Gone are the days when water and sports drinks were all runners needed to fuel up during marathons. Growing insight into how the body uses glycogen has brought about a slew of modern carbohydrate supplements.

Among them are energy gels formulated to speed up the delivery of glycogen to one’s working muscles. For optimum results on race day, however, you need to first understand how they work and how they fit into your nutrition plan.

Understanding the basics

During a run, your body draws on two fuel sources fat and carbohydrates. While abundant, fat acts slowly so you can’t rely on it when you’re going fast, making carbohydrates your primary ally.

The downside: our body is only capable of storing a limited supply of carbohydrates, no matter how much you load up. We’re talking 90 or so minutes of muscle glycogen at half-marathon pace and 2 hours at marathon pace.

What happens when your carbohydrate stores get depleted? Well, that’s when energy gels come to your rescue.

Mentally, the gels give you an instant boost, thanks to the glucose stored in your liver. They make you feel more energized and less hazy.

However, they won’t wake up your leg muscles as fast. See, the glycogen from energy gels need to go through the intestinal wall before they get to the muscles. This means it takes some time for your carbohydrate stores to be replenished.

So to make the most out of energy gels, you must ingest them at the right time and frequency.

Getting the timing right

When to take energy gels? Actually, there isn’t a single answer, as proper timing varies from runner to runner. We absorb and process carbohydrates at rates that depend on the stomach’s efficiency at digesting carbohydrates and the kind of carbohydrates ingested.

But in general, the earlier into the race, the better. You should begin taking energy gels while your body can still process sugars fast without causing any stomach issues. If you delay this, you’re more likely to throw up after ingesting the gels.

Experts recommend having your first gel 45 to 60 minutes into the run. Why not just before the gun goes off? Because starting the day with a substantial breakfast say oatmeal, an energy bar or bagel with peanut butter is a better alternative. You don’t want to be running on just simple sugars for 3 to 4 hours.

Getting the frequency right

The next question is how often you should take energy gels. Again, this depends on the runner’s capability to process and digest carbohydrates.

The key is to not overdo it. Waiting at least 45 minutes before your next gel is best (up to 60 minutes for those with sensitive stomachs). If you don’t give the simple sugars enough time to be absorbed by your muscles or other organs, you might end up feeling sick from all the simple sugars in your blood stream.

It also helps to try out the energy gels during training. Remember, your digestive track can be trained. By getting it used to digesting the gels at set intervals, you can boost your absorption rate. So yes, practice your fueling strategy too.

Tracking guidelines

To ensure energy gels deliver as expected on race day, follow these tips.

Take the gels with water. If you don’t drink anything, it will be long before you feel the effects of the gel. If you swap water for a sports drink, your simple sugar levels will soar.

Explore our GU Energy Gel find flavor that suits your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types.

If your body seems to be rejecting gels, test out various gel and fluid combinations until you get a perfect fit.

And lastly, set aside time to create a personalized marathon nutrition plan that aligns with your fueling and hydration needs.

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You are taking a huge risk to consume anything from unknown source. Further more, it is inexpensive to buy from Likeit.sg the authorised GU Energy Gel dealer. We source our energy gels from Singapore distributor not parallel import!

Energy gels can help you go the distance, as long as you have an effective fueling strategy in place.