the competition. An easy way to replenish your stores of glycogen is to ingest a few marathon gels during the course of the race. Marathon gels are a very convenient means to boosting your energy before hitting the wall. They come in small, individual packets which are easy to carry until the point of the race in which you wish to consume them. We will talk more later regarding strategies about when and how many marathon gels to take during your race.

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Are Marathon Gels Only for Marathons?

Many people have asked me if they should only use Marathon Gels while running in a marathon.  While Marathon Gels were originally designed to help fuel the body during endurance events, they can also be very beneficial during other activities as well.  You can use Marathon Gels in shorter races as too.  They will help to fuel you during half marathons, 10ks, 5ks, and even mile races.  For the shorter events, you can just down a Marathon Gel about 15 minutes prior to your race rather than carrying them with you.

Marathon Gels are not only for running races, but can also be used for bike races, swimming races, ski races, snowshoe races, biathlons, duathlons, and triathlons.

Marathon Gels are not only beneficial during competitions, but they are also helpful anytime you need energy for a workout.  Use marathon gels while training for a marathon.  You can carry a few of them with you during a long run to give you that added boost late in the run.  When training for a marathon, I would suggest testing out different brands and flavors of marathon gels in order to find the one that works the best for you.  If you have a track workout, you can squeeze a pack of marathon gel into your mouth about 15 minutes before you start the speed section of your workout.

Marathon gels can help you out when you are going to go lift weights, doing yoga or pilates, or even as a last minute energy boost to help you sprint to the bus in the morning.

You don’t need to wait until it’s time for your workout.  Marathon gel can also be helpful during everyday activities.  If you are feeling a bit sluggish throughout the day, you can use a marathon gel to give you a little energizing snack… I’m personally looking forward to testing out the peanut butter and jet blackberry gu combination I mentioned in the previous post!

For what activities do you like to use marathon gels throughout the day?

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Peanut Butter GU

Peanut Butter GUGU now has a new flavor… peanut butter!  Have any of you tried this new nutty offering?  If so, let me know how you like it!  I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it actually sounds pretty good.  What I’d really like to do is try it in combination with the Jet Blackberry GU.  A peanut butter and jelly treat while out on a long run would be a welcomed snack.

The new Peanut Butter GU provides 100% of both your Vitamin C and Vitamin E requirements for the day.  It also contains 100 calories, 0 Trans fats, 60mg of potassium, 20g of carbs, 65 mg of sodium, and one gram of protein.

As you could probably guess, Peanut Butter GU does contain peanuts, for those of you with allergies.

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Marathon Gel

Welcome to, your headquarters for information on all of your marathoning nutritional needs.  The human body has a limited amount of carbohydrate stores during the course of a marathon.  Therefore, it is necessary to keep your body properly fueled.  At we will give you information on the different options you have in order to restock your body with the nutrition necessary to keep you running strong.

We will help to provide you with the information you need in order to decide which refueling option will work the best for you.

Please let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help!

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