Gels all about the gels and that final 6.2!!!!!


Becoming ever increasing scared ahead of the Rome marathon, having done a couple of 20milers...... I am left asking where do you get the last 6 miles from, let alone the .2!!!!!

Tried some energy gels during the Brighton half and wondering if there are any people would recommend for a marathon and a make of belt that would suffice to hold 4/6, without them falling out within a pace?! Not wishing to break the bank on the latter!!! 

righty ho many thanks any tips on getting through the final 6 and Gels would be much appreciated!!



  • I've always used SIS GO gels & I believe they do one with added caffine to get you through.  Must say when I did Brighton last year I was so gone that I forgot to take it. 

    I used a belt that meant they were secure on my back but it wasn't tight & I ended up with loads of scratches though I didn't notice them on the day...  I am going to look into an arm support.  Alternative is to find out what they have on the day & practice with those.


  • I like high5 - use their belt and you won't lose any. I have one every 5 miles or so.

    You shouldn't need gels for a half though.

    As to that last 6.2 - remember you are constantly running on tired legs in training and still you manage 20 milers.

    Now if you taper your legs will be lovely and fresh and the extra bit isn't an issue.
  • Thanks for the advice will follow that up.......hope this not a stupid questionimage  BUT can they be taken on their own or best to wash down with a slurp of water?!!!

    Will certainly ensure that i taper properly....tis all exciting if a little daunting!!!image

  • yes - you need to wash down with water.  Some of them are quite gooey - I think that's why GO are quite popular - more liquid based.

    People are right - you don't need gels on a half but it's worth practicing - in-fact a lot of people use  a pre-marathon half as a practice event which is a sensible idea

  • Training gets you through the first 20, grit & determination gets you through the other 6.2.
  • Try High 5 Isogel - they don't need water and they're not sticky or strongly flavoured. They're more like a mouthful of very weak fruit squash drink, and I've found them much easier to take.
  • I've had a look & I think SIS Go & High5 have the same effect but you need to try them out to check they don't play havoc with your stomach...!   The amount they suggest taking an hour seems over-kill to me but they would suggest that wouldn't they...
  •  This is good stuff , thank you!!

    I will have try some high 5 or sisgo for my long run this weekend; it was good to have a practice at the Brighton half (and a bit more... tee hee!!! did make me chortle the mis measurement!!) At least they adjusted the times accordingly...chuffed at that!!! 

    will certainly take on board the grit and determination tip......head down and keep plugging then! 

  • see above!

    They say a marathon is split into two races - the first 20 & then the final 6...

    My advice would be to save something for the final 6 - i.e. don't go out too fast & if you take on gels or sports drink you'll probably be ok...

    PS tip: don't mix the gels & sports drink - your tum won't like it image

  • Have used lucozade sport ones in the past which are quite gloopy but recently tried shotz and think I'll switch - much easier to get down.
    You should be taking gels before the last 6.2 as it takes a while for the carbs to get into your system. One every 5m is plenty ie start,5m,10,15m - one at 20m will not be much use as you will be nearly done by the time it kicks in - better to scoff a few jelly babies for a quick energy boost in the last bit.
    Most important bit is to practise on your long runs, find out what works for you and stick to the plan on the day - good luck!
    Oh and tapered rested, adrenalin on the day, grit and detirmination etc all true too!
  • I agree with Liam. The manufacturers all recommend taking gels every half an hour. For a four hour marathon could you imagine consuming 8 gels. yuk. Never seen any of the pros take any at all.

    I have used the vast majority of gels and other than taste have yet to notice any difference in performance benefits. I agree that if you are taking gels it might be wise to lay off the sports drink and simply rehydrate with water otherwise your stomach is likely to rebel.

    My marathon plan for what it's worth is to take a gel at mile 6, 12, 18 and mile 22. It has seemed to work so far but I am always happy to take advice on this.

    As for the last 6.2 I would recommend training up to 22 miles in your long run, it does not seem a vast amount further to add an extra 4 miles whereas if you train only to 20 when you get to 20 in the race and you work out you still have 10k to go and you calculate that even your 10k pb time added to the 20 miles is still a whole lot of running it can be crushing.
    That was a mighty long sentence! Sponsored by Kronenbourg.
  • I take gels every 5 miles in uk marathons. Because its easy to count in 5's.
    The last gel - 25 miles I either skip or take early as it takes 15 mins or so to kick in.
    In Rome - its going to be measured in km I guess so make sure you are ready for that. Even simple sums can be incredibly hard when you are racing !
  • +1 for train up to 22 def helped me
  • I think Keyboard_worrier's suggestion is about right about how many gels though perhaps one before you start assuming that you had your brekkie two hours earlier...

