To Gu or not to Gu?

So I’m flipping through Runner’s World last night, and I come upon the following question in the nutrition Q&A: “Do I need an energy gel or some form of carbohydrate during a half-marathon?”

In my head, I was saying, “Nooo, silly,” before I even finished the question. Then, I got to the answer:

“It’s a good idea,” writes nutritionist Liz Applegate.


She goes on to write that your body starts using up its glycogen stores after an hour. I’d always heard two hours is the magic number, and I typically slurp down an energy gel about halfway through runs of longer than 15 miles. But for the half?

I have my long run tomorrow to practice whichever strategy I plan to employ on race day, Gu or no Gu. What would you do?


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2 responses to “To Gu or not to Gu?

  1. chelle

    I’d say No Gu For You. Maybe one right before the race (15-30 min). Only based on my own experience. With the half marathons I’ve done, I almost always brought a Gu, and come mile 8 or so would try to force some down (I typically can’t stomach eating Gu until I’ve been going at least 1:10-1:15…) and would end up throwing it out after only one small squeeze. It was more of a nuisance/distraction to me to fumble around with it than anything. I never bonked or slowed down a lot at the end, and you’re probably in better shape than I was for any of mine. Not saying I wouldn’t have done better had I eaten a Mile 7 full Gu – just saying I really didn’t miss having one and felt fine. I’d say anyone planning to take longer than 2 hrs. to run the race should have one. Not you. For what they’re worth, those are my thoughts – hope they help! 🙂 -michelle

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