alsoran runners Squeezies
(Energy replacement gels)

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When you are spending 10 hours plus on the road you are going to need more than just coke and water to keep your body going.  The ideal source of energy is solid food, but since you are hardly likely to be eating full meals during your run, your next best bet is to use squeezies

A squeezy, or energy replacement gel is simply a sachet containing carbohydrates, electrolytes, anti-oxidants and vitamin C.  They provide sustained energy, the vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant and helps combat heat fatigue, and the electrolytes assist in rehydration.  Don advises you take one squeezy every hour of the race.  I take a squeezy every 8km which pretty much works out to one an hour.

There is a whole range of energy replacement gels on the market ranging from about R5 a sachet to about R30 a sachet.  There are also a range of concentrated energy powders which need to be pre-mixed and taken on route.  When the question was put to the late Dr Lindsay Weight as to which energy gel was best to use, she maintained she always went with the cheapest one!  That they all did pretty much the same thing.

Here are a couple of pointers about squeezies:
  • If you have never used squeezies before, I suggest you try them out on your training runs or shorter distance races.  It may take some time for you to get used to the taste and concentration.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late!  Take squeezies sooner than later in a race.  Squeezies don’t help if you have already ‘blown’ so to speak.  Squeezies should be used as on-going ‘maintenance’.
  • Squeezies tend to ‘thicken’ in cold weather.  I always take out a squeezy about a kay before I need to take it.  I then hold it in my hand so as to warm it up.  I also ‘warm’ a water sachet by holding it in my other hand as I run.  When it is time to take the squeezy, both the squeezy and the water are warm and thus easier to take and swallow.
  • By the time you are nearing the end at Comrades, I guarantee that no matter which type of squeezie you are taking, you will be about ready to gag when you try to swallow!  Fun and games!
Finally, if after lots of practice you find you really can’t stomach taking a squeezy, I suggest you practice eating solid food before and during your training runs.  On Comrades day there is lots of solid food available from spectators along the route.

Key words: squeezy, squeezies, energy replacement gel, carbohydrates, electrolytes, anti-oxidants, vitamin C
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website,



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za