Are Gels Good For Running

When it comes to fueling for a long run or race, there are many options to consider. One popular choice among runners is energy gels. These small packets of concentrated carbohydrates are designed to provide a quick and easily digestible source of fuel to keep you going during your run. But are gels good for running? As a seasoned runner myself, I have tried my fair share of gels and have some insights to share.

What are energy gels?

Energy gels are typically made up of a combination of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and sometimes caffeine. They come in small, portable packets that are easy to carry during a run. The main purpose of these gels is to replenish your glycogen stores and provide you with a quick burst of energy when you need it most.

Pros of using energy gels

One of the biggest advantages of using energy gels is their convenience. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, making them a popular choice among long-distance runners. Unlike other fueling options like bars or solid food, gels can be consumed quickly and without the need for much chewing. This can be especially beneficial during a race when you’re on the go and don’t want to slow down.

Energy gels also provide a concentrated source of carbohydrates, which can be beneficial for maintaining energy levels during long runs. These carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and converted into glycogen, which is then used as fuel by your muscles. This can help prevent the dreaded “bonk” or hitting the wall during a race.

Cons of using energy gels

While energy gels can provide a quick source of energy, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some runners may find that gels upset their stomach or cause gastrointestinal distress. This can be due to the high sugar content or the specific ingredients used in the gel. It’s important to experiment with different brands and flavors to find one that works best for you.

Another downside of energy gels is their taste and texture. Let’s be honest, most gels aren’t the most appetizing. They can have a thick, sticky consistency that may be difficult to swallow, especially during intense exercise. However, with so many brands and flavors available, you’re bound to find one that you can tolerate.

Personal recommendations

As a runner who has experimented with various fueling options, including energy gels, I have found that they can be a valuable tool during long runs and races. I typically consume an energy gel every 45 minutes to an hour during my runs to maintain my energy levels. My personal favorite brand is XYZ Gel, as they have a wide range of flavors to choose from, and their gels are easy on my stomach.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you. It’s crucial to listen to your body and experiment with different fueling strategies during your training runs to see what works best for you.


In conclusion, energy gels can be a valuable tool for runners looking for a quick and easily digestible source of fuel during long runs or races. They offer convenience, a concentrated source of carbohydrates, and can help prevent bonking. However, they may not be suitable for everyone, as some runners may experience stomach issues or dislike the taste and texture of gels. It’s important to experiment with different brands and flavors to find what works best for you. Remember, fueling is a personal choice, and what works for one runner may not work for another. Happy running!