For long distance runners, having an effective fuelling strategy can be the difference between surviving the miles and achieving a PB.
Put simply, carbohydrates are the best source of energy for runners. For a runner to reach their performance potential, they need to ensure they are consuming enough carbohydrates to replace lost glucose, once the glycogen stored in their muscles has been depleted.
For many, energy gels provide a simple solution, with carbohydrates delivered in a format that is lightweight and easy to carry.
What’s more, Science in Sport energy gels are both easy to open and consume, and contain sugars that are fast to digest, without the need for water.
But which gel should you use and when? Science in Sports Performance Solutions Team share its top tips for consuming carbohydrates on course.
RUNNING ≤ 90MINS
For shorter races, focus on pre-race nutrition. Take a caffeine gel 30 minutes before the start. This will help provide mental stimulation throughout the race.
Our GO Energy + Caffeine gels provide you with 75mg or 150 mg of caffeine.
RUNNING ≥ 90MINS
For races lasting longer than 2 hours, our Beta Fuel range is the best fuelling option. The aim is to consume 90-120g of carbohydrate per hour by consuming a Beta Fuel Gel every 20-30 minutes.
Before the race, take on 1 Beta Fuel + Nootropics gel to give you pre-race mental stimulation without the ‘jitters’ you may feel when consuming caffeine.
DURING THE RACE
If the race is of high intensity, an isotonic gel at the halfway mark can help top up energy stores quickly without causing GI distress.
Our GO Isotonic Energy Gel is a great, quick source of energy to give you a mid-race boost. If you are racing in warm weather, taking our Go Energy + Electrolyte gel may be a better option to help replace electrolytes lost through sweating whilst also providing you with a source of energy.
20 MIN RULE
For events lasting between 1-2 hours the aim is to consume 60g of carbohydrate per hour. This can be achieved by consuming 1 GO Isotonic gel every 20 minutes.
RACING IN WARM WEATHER
During warm weather, you can lose essential salts through sweating. A GO Energy + Electrolyte Gel can help replace these losses and provide energy.
FINAL 60 MINS
Towards the end of the race, taking on a Beta Fuel + Nootropics gel can help provide you with that extra mental lift you may need when feelings of fatigue may start to kick-in.
Want to know more about running nutrition? SiS Running Nutrition 101 contains more detailed information about the energy, hydration and recovery needs of runners.