I got this idea from Karel who was using a gel flask for his cycling races (when races as a Cat 1 a few years ago) as it was hard for him in crits or road races to handle gels due to all the acceleration and attacks. Also, he needed something calorie dense to just take a swig of with his sport drinks as neither of us like to take in solid food during training to meet our nutritional fueling needs. Karel introduced me to the gel flask and then when I found out Hammer had a flask that was easy to hold I knew it was a no-brainer to help me with my fueling regime in triathlons and running races. Thankfully, the gel flask has kept me from bonking and feeling well-fueled without GI distress for many years.
Here are a few great benefits of a gel flask:
-it makes it easy to stay hydrated and fueled when running off the bike in training, even for those 20-30 min "Short" brick runs.
-it is a nice way to supplement additional calories to your sport drink regime, especially on the bike.
-it eliminates wrappers during training and racing which can help you properly fuel without having to spend a few minutes with only one hand on your bike.
-it is easier to take a swig of gel (or sport drink) every 10-15 minutes to help postpone fatigue from a flask than to consume 1 full gel every 40-50 minutes.
-you always have nutrition with you and you can easily refill in training and racing.
-the GI system will find it easier to tolerate a little gel or sport drink every 10 minutes especially in the case of experiencing a high HR in certain parts of training and racing.
-if you don't find a fuel belt comfortable (although I recommend trying to get use to it as I find it a very helpful way to stay fueled/hydrated during long runs or in races with your own nutrition) this can be an easier option to carry with you during training/racing.
It's also convenient, easy to use, makes training more flexible to meet your consistency needs with the taste of gels (ex. diluting with water), you have less waste and things to carry on the bike and during running (and travel) and less mess.
My favorite Hammer gel is Huckleberry - I was a looooong time vanilla fan but when Huckleberry came out I thought it would be too sweet but I love the taste!
I feel that the best strategy for consistent energy, to control blood sugar and to help reduce risk for injury, burnout and fatigue is to consume sport nutrition at consistent intervals during training and racing. Certainly your ability to tolerate, absorb and digest sport nutrition will affect this strategy but you should not convince yourself that your body can not tolerate sport nutrition as this is a necessity and not a negotiable when it comes to being an athlete. I consider it disrespectful to the body to not consume fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates with well-formulated sport nutrition drinks/gels when the body is under extreme intentional stress.
Consider your daily diet. Do you eat at 3pm because you feel tired? Do you eat a snack right after dinner? Do you feel shaky or lethargic when you go several hours without eating and then end up overeating because you went too long without food? Now ask yourself how often you prioritize sport nutrition during training? To give yourself a dessert after a meal or to wake yourself up with a snack around 3-4 in the afternoon but to not feel you need consistent energy intake during a workout or race makes no sense. Fuel your body throughout the day with nourishing food and give a little respect to the body by fueling consistently to keep the body in optimal condition during training and racing.
Any questions - send me an email @ Trimarnicoaching@gmail.com
I was not paid or encouraged by Hammer Nutrition to write this blog. However, I work with many athletes (including my own Trimarni athletes) on training and nutrition and I have found great success with myself and other adopting a more realistic and easy fueling regime. I am always excited to share with others what has worked (or hasn't worked) with me......if you are interested, Hammer Nutrition has a special going on until 3/21/13. Mention code HG13 when you buy a Hammer Gel jug to receive a free gel flask. For additional products, email me if you have questions on any sport nutrition products and if you are ready to order Hammer Nutrition, feel free to use my product code for a discount on your first order (see link on right of blog page).