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CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (72,349)
Fitness Minutes: (127,190)
Posts: 790
6/6/13 9:20 P

General tip: If your main concern about gels is the cost and you're looking at doing a lot of distance running in the future, you can actually buy them in bulk sizes to save on cost. I get a 645 mL bottle of hammer gel for about $30, which works out to about half the cost of the same amount in individual packets (I find it easier to handle during a race, too. I have a small bottle that clips on my belt rather than fussing with packets). It's harder to find, but if you search online for your gel of choice, you can see if it's offered. I get mine from a specialty triathlon store.

The best thing to do is try different options on your training runs. Try some inexpensive candy, like jelly beans or gummy bears (I carry peanut M&M's as my secret back-up fuel during races) or the tabs. Try the gels to compare how well they work. This is the time in your training when you want to get your nutrition hammered out so you're not facing any surprises on race day.

One tip - I would look at taking some nutrition a little earlier than an hour in. It takes about 15 minutes to kick in, so it's not a bad idea to aim about 15-20 minutes before you think you'll need it.

Edited by: CHRISTINA791 at: 6/6/2013 (21:22)
MRSTIGHTWAD SparkPoints: (1,172)
Fitness Minutes: (2,769)
Posts: 80
6/6/13 8:35 P

Glucose tabs are a quick fix for diabetics. They are not meant to have a long-term effect and your body will burn through them quicker than you think. They are meant only to give a person a glucose boost long enough to be able to get proper food into the system to keep their blood sugar stable in the normal range.

I don't know how long you have been running for, but what concerns me more is that you are upping your distance by a mile a week. If you're not careful, you could be setting yourself up for an overuse injury of the knees. Been there....done that....and the down-time hurt me more than if I had trained properly for the 5k run, which I ultimately ended up not being able to take part in.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,457
6/6/13 7:40 P


It depends a bit on the conditions - if you are running in cool conditions and not sweating all that much, fluid requirements and electrolyte replacement may not be a huge issue.

But in hot/humid conditions, where you are sweating a lot, I totally agree with you.

It is really water consumption that you should be tying electrolytes to, not glucose. Sometimes these go hand-in-hand, sometimes not.


6/6/13 12:27 P

Diabetic tabs are intended for instant absorption, since diabetics can die if their blood glucose isn't raised quickly. I don't see a problem with using them during a run.

With that said, glucose should ideally be taken with some sodium and potassium, to replace what you lose through sweating (according to the American College of Sports Medicine). Powdered Pedialyte gives the ideal ratios of glucose & electrolytes, but if that's too costly, just bring a packet of table salt with you. :-)

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,917
6/6/13 6:49 A

M@L- thanks for that clarification. I should have been more specific in my post below.

Coach Jen

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (199,987)
Fitness Minutes: (195,365)
Posts: 15,864
6/5/13 8:37 P

I eat candy when training and gels only on race day (however, in the past I have trained with gels so I know which brands I like)

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,457
6/5/13 7:40 P


For long distance races (eg. half/full marathons), where runners are at risk of depleting their gylcogen reserves, what you are really looking for is simple carbs that are easy to digest, and will start releasing energy into the bloodstream in as little as 20 minutes.

Bananas are mid-range in the gylcemic index (mix of simple and complex carbs), and protein bars take hours to digest.

Both have considerable merits in terms of supporting exercise in general, but in the specific context of the original posters question about topping up their tank mid-race, gummy bears and the like are probably a better solution to that specific problem.

To the original poster - can you do some digging and find out what the glycemic index of the tabs is? You should be looking for something above 70 for your purposes.


SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,917
6/5/13 6:53 P

Honestly, I've never heard of using those during a race. I'm not sure how fast-acting they are, but I'd try some of the other suggestions below first.

Coach Jen

BARBANNA SparkPoints: (108,384)
Fitness Minutes: (85,068)
Posts: 3,415
6/5/13 6:09 P

Eat bananas or high protein bars.

SUSAN_FOSTER Posts: 1,229
6/5/13 6:04 P

I'm not sure about tabs, but other options I've seen are candies (jelly beans, gummy bears, licorice), or even dried fruit (figs).

RNORMAN75 Posts: 283
6/5/13 3:31 P

I'm training for a half marathon by increasing my long run by a mile each week. Gotta run 9 this Saturday. Would glucose tabs made for diabetics work for a quick pick me up at around the hour mark? They are much cheaper than gels and gummies made for runners.

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