Energy gels for running - how often should I take a gel?
This is a question that comes up a lot whenever the topic turns to sports nutrition in endurance from marathon running and triathlon to road cycling and beyond. It's also one of the biggest causes of unnecessary performance loss for thousands of athletes across all disciplines. So here's a little food for thought on the subject as well as the one easy strategy to make sure you unleash all of your performance on race day, rather than losing it to a gurgling stomach.
When it comes to the number of gels to use, every nutrition company to date has issued guidelines for timed consumption. Surprise surprise, these guidelines always recommend A LOT of product.
This is why we see marathon start pens full of people feverishly guzzling gel before running a step, and triathletes who've spent £1000s shaving ounces off their bikes yet then add all that weight back, plus interest, in gels taped to every available surface.
But despite all these expert and scientifically designed schedules, what results do athletes following them experience?
They get sick. They throw up. They have to divert from their race for an urgent 'comfort break' behind the nearest tree. Their energy levels yo-yo. And then they bonk.
- 'Great, now I've got room for more gels!' When your nutrition makes you feel like this, the answer is not more product
We've said it before, we'll say it again:
Scheduled nutrition plans exist to sell product, not to serve athletes. It's why we don’t do them.
We do fully get you need a place to start from and so when beginning with our Chia Energy gels we recommend a one gel every 45-60 mins. Then adjust this up or down based on training results because everyone is different and no one-size-fits-all formula can ever work.
Plus every individual athlete will vary from day to day and from race to race, which is why we recommend a strategy we call ‘check in for take off’ instead of an inflexible schedule that leaves you with nowhere to go if it's not working out mid-race.
Our 'check in' strategy on the other hand allows you to nail brilliant results with your nutrition, and to confidently smash any race on any day, at any distance, in any conditions.
Here's how it works:
Lets say you know you eat, approximately, every 45 minutes during a race or training session. When that 45 minute marker rolls around, instead of just eating like a machine, take a beat to ask yourself: ‘am I hungry?’
If you are, eat. If not, schedule your next ‘check in’ for 15 minutes time and ask the question again.
Evolve this strategy with increasing or decreasing 'check-in' times always based on how you feel at that moment and you’ll become so well tuned to your body’s needs, you need never bonk again. Instead you’ll always be well ahead of the game and you won’t get any stomach trouble either as you’ll never overdo it.
For the world's only natural energy gel designed for stable energy and no stomach trouble, check out our Chia Energy Gels