Gels for 10k races??

Hi there,

Just wanted to ask if there is any need to take gels when running 10k races? I only ask as I was recently running a 10k event and saw the floor littered with empty gel packs I think about half way round. I read somewhere a while ago that there is no need to take gels when running for an hour or less but does this train of thought change when it's a racing situation?


  • There is no need to take any gels for a 10k.  You only need them if you are going further than a half marathon.  You will have plenty of stored energy for a 10k and taking a gel will just slow you down and could upset your stomach.

  • No. Definitely not.

    Might swig a sports drink in the hour or so before but no gels.
  • I thought it was a bit over the top when I saw a bloke with a belt full of gels for a half marathon recently never mind a 10k. I would need to be going over 18 miles to even think about gels. I wouldn't even drink water in a 10k unless it was really hot.
  • Occassionally I might take one 30 mins before a race, or maybe a banana, but not during the race for HM or less. Take one mid way through a 10k, and by the time i've finished, the body has just about processed the carbs and makes them available to use standing around past the finish line.

    The race you were at sounds like a gel manufacturers wet dream
  • I was badly advised to try a gel on an 10 mile run and it gave me terrible stomach pain and I had to stop and 8 miles.

    I do carry a small water bottle on most runs but that's not to drink particularly, it's because I can't stand how dry my mouth gets when running. I just do a small sip now and ten to rinse it out.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    For anything less than 10 miles I dont take anything (maybe water in really hot weather). I've seen similar stuff happening on 5k's lately

  • It's bad advice on other forums. Not to mention the gels themselves. The one I had actually recommended onthe back to take one every 20 mins of running. Nonsense.
  • You don't need gels for a 10k, but I have used them to experiment under race conditions - the theory being that if it's going to disagree with your digestive system ir's better to find out during a short race than a long one.
  • Running Rodent wrote (see)
     - the theory being that if it's going to disagree with your digestive system ir's better to find out during a short race than a long one.

    Even better to find out when you're at home and within easy reach of a bathroom!

    I have to try mine out at home first - they tend to have a drastic effect.

    It's very much an individual thing, but generally, as the others said, you shouldn't need gels for a 10k, they're only necessary when you're spending significant time on feet and that varies depending on your pace.  For most people, 10ks are faster races when there isn't the time to take gels / take on water, so they don't.


  • Thanks guys  for taking the time to reply- that is all really useful to know!

  • Girl at my club who usually places top 5 in national races downs a couple of gels before a 10k in lieu of getting up earlier and eating a 'proper' breakfast. I'm not recommending it, just saying that's what she does. I don't use gels for anything shorter than a half marathon race or a 16-18 mile training run.

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