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Since the first marathon was held in ancient Greece, people have worked on ways to provide their bodies with a little bit of extra energy. Since then, the technology behind exercise supplements evolved, and now, we have the best gels for running a marathon.
Running gels are a vital part of the long-distance runner’s life. In this article, we’re going to explore how they work, how many different types of gels are out there, and which type is going to suit you best. You’re also going to find a list of top ten energy gels that you can get on Amazon right from the comfort of your own home.
Why Gels Are Important During Long Runs
To understand why the best gels for running a marathon are synonymous with a good marathon run, we have to go over what energy gels are. An energy gel is a sports supplement that provides your body with the necessary carbohydrates used to feed your muscles in the long run – quite literally.
You might ask yourself why you need a gel to provide you with carbohydrates if your body already has carbohydrates stored in muscles, known as glycogen. Our muscles have a limited amount of glycogen, that could last us about half a marathon.
That’s why you need an energy gel. The gel replenishes your glycogen storages and allows you to run for longer lengths. It’s first absorbed into your bloodstream, then absorbed by active muscles and organs. Professional runners prefer using energy gels as opposed to other energy replenishing products.
It’s essential to take the gel before you develop a need for it, as the time before the first effect kicks in differs from individual to individual. Someone will feel that the gel hits within 3 minutes, yet it can take up to 15 minutes.
You must experiment a bit with the best gels for running a marathon. You should practice with an energy gel to get used to it and to find out which one best fits your needs. Different types of gels serve different purposes, all of which will be discussed below.
Types of Gels
There are three types of best gels for running a marathon. Those three differ in features when compared to one another. Yet, all of them are used for the same purpose. Learning about the effects all special gels have on your system will help you choose the best option.
Isotonic gels have a similar concentration of salts, water, and carbohydrate as our blood. Isotonic means the source of carbohydrates, and its purpose is to refill your organism with carbs that you lost while sweating.
Isotonic gels require more energy to get across the gut wall, so the electrolyte and energy release is slowed down. Some of these might make you a little sick in your stomach. If this is the case, try diluting the supplement in water. Mixing with water is often not recommended because it lowers down the level of energy you are going to get, but it could be of help to those with a quaky stomach.
Some of us went through the trauma of consuming supplements or healthy drinks that taste awful. With running gels, it’s usually not much different. They are available in many different flavors, so it makes swallowing them much, much more manageable.
Hypotonic gels have a lower concentration of fluid sugar and salt than our blood. They are best used for rehydration because they have a smaller percentage of carbohydrates and salts in the blood. That makes it easier for the supplement to enter your bloodstream.
Hypotonics’ primary focus is rehydration, so if you are going for a long run, mix it with other energetic supplements. They are far more preferable for the short workout sessions. You will also gather more strength because they enter the bloodstream and your system faster, giving a slight boost to push your limits.
Hypotonic products, and Isotonic or Hypertonic, vary depending on the brand of your choice.
They are best used for recovering strength because they boost your body with extra doses of carbohydrates, sugars, and salts. As you probably concluded, Hypertonics have more fluid, sugars, and salts than your organism.
Sometimes they contain added protein. That is superb because proteins are some of the best supplements around. They’re the building blocks of muscles, and muscles are essential when it comes to running and endurance – making them the biggest energy boosters of the mentioned groups.
Factors to Consider When Picking a Running Gel
When you’re picking the best gels for running a marathon on the market, you want to get those who will fulfill some essential requirements. A good energy gel should have:
When you’re running a marathon, you want the effect to be as instant as possible. That is why the best energy gels on the market come with an unparalleled absorption rate, which will keep you running like a well-oiled machine.
Filling you up with energy during your run, the best energy gels on the market don’t cease to amaze. Since absorption rates and energy input are two of the essential things in an energy gel, the technology behind creating such a supplement is continuously improving – and absorption rates are only going up.
Let’s face it, that gorgeous chocolate-flavored protein powder tastes nothing like the real thing, and a bad taste can be a real put off.
But, technology has evolved since the olden days, and now, these best energy gels taste fantastic. When you’re picking out an excellent energy gel option, you want it to feel like something you love. Just don’t experiment too much – since exotic flavors of supplements taste nothing like the real thing.
Carbs, proteins, and fats might be the most popular macronutrients around, but they all have their subcategories. The essential types of carbs are fibers. Fibers are crucial if you’re looking for longevity, improving your stomach health, and long-lasting effects.
The best energy gel on the market should be jam-packed with different fibers, which will ensure that your energizing effect lasts for the entire duration of the marathon. Gold medal, here we come.
There has been a lot of talking lately about the way we consume our daily nutrients. One of the most shocking things around is that most of our food comes jam-packed with artificial nutrients, empty calories, and more artificial than organic matters.
That is why the best supplements on the market are entirely organic. While organic products might cost a little more when compared to the artificial stuff, they’re miles ahead of the competition when it comes to health benefits – which is essential in energy gels for runners.
Top 10 Gels for Marathon Running on Amazon
After conducting thorough research, we’ve come up with ten of the best gels for running a marathon available on Amazon. These are all equally worth it – it’s just a matter of taste. Below, you’re going to find a short review of every single one of these products and find out what makes them so great.
We tested them and wrote down our impressions for each of them. The short review includes their taste, texture, the practicality of the package, how fast they kick in, and some critical insider insight into the products themselves.
GU Energy Gel
The GU Gel comes in many different forms and flavors. The ratio between the ingredients varies depending on the chosen taste – and there are many different flavors, such as:
- Chocolate Outrage
- Salted Caramel
- Vanilla Bean
- Jet Blackberry
- Strawberry Banana
This great gel comes with a handy portable packet of 100 proteins and essential electrolytes made to help athletes hit their maximum capacity. Long-distance runs definitely won’t be a problem for you.
