Half Marathon Trainers

1

Gels Necessary? (Read 528 times)

    I finally broke and told my sister that I'm running a half in three weeks. Right away she started with the advice about not trying anything new on race day (duh! knew that) and about how I should be trying gels now because I'm going to need them. Really? Okay, I'm not saying I'm not open to trying them in my 11 mile next week or the 12 the week after, but I really wasn't planning on it. From what I'd read, I didn't think they were crucial to a 13.1.  I did run with a bit of Powerade mixed into my water on the run today. Right now, my long runs I'm finishing feeling really good.


    (When my sister does races, it's a completely different animal; for one, she's fast and for two, she's running Ironmans, half Ironmans. I'm not sure what works for her applies to me because I'm not at such a high level if that makes any sense.)


    So do you use them?

    "Don't feel like running today...suck it up and run ...you're an athlete." (John Stanton, founder & owner of The Running Room)

     

    "The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race."

      Everyone's needs are probably different depending on the activity, effort expended, and climate.

      If I run longer than one hour, I need to have something because I start to feel STARVING.

      Also I am ultra-careful about hydration and electrolytes (on a doc's advice) because I have a history of fainting that the doc says is partly due to "low volume" since I'm a lightweight. He says when other people might say "I don't feel so good," I simply go down. Thankfully since learning my "triggers" and paying attention to hydration/electrolytes; I haven't had any problems in several years.

      I like the Hammer products and use the Hammer Heed drink primarily. In the past, I used the Hammer gels on my longer runs. Right now, I'm using a protein bar cut up into pieces and I eat a piece when I get the "hungries,"  This is working for me now along with the Heed.

       

      Use your momentum...keep going.  You know you can make it.


      day after day sameness

        Meg,

        Personally, I don't see how a gel can really impact performance in a half.  When you consider the time to digest it and get it into your system, the carbs probably don't come into play.  This is not so say that the things like electrolytes, potassium, caffeine and all other crap in them don't help.


        For a half, I'm going to burn 1300 - 1500 calories. My liver and muscles coming into the race have more than enough carbs on-board and ready to go. 

        Depending on the weather (heat), I'll take some sport drink along the way to onboard some of the salts, but usually just a couple swigs of water to wet my mouth.

        All this is part of your training, so let what you find on your long runs (10 - 12 miles+) guide you.

        Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

          I've been told by a running coach that gels are not just for making it thru a longer distance, they also help with recovery afterwards. He said to take one every hour. It takes me about 2h25 to run 21 kilometers.

          I've experimented with them: I've done it with and without gels, with water only and alternating with sports drinks and I've varied when to take gels.
          Not taking them at all leaves me really tired and hungry at the end and make the last kilometers feel like a chore. Even if I'm having sports drink while running instead of water. Didn't enjoy those runs. But the sports drink did make me feel better, compared to running with water only.
          Taking gels every hour (about 8-8.5K) as suggested by the coach I felt fine. Wasn't hungry and plenty of energy.
          Taking one gel around the 10K mark (where there would be a water station in a race), was also fine to finish the race comfortably.
          I haven't noticed a difference in recovery after the race with just the one gel or two gels.

          I guess it all depends on the person. What works for me might not work for you.

          Disclaimer: I don't only run. I also do strength training a few times a week. Maybe that makes a difference too?

          Dutchie
          I go running in the early morning, before my brain figures out what I'm up to.

          Run the day, or the day runs you.

          Actions determine state of mind - Aristotle

            I've tried sharkies and Luna Moons during 13.1 long runs (gels are odd for me I like to chew) I found that really they only helped with the extreme hungry feeling I get after the run. For me a sports drink (with calories!) / water interspersed into the run is effective in getting more energy during the run. I used to drink it only when I started to feel down around mile 8 or 9 but after trying it out I think its better to have a little bit every couple of miles for an even feeling.

            I'd like to try the coffee/ chocolate flavors because what I really want about an hour into the run is my morning cup of coffee...

            A

            Nature is unable to make a really first-class job of anything if she is hustled...

            Halifax Bluenose HM May 2014

            Toronto Waterfront  HM October 2014

              I typically don't need anything for a half marathon, can't even take in the diluted Gatorade when running a race.  Now as I am training for a marathon, I can see how this could be a problem and probably need to plan on taking some gels.  


              A couple of times when I ran up to 3:00 hours on a 16 mile trail run, a gel or 2  at about 2 hours gave me a short boost, probably more mental, but  that still helped.


              Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

                Everyone is different, so learn by experience - e.g. how the 11 mi run goes.

                I'm an old slow poke and find that I start to get hungry and hit a wall as I approach 90 minutes on feet. I've run three halves (2:50-3:00 hrs) and can't do it without nutrition. Since most races start later in the morning than I normally run I do fuel before the race then have a gel or shot block every 30-45 minutes once I'm beyond 60 minutes into the race. But that is me and I figured out what I needed to do by trial and error.

                Good luck!


                bob e v
                2014 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?

                Complete the last 3 races in the Austin Distance Challenge, Rogue 30k, 3M Half, Austin Full

                Break the 1000 mi barrier!

                History: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.


                day after day sameness

                  Accurate or not, it seems obvious to me that race day nutrition and the in-race fuel strategy are all highly individual, something to test and learn during training runs. 

                  Trent wrote an excellent summary of race fueling over in another forum, it may offer some additional insights. Link to Trent's RA posting

                  Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

                    Interesting read. I have to reread this when I have more time. Thanks

                    Dutchie
                    I go running in the early morning, before my brain figures out what I'm up to.

                    Run the day, or the day runs you.

                    Actions determine state of mind - Aristotle

                      Interesting read. I have to reread this when I have more time. Thanks

                      Me too - must read whan I have more time - but the first line probably reflects where I'm at:

                       

                      "Depends on your effort; but at a submaximal pace you should not need any calories for about 15+ miles if you have been eating adequately."

                       

                      the key phrase being "eating adequately" - which I know I don't - and so I don't believe I have much stored - that's the way it is. 

                       

                      MTA: Read what Trent wrote -  interesting info - makes me want to learn more about this side of things.

                       

                      Apparently I get hungry because I'm running too damn slowEmbarrassed In my defense, I have to run slow if I want to control the bursitis flare-ups at this point. I also probably get hungry at about an hour into the run because I've run out of stored glycogen, which makes sense. As I understand the article, if my "training" was more effective, I guess my body would then switch over to burning fat and I wouldn't be hungry.  I'm just under 20% fat, so I do have some available fat-fuel.  I guess I'll have to read up on how to improve my training since I would really like it if I did not get hungry while running.

                      Use your momentum...keep going.  You know you can make it.

                      ud32


                         gave me a short boost, probably more mental, but  that still helped.

                         

                        I am on board with the mental boost - especially if I like the flavor !

                          Happyfeat, I don`t think you could possibly need gels or use up your glycogen stores on a 1 hour run.

                          I do know other women who weigh 100-110lbs who do not have this problem, so I don`t think your small stature or slim build could account for this problem. It might be best to ask your doctor about this to get a professional opinion.

                          I am certainly not an expert in this area, but have read about the subject in several sources including Noake`s `Lore of Running`, and it seems Trent`s post confirms this.

                           

                          I can see that getting dehydrated more quickly than most people could be part of the problem. 

                          I have always understood smaller runners have an advantage in hotter or more humid weather because the ratio between their surface area and body mass is more favourable, though this would mean better cooling through having more area to sweat relative to body weight, that would imply using up fluids more quickly.

                           

                          Anyway, an interesting area for study and individual experimentation.

                          PBs since age 60:  5k- 24:36, 10k - 47:17. Half Marathon- 1:42:41.

                                                              10 miles (unofficial) 1:16:44.

                           


                            Anyway, an interesting area for study and individual experimentation.

                            It is that - and thanks for your input, Simon.  This doesn't just occur with running for me. When I'm on a strenuous hike or backpacking, I have to eat something about every hour because I feel extremely hungry then too. Just me, I guess.

                            Use your momentum...keep going.  You know you can make it.

                              My experience in this half: not necessary.

                               

                              Just thought I'd comment on this now that I've done my race. I opted to carry my 500ml waterbottle with a 50-50 mix of water and Powerade bc that's what I used in training and I wanted to make sure I could drink when I wanted, not when there was an aid station. Race day wasn't hot; starting temp about 8*C and finishing temp about 12*C. My limiting factor in the last 2 miles where I struggled was not hydration or hunger; it was physical strength in my legs. I think that's more about building core and leg strength than anything I could ingest in the race.

                               

                              Thanks for all the thoughts on the topic when I asked. Smile

                              "Don't feel like running today...suck it up and run ...you're an athlete." (John Stanton, founder & owner of The Running Room)

                               

                              "The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race."