How to carry energy gels

Help! I'm running my first half marathon in two weeks and need to carry 4 energy gels but I can't find a good way to carry them. I dont really want something round my waist as it will do my head in but can't think of another way. Can anyOne help??


  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    How do you carry them now?
  • In my jacket pocket but won't be wearing a jacket on the day as I get too hot image
  • Pop them in your bra image
  • That's a lot of gels for a HM
  • I didn't think of that one I like it! I was told 1 every 30-40 minutes and I'm estimating a slow plod for a 2.15 run??
  • Firstly why do you need four ?

    Four is alot for a HM .

    Dont get too reliant on such things.

    I find that water is the thing you need most and thats supplied on route.

    Even then little and not too often is a good rule.

    Often when runners complain of stomach upsets during races it caused by the unholy union of liquids solids and their stomachs boucing up and down.

    Keep it lean, mean and hungry.

  • Ok I started to write my post before you said you estimate your time as 2:15

    Maybe four is not so much then.

    Im a get it over quick get to the chip shop kind of runnerimage

  • Lara, I was once told that it takes 15 - 20 mins for a gel to get into your system so if you were planning on taking one at 2 hours in, it'd be wasted.
  • You shouldn't need any gels for a half. Most people have enough internal fuel to run for at least 90 minutes.
  • +1

    2.15 isn't that slow and I can't really see that you need any gels. Let alone 4.
  • Agree with the above but an alternative is to get shorts with deep or zipped pockets.
  • I have given up  recently on gels as they give me stomach upset as stated in one of the earlier posts. However when I did use them I had a runaid flask (the water bottle you carry in your hand) and then taped some gels to the side of it using parcel tape.

    I finish around the time you mention and provided there are water stations on route and I have a hand flask of say lucozade sport for a boost then I have no problems. Works out a bit cheaper as well. Bottle of lucozade or supermarket own brand energy drink = £1.20 - £1.50   4 energy gels= £3.50 - £4.00

    Since ditching the gels I no longer have stomach problems or the dreaded "runners trots" so I think one of the earlier posts has a point when he mentions upsets being caused by "the unholy union of liquids solids and their stomachs bouncing up and down". 

  • I use Ronhill trail cargo shorts that have 4 little mesh pockets around them which I find perfect for gels (also for mobile phone)

  • I've never used gels in a half marathon (and I'm not very much quicker than the OP).

    I find that water is enough, or sometimes I have some glucose tablets to chew on in the last few miles.

  • While I'd agree with the others that 4 gels for a HM is too much, if that's what you're used to, going without on the day of the race is not a good idea.  If you're using them in training, then after you've done this race, you need to learn to run without them, your body has enough fuel for around 90 mins without anything else.  If you feel that you can't run without something, then try jelly babies - shove them in a pocket, they're much easier than a gel.

    If you really can't go without the gel, and need four, one in each bra cup, one in a pocket (most tights have something you can use) and one taped to a bottle might be your answer.  If not, belts are the best option, you just have to get used to it.  As someone else said, you could try dissolving the gel in a water bottle and carrying that or buying a bottle of sportsdrink but it's extra weight to carry. 


  • I have 2 strategies when I need to carry gels (and am not going far enough to warrant a pack) either:

    1) Clothes that have mesh 'stash' pockets I typically buy Raidlight:

    Although Ronhill and Salomon will do equivalents.


    2) Not wearing bra's (at least to run in .....) I wear compression socks and tuck one in the top of each.

    Of the 2 I prefer the second because even with the excellent fitting Raidlight clothes the gels do tend to move around a little too much for comfort.

    Finally addressing the topic of do you need gels for a HM? I suspect you don't nor do I but I will use 1 or sometime 2 that include caffeine as a good shot of caffeine will reduce the perceived effort of running for a couple of miles which for me is very welcome at around mile 8.
  • I use a SIS running belt - I know you said that you don't want a belt but if you do it up really tight so it doesn't move, you can't feel it I promise image

    As for using gels in a HM, I do it! I use one or two generally. Maybe there's nothing in it, but the placebo effect is a powerful thing and they won't do any harm!

  • Go for a training run with a running bottle filled with Lucozade sport so you can hold it easily in one hand and sip as you run. Take a small packet of sports beans to give you energy iwhen you need it ( 2 beans should do the trick and take more as and when you feel you need a boost.) I keep mine in the small pocket inside my running leggings and it works for me. Hope this helps and good luck with the run!
  • I hate holding a bottle while running. Always feel like it throws me out of balance. One in each hand is okay, but then it just feels like I'm needlessly lugging extra weight about.

    I wear compression-style bra tops and tuck stuff down the front - usually my ipod nano, a gel or two and sometimes my inhaler. Once I got a weird boob blister from the edge of the gel packet chafing but generally I find it a great way to carry stuff...

  • Gavlar C wrote (see)

     I have seen people with arm gel holders

    Thanks for that link, Gavlar! I've also been looking for an alternative to a gel belt - this looks pretty good.

    At the moment, I use the storage pouch for my Montane running jacket - I can fit a small pack of tissues and several energy gels in but I don't really want to carry a pouch for a whole marathon ... the arm belt looks like a good alternative and will stop me feeling lop-sided!

  • A few in a Y-fumble armband pocket, and the rest down the front of my sports bra!
  • First, find out whether they'll be any on the course, as HMs often have a gel sponsor. Can get lots of shorts with a back pocket that'll take 2 or 3 gels. I hate belts personally, they annoy me too much!
  • Someone working at Sweatshop recently suggested to be that you go and get some cheap 'one size fits all" type gloves that pound shops seem to specailize in, and chop of the fingers, leaving a sleeve over the palm, where you can stuff a couple in each hand. Haven't tried it myself: I tend to gaffer-tape a couple of gels to a doughnut style water bottle (if you use them). I've had too many gels fall out of belts etc.
  • I don't do gels during half marathons, but if I ever take them on extra-long training runs then I tuck them into my long socks. Works well with the compression-type socks.
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