I’ve been looking at sports gels over the last month or two.
The thing with gels is they are a convenient way of getting some on the run calories in, but do you need them or is it just a thing that you see other people use and think thats the way to go.
With shorter distances like 5-10k I probably wouldn’t use them but with half marathons or a full marathon if I eventually run a full marathon I know that getting at least 100 calories an hour is a must.
Ive used sports gels for half marathons before, id use one or two and id say that they can make a difference, but I’m always feeling rough for two or three days after.
Talking to other runners, nobody likes taking gels, nobody has a best gel, people seem to just have a brand that they hate the lest! I would say they all as far as the ones I’ve tried, leave me the same feeling, feeling horrible for days after.
When I’ve had a look at whats in the gels they seem to all have maltodextrin which is a sugar, this is the main carb ingredient in these gels.
Now I know I’m ok with sugar, up until this year I was a three sugars in my coffee bloke, so the problem must be this type of sugar.
I did some research in to maltodextrin and found that technically it is a complex carbohydrate because of its low sugar content, but has a Glycaemic index of 130, table sugar is only 65.
So eating this is going to give a very big spike in blood sugar followed by a crash.
The other thing I found was its bad news for people with Crohns like me, theres some research that shows maltodextrin availability and Crohns incidents seem to track together, so in a nut shell this stuff is not the sort of thing someone keeping fit and trying to look after themselves should be using.
So whats left, what to use when running over 90 minutes.
Ive found that working on my aerobic base has helped a lot keeping the need for carbs to a minimum, the more efficient my fat burning engine is the more mileage I can cover before needing carbs.
But when I do need carbs I’ve found some sports food brands out there that don’t use maltodextrin in their running food,
Im trying one at the moment From 33 fuel which is made up from chia seeds coconut palm sugar pink salt with some vanilla flavour, you get these gels dry and you have to add water at lest ten minutes before you need them and they last 24 hours, they turn in to a gel and give me 100 calories per pack, using these and cutting maltodextrin out has made a big difference to my recovery after a long run and I’ve not seen any drop off in performance or though I’m no professional runner, but all seems fine.
Im using 33 fuel gels and I’m sure there are others or you could make your own but I would say have a look in to the gels your using and see if you need to take them and if there is something that you could use instead..