Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boston Marathon Tip #1: How to Carry Gels

This is a new weekly series to provide my readers, few there are, and more selfishly me tips for the 2008 Boston Marathon. Generally, they may be tips for any race, but this is my blog so they are called Boston Marathon tips.

Recently I commented on a 2007 Boston Marathon 2:42 marathoner about how to carry four gels during the race. If you like the energy gel boost, flavor, or distraction, four is plenty. You can set a plan to take one before each water station allowing tossing the wrapper in a bucket. Try something like miles 8, 13.1, 17 and 22. It’s best to try this out in training and your tune-up races.

Where to Put the Gels:
Running shorts pocket = maybe two max
Arm pouch = you won’t catch me with one
Pasting to the bib number = never seen it done, it would be too weighty
Pin to the singlet = seen this and it can’t be comfortable
Special shorts with special gel pocket = shows you take gels (RaceReady brand)
Mike recommends using shorts made by Brooks that have small, half-depth pockets on each side just behind the side-seam. They close with a tiny velcro tab and don't catch any air. Pin the gels inside them so they don't accidentally fall out.
Alternative is to sew your own pocket in the shorts.
Put them inside your hat, in the front.
Belt Pouch = recommended by Patrick - something like the Amphipod "RaceLite
From the populace you can read the RunnersWorld forum on this topic.

Mark’s Tried and Proven Method:

  1. Use two medium size safety pins, they tend to stay closed better, one for each inside waist band of shorts pinned off left and right hip adjust for comfort.
  2. Pre-tear a small amount of the gel pouch to make it easier opening in the race.
  3. Each pin can hold two gels. Depending on pouch size, some get too heavy and will pull shorts lower and also have bulky material.
  4. Have singlet tucked in under shorts with gels next and then shorts to prevent chafing.
  5. When grabbing, with two hands, while running the small tab will stay in place while pulled.
  6. Always hold from top to keep gel in the pack and not messing on your fingers, gloves, face, etc.
Training: am, Battle Road Trail, 10M, 1:13:09, 7:18/mile


  1. Another important point is to cut the edges of the gels into a smooth curve to lessen the chance of chaffing. You can also apply a little duct tape to the edges. But, the shirt down the shorts method works pretty well.

    BTW, there are triathlon number belts that have sewn elastic to put gels. Works pretty well.

  2. Good points Gary in getting to the source of the chafing. Thanks