     Even simple sums can be incredibly hard when you are racing ! - I agree Cougie!!

  • Never even thought of measurements being in km great point cougie!!!!will check conversions, don't want to sacrifice a jelly baby or gel for a calculator!!! Thinking of churning out a 22 miler this sun, could be a confidence booster before some tapering?!

    Enjoying reading the responses made me think about stuff not even considered ESP tactics for when to take on the added energy
  • i dont use gels or any sports drinks

    in fact they mak me feel quite sick and queezy

    i run HM's and FM's without them, solo and pushing a wheelchair

  • Hi... Some useful stuff here for a novice, thanks.

    Those of you saying not to have lucozade sport drink with the gels do you mean at the same time or in the same race? I.e is it ok to use water to wash the gels down and then have sport later in the run or best to steer clear of them combining at all?

    I've been using gels + water in training but for London I was intending to use the gels with water and then sport at the relevant on-course stations that provide it. I guess I should just try mixing them in training and see what happens .... Whilst staying close to home presumably!?
  • I used to take lucozade sport drink with me on my long runs and then 3 gels if I was doing 20 miles. During my marathon races I would take gels, as above and then water and sports drink as and when I thought appropriate so I did have gels and sports drink on the same run. In my last marathon it did make me feel queazy. Nothing drastic but after the race a felt sick for a good 4 hours before my stomach settled.

    In training this time I have only been drinking water and taking gels. So far so good.
  • Thanks k_w.... I think I'll stick to the gels and water too, don't really want to tempt fate.
  • interesting thread, i had a gel today on a run and it did nothing for me, i used some gels for the HM i did, and i cant remember what they are called other than they were in a yellow packet, were raspberry flavour and had caffiene in them and they were brilliant

    Micknphil, wow didnt realise u never took anything, awesome, what other marathons or half's u doing, i have a great pic of you guys from Gloucester, i will miss ur HM as i'm doing silverstone
  • Just a big thank you for everyones help on this thread, it all proved a great help, the advice was tip top esp timings of the gels and the jelly babies..grit and deternination definately the key, I found the last 4 miles the toughest ever!!!!!.

     well I completed Rome and very chuffed with a sub 4 hour time!image 

  • well done agentpenguin - end of April for me for the MK marathon...
  • wow fantastic apenguin, 5 weeks yesterday and counting for me for london, did silverstone HM a few weeks ago

    only two long runs to go now!!! there is light at the end of the tunnel lol, interesting you said the last 4miles were the toughest ever, will remember that lol

    were there many supporters at the Rome Marathon?
  • I find SiSGo absolutely the easiest to take, no water needed, especially if you heat them in your hand they are quite runny. High 5 also fine for me, but less carb content.

    I find ZipVit VERY cloying and gloopy and make me feel like I am chewing drying glue - not great and they need water.

  • ooh i meant to add i tried the lucozade gels last weekend on a LSR and although they are quite thick, i really liked the flavour of them

  • Yes, the Lucozade ones are pretty yummy, very sweet... I'm also rather loving Gu flavours at the mo!

    Question -  would it be overkill to take gels with caffeine in them, AND, say, High5 tablets with caffeine?

    Would it be better to take plain gels+caffeine hydration, OR caffeinated gels+water/sports drink... or does it matter at all??

  • Great to see a thread about gels I only started using them 2 weeks ago and was wondering how often to use them and what with.

    Im doing the Hull Marathon April 8th so I've tried them with water only on 2 x 20 mile runs and no problems with tummy.

    I got the GU Gels after hearing good things about them but the only thing is on the back of the packaging it states not to take more than 4 in 24hrs?

    With taking one at the start then every 5 miles which seems a popular course of action I would need to take 5.

    Is it adivisable to take 5 on race day even though packaging states no more than 4 in 24hrs?

    Any help or advise very much appreciated

    Many Thanks

  • I think you'd survive - it's not exactly a dangerous prescription medication...

    If you need 5, I'd take 5.
  • I think the point is would your tum handle them & everyone is different...
  • Hi there thanks for the reply I seem to be fine with the gels with water, no problems at all so like you say take the 5 if needed.

    Im still learning all the preparations for a marathon and Im a big believer in fail to prepare,prepare to fail to coin a phrase lol

    Thanks for the advise its appreciated

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