There are many different approaches to consuming carbohydrates during endurance activities such as running. For runs lasting one hour or less a snack or meal containing carbohydrates beforehand should supply enough energy to power you through. When you are running for longer than one hour it is time to start thinking about fueling during the run. It is recommended to take in 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour for these runs. This includes half marathons, 20k’s, marathons as well as the longer training runs you complete to prepare for these races. If you are running distances longer than a marathon - like an ultra -  you will want to aim for an intake of 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

Convenience, nutrient content, and taste must be taken into consideration when creating a nutrition plan for your runs. For example, a banana has an ideal nutrient content for a long run but it is not the most convenient food to carry with you mile after mile - unless you're playing MarioKart of course. This is where gels come in! Popular gel brands like GU and Honey Stinger (both of which are available right here at Heartland Soles!) have created products that can easily be tucked in the pocket of your running shorts or waist pack to use during runs. One gel packet has 22-25 grams of carbohydrates and would ideally be consumed every 45 minutes with a few gulps of water during a long run. There are also gummy options if you prefer something chewable over a gel. It is important to experiment with these products on training runs throughout your preparation so you know what will work for race day. The last thing you want to be worrying about on race day is how a new nutrition product is going to settle in your stomach halfway in... unless you really love a mid-race visit to the porta-potties!

If you're still wondering whether gels are a good option for you, or you have questions about using them during your runs, send me an email to and we can see what kinds of pre-, during, and post-run nutrition products might work best for you! So... are you ready to gel?

When and How to Use Running Gels

By Stefanie Jensen

During endurance activities lasting longer than one hour your body can start to run low on ATP, or energy. After all, we can't all be the Energizer Bunny! Consuming carbohydrates while running will allow your body to restore the energy being expended. This extra energy will help you run more comfortably for a longer period of time!