Gels and supplements

I am training for the Hamburg marathon next year.  Presently the mileage is at 5 - 8 km, but next week we start hitting 12km and a few weeks later 16 km as part of our "My Asics" training plan.

The quesitons I have is:

Should I and when should I be using energy Gels during training?

What are good budget gels to buy?

At long distances is it a good idea to put a Magnesium/Electorlyte dissolveable tablet in my water bottles?

All advice is warmly welcomed


  • Hmm, the 'My Asics' training plans are not great.  I've just got it to prepare one for me and it suggested I do 22 miles at race pace 3 weeks before the race, which is marathon suicide, as far as most people are concerned.  Particularly if you're only doing 4 runs a week, which is the most it will accept anyone wants to run.  So, my first comment (probably not what you wanted/expected to hear) is change training plans.  Try the ones on this forum or Hal Higdon's website.

    Gels: I did use them on runs over 15 miles (that's about 24km) when I started running marathons; now I don't take any fluid unless I'm running over 18M (29km) and only bother with energy stuff over 20M (32km).  To an extent you want to train your body to use its own fuel reserves.  I've never bothered with electrolyte tablets.  It's cheaper to just use jelly sweets and make up an energy drink from a bit of fruit juice, a pinch of salt and some water.  Use gels on a couple of training runs (preferably ones where you are running at planned marathon pace) just to make sure you get on ok with them.

    Good luck.

  • Sorry to hear about your experience with MyAsics.  My plan suggests 32 km 3 weeks at a slightly slower than marathon pace which seems ok.

  • It's not my experience with My Asics - their schedules were discussed on another thread (not in a positive way) and so I had a look when you mentioned them.  I don't think they are well structured and are too light on endurance to help anyone run a marathon well.   I have never and would never use them.

  • I was using torq energy gels but found them sickly and my tummy didnt like them on a race day i attenended there was a cliff supplier handing out these cliff energy blocks which are 3 single jelly styled blocks and taste awesome and just as good as a gel

    copy and paste link below as a idea

  • I don't think doing 20m at anywhere race pace is a good idea.

    As to gels - I'd only use them on the long runs - so once I get up to 20 miles or so. I've used the shot blocks but I'd struggle taking them on at speed. Gels are so easy to get down.

    Plenty of time to choose anothe plan as yours does seem a bit pants.
  • Also your runs are 8km this week - and next week 12k - that's a 50% increase ? Surely that can't be right ?
  • Forgive me, maybe I only supplied a little for the available information.

    Last weeks training was:

    Week 1

    Mon:  Rest

    Tues:  5km  6,30/km

    Wed:  8km  7.56/km

    Thu:  Rest

    Fri:  5km 7.22/km

    Sat:  8 km 7.13/km

    Sun:  Rest

    Week 2

    Mon:  Rest

    Tues:  5 km  7.56/km

    Wed:  8 km  6.48/km

    Thu: Rest

    Fri: 8 km  7.22/km

    Sat:  Rest

    Sun:  6.48

    The plan is based on the fact I am not a novice runner and 8km is a simple distance presently. 

  • I have only recently started running abt 15 Km regular. Any run longer than 10k I have started to take water with me but that is it. I am sure elite runners train so much and so hard it is difficult to put the necesaries back in to the body so I understand them using it. For the rest of us I am not so sure. 

    If you try them then please post back and let me know how it goes.

  • Steve - the body has enough stored energy for running 15 miles or so. 

    Once you hit those kind of distances - you may need extra calories. Gels are an expensive way to take those on, but handy for racing. 


    Chris - as I see it - you're just ticking over at the moment ? So 8k isnt a stretch for you at all ? And next week the plan has you running 12k runs rather than 8k ? That still seems a bit of a jump. Why have 2 weeks at 8k and then jump ? Surely 8k, 10k, 12k would ease you in better ? 

  • Chris,

    In terms of Gels, I would agree with Cougie; you don't really need them until 15/16miles.  What you do need to do though is try the different ones out to see what suits you best for taste and the ability to keep them down...

    For training plans, I used the Hal Higdon Marathon 3 for Manchester last year.  I struggle to get out more than 3 times a week but still managed a PB on this one (4.05), so it does suit the relative novice (Manchester was my 4th)

  • Hi chris,

    Birdy and cougie are spot on. Once you have got to 15/16 miles then take on some gels. I have found sis to be good - they are water based so do not make you gag unlike the thick lucozade types. Maximuscle do a couple - viper is pretty good and loaded with caffeine to pick you up. If you want an alternative pick up whilst running try chocolate covered espresso beans- they are great...

    Best of luck!
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