Gels always scared me. I didn’t know what to expect, and figured they’d just be really weird and sickly. That wasn’t the case!
I’m sure we all know by now that I’m training for a half marathon. I mean I say training, but you know, it’s one of those where I feel like I’m doing stuff and then I see everyone else on twitter/instagram getting out WAY more than me. Also, here’s the disclaimer… I was not asked to write this for High5, I simply got a selection of the gels when buying a new water bottle and figured what the heck, they seem interesting enough!
Why I’m Using Energy Gels On Runs
I would class myself as a very middle runner. Not fast, but not really that slow either. I’m fully expecting my half marathon to take between 2h-2h30 to complete (and hopefully not more!) and that’s a long time running for me. So far in training I’ve run 1h45 (with a 2h run planned as this is posted!) and I’ve discovered that I do need something mid-run to keep my energy up.
If I’m honest, I’m not great at fuelling before hand. I don’t like to eat too much before a run as I don’t want to upset my stomach and whilst this is fine for shorter runs, after an hour I start to feel like I need something. A lot of people use gels for longer runs so I figured it was time to try them.
They are basically just a quick boost of carbohydrates, suitable for vegetarians and vegans and without lots of added nasties. It’s advised to take them every 20-30 minutes during a long run, but what I’ve been doing so far is just taking one just after the hour/10km mark. As I hit 2hrs, I’ll try taking another after the 30 minutes to see how I get on with two gels.
You can’t really see properly, but the nutritional info for the orange flavour is: 0g Fats, 56g Carbs (with 7.4g sugars), 0g protein and 0.12g salt. Citrus is the same but with 6.2g sugars and I guess all flavours will differ slightly in that regard.
Texture and Taste of Energy Gels
It was weird actually. Not as gloopy as I imagined, but still a little thick. It was kind of like eating a yoghurt, except not creamy at all. Just very fruity with a little bit of a twang. So far I’ve only tried the Summer Fruits and Apple flavours but I’ve enjoyed them. Wouldn’t say they’re extremely delicious, but they’re definitely palatable. The Summer Fruits was probably my favourite out of the two as it was a little softer tasting – we all know how tangy apple can be in sweets and stuff right?!
High5 also do IsoGels. They are basically the same thing, just with a higher water content. This makes them a lot closer to a drink rather than a gel, but do make the sachets heavier and harder to carry when running. I was going to try some, but that put me off as I don’t really have a belt designed to properly hold gels.
Do Energy Gels Make A Difference?
I would say so. They’re obviously not miracle workers and key to hitting a PB, but I definitely felt the energy release and my legs felt a lot lighter afterwards. Maybe it’s all mental, but even so it still works. You do have to make sure you’re properly hydrated and all beforehand, as the gels won’t do that for you! I think they’re definitely worth giving a go anyway.