With the amount of long runs I have been doing recently, and the cost of gels, I have had to look for a cheaper alternative: DIY. My current favourite gels for racing are the GU Roctane, which retail at around $6 each. 2-3 Gels on a 30-40km run each Sunday really starts to add up by the end of a training program, so I have been trawling the net looking at a variety of different homemade recipes, combined the best bits, and come up with this recipe that I have used now on several occasions.
You will need:
8-9 Scoops of Polyjoule, available from Chemists for about $13 for a 1 kilo tin
2 Tablets of No-Doz, crushed in a mortar and pestle (This is optional, if you like caffeine in your gels… 2 Tablets equals 200mg of caffeine) (NB – Darlene Reis you might like to add up to 6 No-Doz in your gels, although I really don’t reccommend this)
1 Sachet of Hydralyte (for Electrolytes – Alternatively you could use Staminade or any kind of electrolyte drink powder)
20-30mL Cordial Syrup, for flavouring (I prefer Cottees cola cordial, you can use any flavour you like
Start by putting the Polyjoule, Hydralyte and No-Doz into a mixing bowl. Add enough cordial syrup and water to achieve the desired consistency and flavour. Mixture will be hard to mix at first, the Polyjoule will probably form a big white blob in the middle of the liquid. Do your best to mix it, then let it stand on the bench for 10 minutes. Repeat until mixture starts to become more homogenous. Some people like to warm in the microwave to help with mixing, I have found this necessary. It is OK if the mixture has a few small lumps in it, they usually work themselves out overnight.
I usually make this mixture up the night before a long run, and put into a little 100mL squeezy bottle to carry with me on my run. Discard any unused mixture within 24 hours.
Makes the equivalent of about 3 store-bought gels, enough to fuel 2-3 hours of running, depending on intensity. Take with sufficient amounts of water to avoid any tummy upset – Don’t wash down with sports drink, as this results in a highly concentrated solution in the gut, which delays gastric emptying and can cause tummy pain – the same goes for any gels.