29 facts about energy gels

Think you know everything (or nothing) about running gels? Here’s a random list of 29 facts about running energy gels.

  1. Running gels are portable and convenient energy sources designed specifically for endurance athletes. Yep, if you run, you’re an athlete too!
  2. Gels can provide a mental boost during a race, as the act of consuming them can be psychologically uplifting.
  3. Gels are formulated with a high concentration of carbohydrates, typically in the form of maltodextrin or glucose polymers, to provide quick energy.
  4. They often contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium to help maintain hydration and replace electrolytes lost through sweat.
  5. Running gels come in various flavours, ranging from fruity to chocolatey, to cater to different taste preferences.
  6. Most gels have a texture similar to thick syrup, making them easy to consume on the go without the need for chewing.
  7. They are packaged in lightweight, tearable pouches, which can be easily opened during a run.
  8. Some gels contain caffeine, which can provide an extra energy boost and enhance mental focus during long runs.
  9. Gels are commonly used during endurance events such as marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons.
  10. Gels should be consumed before hitting a point of exhaustion to prevent a sudden energy crash.
  11. Running gels are not suitable for everyone and may cause gastrointestinal distress in some individuals.
  12. It’s essential to test different gel brands and flavors during training to find what works best for your body. Popular brands include SIS, High5, and GU.
  13. Gels should be consumed strategically during a race or long run to avoid energy crashes or spikes in blood sugar levels.
  14. The recommended consumption rate for gels is typically one gel every 45 minutes to an hour, depending on personal needs and intensity.
  15. Gels should be stored in a cool place to maintain their consistency and prevent spoilage.
  16. Gel consistency can vary based on temperature, with some gels becoming thicker in colder weather.
  17. Some running gels contain added protein to support muscle recovery during extended workouts.
  18. The carbohydrate content in gels is measured in grams, and it’s crucial to consider personal carbohydrate needs when choosing gels.
  19. Running gels are not a replacement for balanced meals and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet.
  20. Gels are not limited to runners; they can also be used by cyclists, hikers, and other endurance athletes.
  21. Running gels can help prevent muscle fatigue by providing a constant source of energy during prolonged activity.
  22. Some brands of gel just won’t agree with you, so find one you like.
  23. Gels should be consumed with caution if you have a sensitive stomach or digestive issues.
  24. Gels with a higher carbohydrate concentration may require water intake to aid in digestion and prevent dehydration.
  25. Running gels can be purchased easily online, so stock up before you start your training block.
  26. Some gels are marketed as “natural” or “organic,” offering ingredients sourced from organic farming practices.
  27. Running gels can be used as a quick source of energy during shorter, intense workouts.
  28. Gels are not a substitute for proper hydration, so it’s important to drink water or electrolyte beverages alongside them.
  29. If you’re running a long race such as an ultra marathon then you will get a little sick of the taste of gels, so mix it up with other snacks such as crisps which give a lovely salty savoury change to sweeter gels.
Adem Djemil
I only started running at the age of 37, completing the Couch to 5k course, and since then I've been hooked, running 4 times a week and even completing several marathons and an ultra!