Energy gel / stomach upsets

I have recently discovered energy gels - they've taken me from finishing my runs on my last legs, to powering home with plenty in the tank. However, they also seem to have the side effect of giving me the runs (pun intended). On my run today i ate 2 of the SIS Go gels and within an hour of getting home i had stomach cramps and was on the toilet every 10 mins - this lasted for about 4 or 5 hours.

From googling the problem it would seem that a lot of people suffer the same issue due to the high sugar content found in many energy products, with the general advice being to try different products as not all of them will necessarily have the same effect.

So with that in mind, i was wondering what everyone else uses / thinks of the various energy products on the market and if any could be recommended to me?


  • way2slowway2slow ✭✭✭
    Hi Jamiepic - i too get stomach cramps from SIS gels - high 5 seem to be ok for me though. it really is just trial and error until you find the right ones for you - some people prefer to have jelly babies / chocolate instead of gels
  • jelly babies all the way!  much easier on the stomach.  failing that, jelly beans, gummi bears... the whole gamut of jellified confectionary
  • One of the SiS gels varieties contains caffeine, it tastes like pre-mix cola.  I'm fine with the normal stuff, and can even handle lucozade gel, but that ripped me to shreds.  Almost had a code-brown image in the last 2 miles of a marathon after guzzling one at 16 miles, I even refused the one I left at the 21 mile point.  Moral of this story is even is Tesco run out of your usual, find them somewhere else and NEVER try anything new on race day.
  • High 5 work great for me. I think it is made up with a slightly different composition of fructose/glucose. I've heard of the same effect from quite a few people who have used the SIS ones.
  • Thanks everyone - gonna give the high 5 ones a go this weekend, then resort to jelly babies if necessary. Thing is, if i have jelly babies i'd need a massive bag as i'd be munching on them all the way and they'd distract me from my running image
  • JELLY BABIES  for meimage

    I'm fine with the gels, but prefer the jelly babies, just take a few with you to try, not the whole bag, otherwise you'll end up eating the lotimage

  • You say that like it's a problem, Abu? image
  • I do get hunger pains on a long run, so a full bag of jelly babies is very temptingimage
  • 20 cals per baby, so you can graze on them right through your run!  you can absorb about 240-400 cals per hour, so about 12-20 jelly babies (assuming you're just drinking water with them).

    so one every 5 minutes - yum yum.

    however, don't forget salt intake too, so you'd prob be better off drinking some kind of sports drink instead of plain water (i find SIS GO blackcurrant electrolyte drink the least vomit inducing).  sadly that cuts down your jelly baby ration to one every 10 minutes.  boo.

  • How do you carry drinks with you on long runs? I find it annoying enough just having a pocket full of gels - i'm sure running with a bottle would be even more annoying...
  • Park the car in the middle of a lap or figure-of-eight and leave drinks in there.  Not always an option, but one nonetheless.  You can always put a pound coin in your pocket and dip into a shop at halfway.  The handheld bottles can get really warm.
  • personally, i use my hands to carry bottles.  it  was a bit annoying at first, but you soon get used to it.  after all, holding a 500ml or 750ml bottle in your hand isn't objectively a hugely difficult task. 

    i started running further recently so moved up to carrying 2 1-litre bottles at a time.  that was quite uncomfortable for the first week or two as the bottles are so wide, but again, after that first few goes it's easy.  just a matter of "manning up" a bit.

  • Actually, a smallish backpack is great to train with as long as it fits perfectly.  Used to run home every night wearig one.  The massive benefits here are that the weight is supported by your trunk, a pretty strong group of muscles, and also much quicker you become without it.  Carrying 2Kg in one hand will guarantee one thing, massive forearms!
  • JjJj ✭✭✭

    nup - can't carry anything. The Nathan G-Trek is the fabbest for runs over 90 mins or so. bottle for water (or Ribena if I'm feeling exotic), and a pouch big enough to take jelly babies, gels (which I cannot abide - I've only had one in my life), phone, key, small boy scout, spare shoes, laptop for when the muse strikes, a satellite dish in case the Garmin* fails...whatever.

    *I don't actually have a Garmin. Too many trees. But I do carry a chainsaw in the pouch in case I find any fallen ones that are too big to climb over.

  • I use the donut bottle, which was a little annoying at first, but ended up being comforting in the end.  I like Ribena too, sometimes.  What a drink!!!

    The sports drinks they hand out on race day tend to be stronger than what you can buy in the shops - made me feel REALLY rough between 13 and 18, so gave up on them and stuck to water!

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