Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of how energy gels work and how to properly strategize a marathon or half marathon nutrition plan, we’ll cover some practical tips that can help you execute on race day.
1. How to take energy gels if you have stomach problems:
Like we’ve discussed, it’s possible that your stomach might shut down during the latter half of the race. If this happens to you and you’ve been unable to take energy gels late in the race, try eating only a small portion of the gel, but in closer intervals. For example, eat 1/4 of the packet every 20 minutes. You’ll still consume the energy you need, but you’ll give your stomach a better chance to properly digest without getting sick.
2. Always take energy gels with water.
Always take energy gels with water, never alone and never with a sports drink. Without water, energy gels will take longer to digest and enter the blood stream. If you take an energy gel with a sports drink, you run the risk of ingesting too much simple sugar at once. Taken together, a gel and sports drink could be delivering close to 60 grams of pure sugar — yack!