SAM CLARKS TOP TIPS FOR HOW, WHY & WHEN TO USE GU ENERGY GELS
The sporting world is awash with nutritional products of all kinds. Gels are available in every flavour and consistency imaginable – some more palatable than others. From my fifteen odd years of competing, GU gels are indispensable for energy delivery. I use GU gels in completion because I like the way they taste, they have a consistency which is easy to eat and above all; they truly make me go faster.
For short races, there are GU gels with high caffeine doses, for ultra-distance races Roctane gels contain amino acids to aid with compounded muscle fatigue, and there are also GU gels which contain no caffeine at all - this is important because I will often consume 30 + gels in a race.
My top 3 Gu Gel tips:
Plan your nutrition. For fast races, we need around 1 gram of carbohydrate per Kg of body weight per hour (I am 80kg and aim for 75g Carb/Hour). Figure out how long your race will take, and bring enough energy for that timeframe. Gu gels are around 25g grams of Carbohydrate, so for me that means around 3 per hour.
Avoid flavour fatigue. In very long races, wash down your gels with water, not a sports drink. Otherwise, you may tire of the constant barrage of sugar, and be less inclined to eat and drink when you need to. You will risk under-fuelling and dehydration – The worst possible combination.
Keep them close. It is no good having your gels where it is awkward to reach them. Here are some examples of how to keep them handy:
Tape your Gu to the top tube: That way you can tear them off one-handed.
Safety pin your Gu to the back of your running shirt - Tuck them into your shorts, and they will be there when you need them, perfect for marathons and half marathons.
Sam Clark is a 4-time winner of the Coast to Coast Multisport Race.
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