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running gel

How Gels Fuel Your Run

November 18th, 2020

We all know the feeling of reaching your breaking point during a run. Out of breath, hands on your hips and flat out exhausted. This type of fatigue can happen when you’re running distances of all types, but marathon runners in particular need to ensure that they can avoid this at all costs. Energy gels were produced with this particular goal in mind, giving you that added supplement that was once thought could only be consumed by water, sports drink or another liquid while you’re on the go.

The team at Pure Running are going to take you through how energy running gels can help keep you on track to smashing your fitness goals. 

What are running gels? 

Energy gels or running gels contain a number of special ingredients which are aimed at giving your depleted glycogen levels a little top-up, so you can get that boost in energy you’re often searching for when running long distance. To understand how these running gels work, it’s best to break down exactly how the body works when you’re out running.

As you can imagine, your body utilises a great deal of energy when running to help fuel your muscles in their operation. The two main sources of this energy come from carbohydrates and fat. Although fat is quite abundant in the body, the process to break it down to be used as energy is relatively slow, which means its effectiveness for fueling your body when running is quite low. 

You are then left with carbohydrates as the main source of fuel when you’re running, meaning that you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on carbs before putting your running shoes on. The problem here though is that your body can only store a limited amount of carbohydrates in the muscles you need to run. If you break this down to a half marathon pace, your body can typically hold around 90 minutes of glycogen, meaning that the average person will start to feel low well before finishing the run. 

If you have a running gel with you, your body will benefit from the simple sugars that the product contains. These sugars offer around 25g of carbohydrates per energy gel, giving your body a quick and accessible source of energy to use. Some running gels will contain other ingredients such as electrolytes or caffeine, which can replace minerals lost through sweating and open up your blood vessels respectively. 

energy gel

When to use gels running

Like most things, you’ll find the perfect time to take your running gels through trial and error. Everyone’s body acts differently, and you may have quite a different absorption rate of the gel when compared to the average. While a friend of yours may notice the effect of the gel in a few minutes, you could end up taking around 20 minutes to feel it. 

You might want to try using the running gels at an early point in the process, as some runners have problems when taking gels later into the run. Taking them earlier will allow your body to start processing these sugars quicker and lead to fewer issues with your stomach as it can slow down how your stomach processes things when running hard. 

How to carry energy gels when running 

Depending on what’s most comfortable for you and what you’re running you may find a number of different ways to carry these energy gels when running. The packaging on these products is fairly resilient, meaning that your pockets are the obvious first choice. 

If you’re without pockets, storing the energy gels in your sports bra on the side of your rib cage is another simple solution. Or if you’d prefer to keep it near your pants, you can use a trusty safety pin and secure your gel into the waistband of your shorts or pants. Make sure that you put the pin through the top part of the gel, so you’re not puncturing the actual gel itself. 

Otherwise, many people simply just hold onto the sleek and slim energy gel when running, making it easy to consume when you’re on the move as well. 

Which energy gel is best for running

The important thing is to find the best energy gel which suits your running needs and which you enjoy the flavour of as well. You might like the viscosity of one particular gel, but prefer the flavour of another one, so you might need to experiment with a few before landing on the perfect one for your running. 

Pure Running offers a number of different energy gels with several delicious flavours to choose from. We also stock gels with caffeine as well as special vegan energy gels to cater to all types of diets. Explore our running gels page to discover your favourite flavour today.