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.