Marathon training- gels and sports drinks

Hello, I am running my first marathon- Brighton. I want to get used to gels. should/ when should I take gels during long runs? Tomorrow I am doing 13 miles on a steady training run.


Are the gels/ sports drinks that marathon organisers provide enough? Or should I bring my own?


Thank you


  • I would think that Brighton would be fairly well stocked and unless you are very unlucky then you wont have to carry your own, some people will carry say one or two gels in case they run out (if they supply them) but you shouldnt need to carry any fluid or anything

    If you have not tried gels before then I would probably try one in the last 30 mins or so of your run tomorrow and see how you go and then increase to may be 2 in a 13 mile run dependant of course on how quick you run

  • If you can find out what gels they will be giving out in the race itself , try those.  gels are not all the same, one brand might be ok while another can have you puking at the side of the road.

  • Interesting..I've just bought a load of gels for use at Brighton.  I'll be doing 16 tomorrow, so I was planning on trying a couple tomorrow.  It hadn't occurred to me that the organizers/sponsors might supply them.

  • Some do and some dont Poo ... you need to check whats on offer

  • I've just had a look on the website, looks like Gatorade.

  • I think Im correct in saying its sponsored by Gatorade and I think the fuel stops will be water and Gatorade alternating but that could be a drink and not a gel.

    As above, you could try your own or get those that may be on offer.  I use SIS in any case and have got used to wearing a belt and carrying a bottle as the water and gel stops on race day can be carnage.  

    Certainly get used to them in training. Learning to tear them and eat on the move is an art ! I read a while ago, every half hour ish. Take a spare one every run.

  • The website indicates that Gatorade fuel, which I assume with include gels or similar, will be available at 15 and 21 miles.

  • Yep. Gatorade drink looks to alternate (ish) with the water. 

    what gels you using Lou D? Any strategy to when you'll take OR not tried before and gonna see what happens? 

  • yes Gatorade for Brighton! I can pretty much eat anything and it doesn't bother my stomach but will try get some practice with Gatorade before the race.

    Thanks for info all. Going to try one in the last few miles tomorrow.

  • Last marathon I took a gel every 5k - 32ish minutes... Yes I'm slow so had to carry a lot and took them from 5 to 35k felt a lot better and stronger than I had before at the end, overkill yes, but I felt good and not drained 19m PB and if I didn't have a pulled muscle could happily have ran the next day as not drained. 

    yes it seems overkill but having a gel or two seems pointless either go the whole hog with them to keep your energy levels as high as possible or use something else. One or two when you have already run out of energy doesn't seem to achieve much. 


  • I always take my own gel - then I don't need to collect any - it's a lot of time to invest in training for a marathon so saving a couple of quid on gels doesn't make sense.

    I have them at every 5 miles in a race. It's easy to work out multiples of 5.

    In training - once you know you can cope with the gels - you don't need them on every run - just the long ones.
  • I use high 5 ISOplus caffeine ones as I can take them without water, I know I am ok with them so don't bother in training runs even 18-20 but in last marathon and from now on will use in races. Got a pack of 24 cheapish from wiggle. 

  • I was intending to carry my own and take one every 5 miles. I've never tried them before, but I've bought a load of Torq gels, just because the flavours sounded more appealing (I've Gone for rhubarb and custard and black cherry yoghurt). I think they can be taken without water.

    My plan is to try a couple today then maybe one during my HM in march, but not use them for training.
  • Lou How did it go?


  • Take your own.


    The ones they use might not agree with you. The stands might be busy/crowded. They might have run out by the time you get there. There might not be gels available at the distances you want. You might miss your goal time because some fanny in front of you takes to long at the stall. The water/drinks stands tend to be pretty crowded/hectic as well. Seen more falls/accidents at drink stands with people being in a rush/panicking than anywhere else!


    Why take the risk? Could just add stress to your race/another thing that could go wrong.

  • Take your own.

    The first time you have them, wait until the last couple of miles, incase whatever brand you try doesn't agree with you.

    Don't get used to taking them on all your long runs though, (especially if you're looking to loose weight as one of your reasons for runing) as you will end up depending on them too much. Maybe use them in 1 in 3 long runs so you get used to having & know when and how to have them.

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