They taste a little intense, and the liquid has an unusual texture, so it might not fit everyone’s pallet equally. If you’re into potent fruity tasting supplements, this one is definitely for you. A good thing about them is that they don’t leave a bad aftertaste, and the aftertaste lasts for a short time.
Dropping a cup of coffee in the middle of the race sounds strange and funny, yet with the Clif Shot-Energy-Double-Espresso, it doesn’t seem so impossible. If you are a coffee enthusiast, this is the right choice for you.
It doesn’t only taste like coffee – it has all the beneficial properties of it. When you consume this product, you’re bound to experience an energy rush like never before, as this is one of the faster absorbing supplements.
On the other hand, if you aren’t used to the taste of coffee and sudden kicks of energy – you might want to consider one of the other options on this list. Just like the other additions on this list, the Cliff Shot comes in convenient packaging, making it ideal for on-the-go consumption.
SIS Isotonic Energy Gel
The gorgeously tasting SIS Isotonic Energy Gel is one of the best supplements on this list and is bound to replenish any lost carbs promptly. Although the package is bigger than the other additions on this list, its shape enables you to carry many of them at the time and is very practical to consume.
Having surprisingly tasty flavors gives you joy while stopping for a breather during a lengthy marathon. A good thing about this gel is its long-lasting effect. It’s an isotonic gel, meaning that its effect lasts a little bit longer than the other options. The relatively quick absorption rate only compliments the long-term impact.
Spring Energy Gel – Canaberry
The Spring Energy Gel is devised and made by expert nutritionists to be easy on the gut, making your energy replenishing endeavor that much more pleasant. Its balanced compositions of carbohydrates provide your organism with organic fuel.
The vegan-friendly, 100 percent organic energy gel with various flavors delivers power to athletes helping them reach their full potential. Having a little spicy taste makes it a little difficult to swallow for some – but the texture is palatable for anyone.
Gold Energy Gel
Made out of real honey, rich with vitamins and electrolytes, 29 grams of carbohydrates, the Gold Energy Gel gives a sweet dose of energy in a small and practical package. We can’t stress the practicality of the packaging enough, as it does make a difference during long runs.
The energetic properties aren’t much different from the Spring Energy Gel that we mentioned before – yet the taste is much different. The Gold Energy Gel offers you a supple, delicious honey taste, making it great for honey enthusiasts. If you’re allergic to honey or pollen, this might not be the ideal product for you.
Featuring an excellent 2:1 ratio of glucose and glycerin makes the PowerBar PowerGel a real energy bomb. It is designed for highly intensive exercising and a sure way to surpass yourself every day.
This supplement features an easy-to-open package and a vegan-friendly power gel option. It’s sure to make the product consumption a pleasurable endeavor. Even if the properties of these products are outstanding, the taste is a minor setback. It has 41 grams of spicy tasting energy, combined with 50 grams of caffeine.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a great tasting supplement for its amazing energy-giving properties, you’re going to love the PowerBar PowerGel.
PacificHealth Accel Gel
The PacificHealth Accel Gel is an absolute energy bomb with its patented 4:1 carbonate and protein ratio formula. Maximizing energy transport to the muscles increases your performance, endurance, and longevity in a long marathon race.
It is suggested to take a 45 minutes lapse during the marathon, which is an ideal time to consume this product. The 4:1 carb to protein ratio increases endurance by 15% and reduces the chance of exercise-related muscle injuries by 50%. The supplement is natural, with a supple texture and exquisite taste.
The aftertaste isn’t as supple or pleasant as the taste, but the energy replenishing properties are certainly a great trade-off.
PowerBar PowerGel Shots
PowerBar PowerGel Shots are a scientifically developed dual-source carbonate mix. This supplement is designed for breaking records and pushing the limits of your athletic performance. It will ensure that your body gets all the required energetic values it needs to maintain optimal energy levels.
Available in multiple flavors made without added additives and characters, this product is wholly vegan-friendly and gluten-free. It comes with a practically designed package, small and easy to transport, yet so full of energy.
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel
Honey has low glycerin properties, which are scientifically proven to increase the productivity of exercising through a sustained energy boost. The Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel is made mostly out of honey, making it one of the healthiest and most natural energy replenishing gels on the market.
The Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel has a USDA certificate behind its product – meaning that the USDA guarantees that this is a 100 percent gluten-free and organic energy gel. This gel is made out of organic honey and organic Topacia syrup. All that energy and taste are placed in a carefully designed pack – optimized for those who are frequent runners.
Glukos Energy Glucose Energy Gel
The Glukos Energy Glucose Energy Gel is almost entirely made out of glucose, making it an ideal energy replenishing option. This energy gel is solid, hitting you twice as fast as a standard energy gel, and provides your organism with a double dose of energetic values.
This energy gel is gluten-free, soy-free, and 100% vegan friendly. The Glukos Energy Glucose Energy Gel is free of artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and includes no artificial preservatives.
Consuming the best gels for running a marathon is an essential part of every marathon, and your choice of supplements is vital to your health as well as your athletic performance. The gels are not the only energy boost available, but they’re by far the most practical way to replenish your carbs and energy.
Remember to take note of the allergens they have, as some of these products contain allergens such as honey. Remember not to take more than the recommended amount.
These energy gels provide quite an energy surge in your organism, and kicking up your energy by too much could lead to some severe problems.
Think of the best gels for running a marathon like energy drinks – it’s safe to consume one, but taking too much of it could cut your training day short.