Sports Gels/Sweets + Dicky Tummies

Hi Guys!

 I ran my 2nd 10k yesterday and had a great time - although my legs have given up the ghost today, but thats no mind as they will be back on form by the end of the week!!

In the evening, after both events, I was crippled with stomach cramps and diaohrea.  During the race, I had been eating Jelly Belly Sports Beans to give me energy and I have a feeling that it was these that have upset my stomach.  I drank plenty water before, during and after and also had a good complex carb brekkie 2 hrs before the race.

It took the euphoria right out of my achievements, as I ended up feeling like I had a hangover!

Has anyone else had this experience?  Do you think it was the Sports Beans - I know that excess sugar can act as a laxative?  The reason that I think that it was as it has never happened during training, as I have only taken them during the race itself.  During training, I just drink water and carb up before and after, rather than during.

 I have heard that it is quite common for Sports Gels/Sweets/Drinks to upset runners tummies, but I would be interested to hear your views and experiences.

Also any suggestions for alternative energy boosts during races would be helpful too! 

Thanks a million




  • anything with fructose can really upset your stomach, that is the well known one - but everyone being different so of course some folks find just about anything hard to stomach during a race.

    Personally (and it's just me so don't sue if it doesn't work for you) = I nearly always end up with cramps and dodgy tummy if I race - so i take 1 immodium ultra before a big event.

    I also find SiS GO gels to be quite gentle on the stomach - they are pretty much all I can use although I can just about manage lucozade body fuel despite it's appaling taste.

    FYI - You shouldn't really NEED anything for a 10K.  your body should have plenty of fuel in it's muscles to cope with that distance. 

  • I just looked up sports beans ingredients and they def have fructose in them - so there is your answer.  Try something non-fructose and hopefully you should avoid the bad stomach.

    Dextrose, maltose and glucose are usually fine - that's what's in lucozade body fuel and GO but also I think those chalky glucose tablets are fine too.  Isostar is also fructose free.   

  • Thanks GymAddict - I really appreciate the info!

     I am still relatively new to running, so haven't quite got the "gen" on all its nuances yet!! 

    I am working towards doing a marathon next year, so will need to get my fuelling challenges sorted out.  Thanks again for the advice re; fructose - I didn't know that!


    Hailz x

  • Agree with Gym Addict with regards the Imodium instant and the SIS gels. I have tried the sports beans in the past and luckily did not suffer the same side effects but  did find them hard to eat compared to a gel.

    I think the best solution is to experiment with the various makes in training as they all differ, I tried one that was like a yoghurt which may work.

  • Once you've been running a while you'll find that you probably won't need water/energy supplements for a 10km. As you progress to half marathon you will probably get away with just water if needed. Martathons are a lot different as you are bound to run out of energy so will more than likely need something to keep you going. It is crucial to test anything you take on board in your training runs though. Also, as a tip, as you try different gels/beans/sweets, make sure your running route goes near places you could stop and use the loo. Jelly babies are pretty good, but can get sticky!

    Good luck with your training.

  • Thanks JBaby77 - I really appreciate the helpful advice!!
  • I did my first Great North Run last year and went through 3 SiS gels on the way round. Drank only water, and not lucozade.

    In training, I only take gels when doing 10m+. I carry a water bottle pouch on my back for all runs >5m (and less depending on weather).

    As for the other kind of runs.... I always seems to be a little more active in that area after a long run. The action of running stimulates the bowels, and always seems to 'get me going' !

  • there a quite a lot of drinks and gels out there pretty much all of them taste different, have different ingredients and some people get on with one better than the other. So the best best is to try a few.

    I don't get on with artificial sweetners which is why I generally only use High5 or Torq as they only use natural ingredients. Some of the SiS products have it and some don't which is a bit annoying!

    Generally your body will be able to take you up to about 18 miles one water alone, after that you'll need to start taking on carbs in the form or drink or gels.  Fluid is easier for most people as the gels can be a bit gloopy, plus you need to take water/fluid with them anyway.

  • I can't use any sports drinks or gels because of the effects they have on my stomach, but for some reason I'm fine with Squeezy energy gums (and it passes the time nicely during a marathon, picking them off my teeth.....).
  • You need to try different options - everyone is different. Some people here have recommended the SIS Go Gels, but for me those are the worst of the lot - last time i tried one of them it crippled me for about 6 hours after my run. I've also tried one of the SIS recovery bars and i'd eaten about a third of it before my stomach started feeling strange so i stopped straight away.

    I've moved onto the High5 EnergyGel - they seem to be okay for me.

     Like i say its gonna be unique for you - your best bet is to try a selection and just eliminate them until you find the one that suits.

  • Yeah, I'd echo all the advice above, but I sympathise - I really suffer from sore tummy, wind etc after eating energy gels. Good old jelly babies work the best, but are hard to carry. I'm currently experimenting with all different brands and trying to find one that works best for me...but not there yet image

  • Unless you are taking 90mins or so for a 10km then you really don't need to get any carbs in during the race. You should have plenty of glycogen. I think most people would find it difficult to get gels down them at 10km intensity - I know I would and I find them no problem at all at a slower pace.

    One thing you can try is to rinse your mouth with something sweet but spit it out. It seems that can perk you upeven though very little carbs are absorbed.

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