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 energy gels during long runs
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

energy gels during long runs Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 6:52 pm 

Do you use energy gels (or other carbo-fuel) during your long runs? I used to always eat a Gu gel every 45 minutes or so on any run longer than 10 miles. My theory was that it would help with my endurance, enabling me to run longer and faster. But in the past couple of weeks, I've reconsidered that theory. My goal should be to get my best performances during races, not on training runs. Now I'm thinking that doing long runs without gels will actually provide more stimulus to my body to use energy effeciently, and burn fat more than carbohydrate. Sure, I'll bonk a little on my medium-long runs until I get used to it, but that's okay. When I'm actually in a long distance race, having the gels will provide more of a boost, because my body won't be "expecting them." Does that make sense?

OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:36 pm 

Well, it seems that I've read that (at faster than easy/sub-easy paces) you don't really start to burn fat until you've used up most of your glycogen stores. And that long runs are a means of getting your body (and your psyche, I imagine) accustomed to that shifting of gears from glycogen to fat. I guess what that leaves open to dispute is whether you ever really need Gu or similar supplementation on medium distance runs. The idea behind Gu early and often is, I believe, to provide alternate energy sources so you can delay the inevitable point where you've consumed all your glycogen stores in a marathon. I've you had adequate glycogen stores going into the medium-distance run, you shouldn't nee any supplementation...it shouldn't make any real physiological (sp?) difference, right? But if you were somewhat glycogen depleted going into your medium-distance run, your body would get some "training" in becoming better acclimatized to the transition from glycogen to fat. So I guess it depends on how well rested you were. If you weren't well rested, you might be cheating yourself out of that effect by consuming Gu on the run. If you were well rested, it probably doesn't make any difference physiologically, but if it made you feel better psychologically then why not consume Gu? I guess I'd say don't take Gu unless running >18 miles in order to optimize the training benefits. And that position's backed by...oh, just me I guess.

As for actual behavior, I take Gu every 45 minutes on all runs of 15 or more miles.


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:52 pm 

My solution: I Gu on my long runs and during races. Anything less than 10 miles (or 1 1/2-ish hours), I don't bother, but I've found that once I hit that 2 hour mark, I start running on fumes. I suppose I *could* in theory train my body to be more efficient, but as it is, I'd rather shove some grub in my face and be happy.

On runs over 3 hours, I've taken to postioning my car at a trailhead that I can run out to and grab some actual food to carry with me, i.e., peanuts, pretzels, PB and Js, etc. when I head back out.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 2:52 pm 

I think I'll skip the Gu during training runs from now on, except for the very longest runs, under the theory that what doesn't kill me must make me stronger.

Rustyboy wrote:
On runs over 3 hours

I've personally never run that long outside of a race, but taking Gu or other food for a run of that length would seem essential.


BGibbsLMT

Southington, CT
Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 68

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:16 am 

I've been using Cliff Shot Blocks (think giant organic gummies) on runs over1 1/2 hours they're easier to carry than gels and no gooey wrapers afterward. Since I don't usually train for races, I just run for the sake of running, I don't worry about the effect on my race results. The one bebefit no one's mentioned is that eating blocks or gels reminds me to drink on a regular basis.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:49 am 

How do you like the gummy blocks compared to gels? Are they any cheaper? At over $1 for a single little packet, those gels are pricey.

Speaking of reminding yourself to drink, how often do you take in water while running? I usually don't drink at all on runs of less than about 8 miles. But if I do have my water bottle with me, I try to drink some every 2 miles or so.


BGibbsLMT

Southington, CT
Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 68

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 9:14 pm 

I think they're a little cheaper per 100 calorie serving. They taste good and give me a boost in energy. EMS is the only place I've been able to find them. I usually only bring water on runs over 1 1/2 hours, unless it's really hot out. I use a blackburn hydration pack, back pack style with a Platypus bag in it. I like th Platypus bag because it has a ziplock top so it's easy to fill, and a long hose. On really cold days (under 15 F) I have to wear a sweat shirt over the hydropack so the hose doesn't freeze.

mrbill

Sub-Chicago
Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 84

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 8:30 pm 

I tried the "blocks" a few weeks ago AFTER a 10 mile race. I'm glad I waited til after the race because they tasted like crap! They were being handed out around the 6 mile mark and I carried them back to the finish before I tried them.
I sure didn't like them at all....


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 9:40 am 

I tried the Clif blocks at the Expo before the Philadelphia Marathon and thought they tasted nasty. So I've never considered tyring them while running.

I use gels during any race of a half marathon distance and over. I used to use them during my long training runs but lately I haven't been using them. Frankly, I've forgotten to take them with me on my long run. I've been relying on my Camelbak (waist belt) with 45 onces of Cytomax, Amino Vital, or Accelerade. My preference lately has been the Cytomax. But I've just recently been trying Amino Vital (it's really expensive). So far I seem to do okay without the gels. But I'm still in the early stages of experiementing and we're not quite yet into the really warm weather running. So I may go back to using gels if the liquid stuff doesn't do it for me on the long sweaty runs.

When I do use gels, I prefer to use a gel flask. I empty about 4-5 gels into it and mix with water to thin it out. It's easier to squeez out and I don't have to worry about what to do with the sticky gel packs.

I'm also going to be experiementing with Salt tablets soon (as the weather gets warmer). I've got some Hammer Endurolytes, and will experiment with popping some of these before and during a long run.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 9:51 am 

mfox, you're a regularly pharmacy on the run! :-) It's amazing that runners in the "old days" even survived, when you hear about early Boston Marathon runners taking brandy and strychnine during the race.

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: energy gels during long runs Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 1:23 pm 

Rickshaw wrote:
mfox, you're a regularly pharmacy on the run! :-) It's amazing that runners in the "old days" even survived, when you hear about early Boston Marathon runners taking brandy and strychnine during the race.


I"ve probablly been reading too much about ultra runners and iron man triathletes and how they battle with nutrition in training and racing. I'm trying to apply a little of what seems to work for them to my training and running. But I've been at this since '98 and still haven't quite nailed it down. I suppose getting it "nailed down" may always be a moving target as I expect my body to continue changing as I get older.


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