Nutrition is critical during a race, and energy gels are one of the best nutrition sources. The challenge is how to best carry the gels! There are several good ways, but one VERY BAD way to carry your energy gels. I explore a few of these methods in this 5-minute warmup.
Let’s get started how to carry energy gels during the race during the race, like a marathon, a long distance event. There are many correct ways.
But there is one very incorrect way. So the worst way that I think, by the way, this is a topic that I have overthink way too many times preparing for a race, how am I going to carry my energy bills Am I going to have enough nutrition, all important topics, but I spend a lot of time just obsessing over how am I going to carry these things.
And over time, I found a couple of ways that I’ve worked for me, and a couple of ways that do not work. So I will share that in the hopes that maybe this will save someone a couple hours thinking about it for a race. So the way you don’t want to carry them is a lot of times pants nowadays. And I’m picking traditional running shorts, not the tights, they have pockets in the back, maybe two of them. And you can put things in these pockets. The reason you want to be careful putting energy gels in there during races that they’re going to balance. Anytime you have more than one in there. Even when you have one, you’re going to have a massive balance and it’s going to be very, very annoying over hours of racing. So keep that in mind. I know now they have some tights, some racing tights, where you can slide them in on the side that you see in triathlon or even coming into running, it’s probably different story there, you can slip them in there. But if you’re wearing the traditional racing short, like a lot of people are, don’t put them in your pockets, it’s going to bounce way too much. And it’s going to be extremely annoying.
That being said, there are a couple right ways that I have seen that work well. In old school way that I’ve used many times is to take safety pins, and pin the gel packets on your waistband, kind of right over the back side of your hip. So if your if your hip was o’clock and 12 o’clock was their very front where the quadricep is, and six o’clock is where the back of the button is. If you pin them around four to five o’clock on the waistline, it’s a great place to put them, you can carry six to eight gels equally spaced on each side along that waistband. And the reason you want to put them on the back is that they’re not going to interfere with your leg stroking the front when you move your leg forward. And they just they ride really well back there. And when you’re ready to have them, you simply reach back, you pull one off, either it rips the top off in the safety pin and tab stays in place. That’s perfect scenario, or the safety pin comes off with it, you simply kind of just take the top off and everything goes into the trash can at the race. That’s a really nice way I’ve used so many times, and I think it works really well. There are more. And by the way, that’s a solution you can use. If you forget all your gear, right, all you need to do is get safety pins from the race Expo from the the the pharmacy across the street for the race, like if you forget everything you can always pin your gels to your shore can be perfectly fine.
Option number two ways you can carry them in your hand, I think this is less ideal. I’ve seen many people do it. The reason it doesn’t work for me is that I feel like one you are using energy holding them in your hands precious energy that you may need. The last couple miles of the race Be it always seems to me that my energy my hands warms up the gels and when I eat them, they’re much more liquidity than I’m used to taking. And I don’t like that texture of them doesn’t sit as well with me. So that’s the other reason why I don’t like the hand idea. But mainly because you are using energy, you want to keep kind of loose hands throughout the whole race to save energy. So I wouldn’t recommend that.
The third option is a lot of times these fall races are colder. And so you see people wearing these arm sleeves which are basically like a long sleeve shirt that goes through your wrist, kind of your upper tricep, but it’s opened by the armpit for circulation. You can tuck four or five gels in the top of those things on the bottom have no problem. This way you’re carrying them as if you’re carrying them in your hand on the top with the band is but you’re not expending any energy. They’re just sitting right in there. I think that’s a really effective way that’s sort of like when you have them into tights on the side of your shore. This is kind of like putting tights on your arms. It’s a very effective way I’ve seen people do it, using myself as well. works great.
And then the final way that I think a lot of people do Especially people that carry their phone during the race, which I don’t recommend, but if you do understand is that you get those little pouches, right. It’s these pouches that I have one of them that I wear. There’s many different manufacturers, you can get them off the internet. Amplified Nathan, you know, whatever, there’s a bunch out there.
zipper pouch waterproof, wraps around your waist, it can expand to carry things, you can easily put your gels in there. When you’re ready, you simply turn the pouch around, pull the gel out and put it back. Great solution because like the first option rides at your waistline in the back. So the bulk is there, does it interfere your stride? It’s very convenient to get to. There’s not much risk of them falling off with the safety pin option. And number one, there is a risk that they could fall off when you’re bouncing in a race. It’s just a really good solid option to have. But it does require you to go out and buy a waistband. But if you already have it, it’s something that I would recommend.
No matter what at the end of the day, I would say you can overthink hearing your gels no question. The best way to prevent overthinking hydrogen carrier gels on race day is the practice during training. How are you going to carry your gel so you don’t have to think about it. The week leading up to the race you already know. You know how you’re going to carry them. You know how many you’re going to take. You know when you’re going to take them you know what they taste like. And your stomach knows how to process them and digest them for energy.
Best wishes chasing your running goals.