Nowadays there are plenty of products that help you store your nutrition when you are running. From over-the-shoulders packs, to waistband bags, to hand-held water bottle straps, all you have to do is visit your local running shop to see a wall full of options! But sometimes you need a more minimal way to store you Gel, especially in a race when every extra ounce of weight counts.
Here are seven suggestions from the pros for ways to carry GU Energy Gel during a race or workout.
1) Let’s Start With the Obvious: Pockets
This one is pretty obvious. But we have to note that GU Energy Gel fits into nearly any pocket. Our Energy Gels can even be squeezed into the “key pocket” that comes with most shorts. The packaging is resilient, so feel free to bend, fold, and squeeze it into that pocket until you need it later. Elastic is your friend, so try to use pockets that are located near the waist band or lower back to keep your Gel packets from bouncing too much.
[Word of Warning: if you squeeze your Gel into your key pocket, maybe think about storing your key somewhere else… our packets are strong, but 10 miles next to a sharp key might cause a GU-plosion.]
2) The Pin is Mightier than the Sword
Using a safety pin to secure your GU is one of the original strategies employed by running veterans when they run out of pocket space. Here’s how you do it:
- Tuck a GU Energy Gel into your shorts, situating the Gel between your outside hip and the waistband of the shorts.
- Distribute the Gel so that two-thirds of the gels sits below the waist-band.
- Fold the top opening tab of the Gel over the top of your shorts’ waistband. (This will further secure the Gel from jostling while you run.)
- Punch the safety pin through top-tab (where there’s no Gel) and secure the safety pin to the outside of your waistband.
- Tighten your waistband to comfort, and you are good to go!
Pro Tip: when you’re ready to GU, leave the top tab pinned to your shorts while you rip open the Gel.
3) The Sports Bra Advantage
The support provided by a sports bra has the added benefit of creating additional storage options for GU Energy Gels. You can tuck a gel into the sides of your bra next to your rib cage or slip an Energy Gel packet under the back of your bra between your shoulder blades.
[Important Warning: If you are prone to chafing, use an anti-chafing product like Body Glide or chamois cream to mitigate skin irritation. And, obviously, don’t eat the Body Glide!]
4) Show Us Those Digits
It might seem obvious, but you can always just hold your Energy Gel. Our packets are actually pretty easy to carry in your hand. However, if you want to give your hand a break, grab a rubber band or hair-tie to help keep the Gel in place.
Manual storage is also a good way to carry Gel in bulk. Alex Varner, a professional trail runner for Nike, likes to put 4-5 Gels into a soft flask and add a dash of water to decrease viscosity. We teamed up with Hydrapak for just this purpose and have designed a GU Energy Flask that holds multiple Gels and features a high-flow nozzle that fits nicely in the palm of your hand.
[Pro Tip: using the 5-Serving Flask means you can take smaller swigs of Energy Gel and even out your fueling.]
5) Elemental Fashion
Feeling the Heat
On sunny days, try using your hat for additional Gel capacity. A wee bit of duct tape can secure your gel on the hat’s brim or on the side of your head. If your hat has a little extra space (like a trucker hat), you can even just put a loose Gel in there before putting the hat on your head!
Pro Tip: if you don’t mind a little hair-gel, your hat can also be a great place to stash your empty Energy Gel packets when you’re on the move!
Chilled to the Core
One urban legend holds that during a race in freezing temperatures, a runner once squeezed an entire Energy Gel onto the back of her hand where it froze. She then licked the Energy Gel off over the course of the next mile. Wow…
Cold weather means more clothes, which means more pockets and more storage options. Caitlin Smith, a professional runner for Salomon, notes that if you are wearing arm warmers, you can easily tuck in a Gel or two near your shoulders or wrist. Also, Gels slipped inside your running gloves will help keep the GU’ey goodness warm and ready to eat.
The Night Owl
Running at night comes with its own perils, but also offers another storage solution — your headlamp! The elastic band on a headlamp is perfect for storing a Gel. This works particularly well during pre-dawn trail races; your first bit of fueling can coincide with taking off your headlamp when the sun comes up.
6) The Golden Rule: Lycra is Your Friend
Form-fitting clothing is the rage now. From skin-hugging fabrics, to moisture-wicking buffs, to ¾-length leggings, to calf-length socks, the cut of running apparel seems to be getting tighter. This trend means more Gel storage options. Tight clothing that’s closer to your center of your gravity will keep jostling and slippage to a minimum, for example the outsides of your hips or near your lower back.
7) Bottleneck Your GU
We’re stealing this one from our friends over in the cycling world who really blew our minds this amazing GU technique. Screw the top-tab of your Energy Gel under the bottlecap. When it’s time to fuel, just rip the Gel off and suck it down!
Remember: we recommend taking an Energy Gel with 3-4 oz of water, so it’s always important to have a handy hydration source when fueling on the go.