There was a radical change from the time I ran cross country and track in high school, to now.

Well, I guess a few.  When I ran around my neighborhood for fun runs in high school, I ran with a walkman.  Today I run with an iPod.

But besides that.

ENERGY GELS!

I came across the concept of energy gels in a Runner’s World magazine before my first half marathon.

I went to my local supermarket and picked up some Gatorade Strawberry flavored gel cubes.

As directed, at the start line of my half marathon, I peeked around at other runners and ate a couple.

I felt like I was being BAD!  Like I was cheating!   The gels were clearly designed for the purpose of distance running and marketed for such events.  I had never used them before.  Were they frowned upon in the running community?

So, I stood at the start line.  I hid them in my hand.  I put them in my mouth one at a time when I felt no one was looking.

A few miles down the road, the race crew were handing them out to the runners.  Energy gels were approved and supported!

Ever have an energy gel?  They are filled with carbohydrates to help give energy to endurance athletes who will be using all their energy stores.  They help replenish your body’s energy from what you use.  In one respect, they are the equivalent of drinking Gatorade – but instead you are eating it.  They can be taken at the beginning of your event and then every 30-45 minutes into your event.  I find they really are helpful!

They have all sorts of energy gels out there.  I prefer the cubed chewies WITHOUT caffeine.  The caffeine will keep me up for hours after an event, when I really need to be stretching and resting.

During races, the race crew usually hand out the GU Energy Gels, found here.  You don’t chew this one.  You open the top and squeeze the gel in your mouth.  I find them hard to get down, and my stomach of steel is SO tested by the vanilla flavored gel, that I can’t eat that one.  Overall though – the gels rock!

I carry the gels with me every race now.  You can always tell where I am in a race picture by the amount of gels in my hand.  Here I am, running a marathon.  The picture was taken at mile 4 – I have LOTS of gels to go!

 

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26646199@N05/15405216316″>Day 235</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

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