DIY Energy Gels
Since I started training for my very fist half marathon, I've been reading on how to nutritionally support my body during these long runs. In my last post, I mentioned using energy gels during long runs to help replenish your energy stores. So why do we need sport gels and can we actually make them at home?
Your body relies mainly on carbohydrates as a source of fuel during long distance runs. However, your muscles have only a limited storage for carbohydrates. Energy gels are carbohydrate supplements that help refuel your body. They contain mainly carbohydrate, as well as potassium and sodium. These are the nutrients that need to be replenished on longer runs/activities. It is important to replenish your stores before they are totally depleted. So if you are an elite athlete, you probably don’t need a gel for a half marathon, but you will, during a full marathon. If you’re a beginner (like me) to half marathons and the runs usually take you longer than 90 minutes to complete, it would be best to take one gel half way through your run. For a full marathon, you would probably need 2 gels spaced out evenly, roughly 45-60 minutes apart. It’s important not to take them closely to one another, because you don’t want to overload your stomach while running. Make sure to practice your fuelling strategy during your training days, so there won't be any surprises on race day.
So how can we make this at home?
Again, as the number one rule, try this recipe on your training days to make sure it works for you. An upset stomach is the last thing a runner wants on race day. So here's the recipe I tried and liked (recipe from lululemon):
Pomegranate Lime (makes 2 x 45g servings)
- 8 dates (pitted) and soaked in warm water for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight)
- 1 tsp coconut oil (unrefined)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (unrefined), or raw honey
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 2 tbsp pure pomegranate juice
- 2 tsp lime juice
- Blend the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth
- Store in 50g/small zip seal bags. If you’re not using food grade, double bag to avoid punctures.