Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Gel

I can honestly say that now I feel like I am a true distance runner because today I consumed my first Gel.  I know many people have these in half and full marathons and triathlons and like them a lot.  They come in lots of flavors so everyone should be happy, right? 

After a weekend in Michigan for a wedding, I got back to Chicagoland and knew that my 15 mile run today was going to be solo, and hot.  As I was driving to my normal starting point, my car said it was 93 degrees outside.  Lovely.  I knew that I needed to carry my handheld water bottle with me given the heat and distance I was covering, and the fact that I was running alone.  I also thought it would be a good idea to have a Gel halfway through the run given the distance I was doing.

At mile 6.5, I decided it was time for my first gel.  This gel was put in a race goody bag and kept for a few months, but had not expired.  I really thought the flavor was going to be great because I love berries. 

I stopped at a water fountain, knowing that I would most likely need quite a bit of liquid to wash my gel down.  I opened up the pack and took a swallow of it and about died.  I could not get any more down because the consistency was awful.  I know people swear by them, but I just want to know how they consume them.  The taste wasn't that bad, but the consistency is just horrendous.  Knowing that I might have this problem, I read that sometimes it was helpful to freeze gel before you consume them make them easier to eat.  Even though mine was frozen, it still didn't help. 

I know I need to consume something during 15+ mile runs.  My body was tired and needed fuel and by mile 10, I was feeling the effect of not having any.  I know Gatorade is offered at aid stations for half and full marathons, but people have told me that the lines are long at Chicago.  I don't want to waste precious minutes in a line for Gatorade. 

I have other flavors of Gu, like strawberry, so maybe since it is a different brand and flavor it might be better?  Is there a difference in consistency between gel and gu?  I feel like I have so much to learn in regard to nutrition during the race..and training runs.

Do you like gu or gel?  Do you have any advice as to how to eat/slurp them so they are easier to consume?  What is your favorite flavor? 


  1. The flavours vary but the consistency really doesn't. Did you find it too thick? They have the bigger gels that are more liquidy. They market them with the idea that you don't need water with them. I prefer these but don't carry them because they are significantly larger. I'd recommend that.

  2. I use GU on every long run, sometimes two. I actually prefer them warm, so they're more a liquid going down. It takes getting used to, but I can down it in one gulp now, barely even tasting it! :)
    I've never tried the Hammer Gel, just recently heard about it actually & mean to try it.

  3. Oh gels.... Bleh.

    I've learned to tolerate them, but it took several different companies, several different flavors, and learning to quiet my gag reflex to get to that point. No, I don't love them. Gel and gu are the same thing... no difference. I think the most tolerable stuff is PowerBar coffee flavored gels, but I usually use Hammergel because it's cheaper, and I can buy it in big bottles.

    You have to realize that runners use gels because they are the most convenient and compact form of food to take along and eat while running.

    Honestly, if you wanted to eat something else, you could. Rule of thumb is 30-60 g carb/hour- it isn't necessary to have it in gel form. I take along power bars and Clif bars and sometimes a banana.

  4. Gels are gross, no way to get around it, they supposely get the calories in your system faster then food. thats why we use them. Have you tried chomps yet?