GU Gel - The Facts for Runners

During the last couple of miles of my second marathon when I was running on empty I took the risk of trying the energy GU gel that the aid stations were handing out. I had never taken the gel before and had no idea what the effects of it would be on me. Some risks pay off though and this was one that did.

After squeezing the liquid, globby GU in my mouth I continued to run and it wasn’t until about five minutes later that I felt the effects of the energy gel. My knees began to feel as if there were five pound bricks sewn in each knee cap and it took a lot of effort to keep pulling my legs up and forward.

About seven minutes later though, I received my second wind and a surge of energy. Nothing could stop me and at mile 22 I felt as fresh as I had at the starting line. This was a huge a payoff since I had been scraping the bucket for the last couple of miles and didn’t know how I’d be able to finish the marathon strong. GU did its job though and pulled me through to mile 26!

However it did suck the life out of my legs for a couple of minutes maybe because my body wasn’t used to the substance and the effects that it was supposed to have on the body. This is a prime example of why you should only eat, drink and do through the marathon what you have done throughout your training because you can never knew how something will affect your running unless you have trained with it. GU gel helped me cross that finish line but I wish I had trained with GU and felt more comfortable with taking it during the race.

Again though, it is all about knowing what works for you and ultimately you are the best judge of what works and doesn’t work for you.

What Exactly is GU Gel?

GU gel is a thick liquid source of energy that has become very popular in endurance sports. It is designed to keep you mentally sharp and your muscles active.

This energy gel is composed of simple and complex carbohydrates, caffeine and electrolytes which help to keep your energy supplies up. The complex carbs also serve to reduce acid build up in your muscles, a common problem in endurance activities, which slow you down and reduce the speed at which you can keep your body going.

A huge bonus when it comes to GU is how quickly it restores your energy without causing cramps or stomachaches.

When to Use GU Gel

The energy gel is formulated for endurance type activities (30 minutes – hour) and can be used in training, workouts and races. It comes in a variety of flavors including mint chocolate and mandarin orange.

Taking GU about 15 minutes before you exercise will increase you energy during the workout. Taking GU after 35 minutes of exercising will help to maintain your levels of energy and finishing off your cool down with a GU packet will help replenish depleted glycogen stores in your muscles.

It is a good idea to use and experiment with GU while training for a marathon especially on your long runs. It is an excellent energy booster and if you learn how it affects you and your body you will have found a great supplement of energy!


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