When I started training for my first half marathon, I was slightly resistant to the idea of using gels. They just seemed so messy, especially for a person like myself who can’t go a day without spilling coffee. But the alternative just didn’t work for me: real food sources digested too slowly or had a little bit too much fiber for my stomach, chews were difficult for me to chew while running at race pace, and I didn’t want to rely on carrying a water bottle full of fuel during the race. So, I settled on gels.
Even though I could easily consume gels on a run and found a brand that didn’t upset my stomach (Hammer), I still had to deal with the messiness of gels, the bulk of carrying several gels for a marathon, and the waste factor.
So, I complained about it – what else was there to do? I didn’t have a solution in mind of how to fix it. But the person who listened to every single detail of my training – my husband, Ryan – also happens to be a mechanical engineer with experience in the plastics industry. His whole line of work and way of thinking revolves around solving problems.
In addition to having the problem-solving mind of an engineer, Ryan owns an outdoor gear business. After testing numerous options, he finally found the right type of pouch and had it manufactured for his brand.
I was the first tester of the Gear Well EnduraPouch, so it was subjected to my pickiness. As you’ve seen from my other product reviews, I tend to put running gear through the ringer: I try it in all conditions and circumstances.
A Quick Overview
The EnduraPouch holds approximately 2-3 gels, depending on the serving size. I can fit about 2.5 servings of my Hammer Gel into the pouch – meaning one pouch suffices for a half marathon (when I use 2 gels) and two pouches work for the marathon (when I plan to use 4-5).
The pouches fit easily into a pocket or fuel belt. One full pouch is far less cumbersome than 3 gels.
A strong ziplock type seal prevents the contents from leaking out of the bottom. Just be sure to tightly seal it (as you should do with any seal). In the several long runs that I have done with these pouches, I have not had any issue with leaking gels during my runs.
These pouches are dishwasher safe, which means they are super easy to clean. I put the cap in the utensil holder of the dishwasher and the pouch on one of the prongs in the top of the dishwasher – and each time, they come out as clean as new.
EnduraPouch Helps You Fuel Better for Your Race
At the Rise.Run.Retreat, we heard a presentation from registered dietitian and marathoner Jamie Sheehan. One notable thing she told us in regards to fueling on a long run or a race is to NOT take an entire gel all at once.
Swallowing that entire 1-1.5 ounce gel in a matter of seconds loads your system with sugar and sends a large volume of fuel to your stomach. This can cause GI distress, especially if you hadn’t taken any fuel in the past 45-60 minutes and blood flow has been directed away from your stomach. Eating all of that sugar at once can also lead to a sugar high and a subsequent sugar crash, rather than a steady stream of energy.
I had read this nutrition advice in another source a while ago, back while training for my first marathon. The problem was that it was annoying and messy to hold an open gel packet for a mile or so during a run – and especially annoying during a race.
With the EnduraPouch, you can easily seal it back up, so you can sip at your fuel as you need. I’ll take a couple sips, seal it back up, take a few more sips about 5 minutes or so later, and repeat until I’ve had about a gel’s worth. The measurement lines on the side of the pouch let you gauge with a quick glance how much fuel you consumed.
You can also use the pouch to dilute your gel with a bit of water to make it easier to consume during the race.
EnudraPouch Makes Fueling with Whole Foods Easier
If you rely on whole foods for long run fuel, the EnduraPouch is an excellent option for you. Whether you are using mashed sweet potatoes, applesauce, homemade energy gel, or nut butter, you can store your fuel in the pouch and easily eat it as you need. You don’t need to use plastic baggies, which can be messy and awkward to use.
Even if you don’t run with whole foods, you can use the pouch to store snacks for travel or other outdoor activities such as hiking!
EnduraPouch is Environmentally Friendly
Think of how many gel packets you use per year – and throw away. The EnduraPouch is reusable and dishwasher-safe. Instead of buying single serve gel packets, you can purchase a large bottle of gel and measure out exactly how much you need for a run – whether it’s half a gel for a shorter long run or four gels for your marathon.
Each large bottle of gel provides a serving size measurement on the back. My Hammer gels gives the measurement in tablespoons, so I coat a tablespoon in coconut oil (to prevent the gel from sticking) and measure the gel out as I pour it into the pouch. If I spill any on the sides, I wipe it down with a wet towel.
EnduraPouch is Easy to Open and Use
I lose dexterity quite easily on long runs, caused by the redirection of blood flow from the hands to working muscles and (this time of year) the cold air numbs my hands. I’ve dropped gels, struggled to open them, and managed to squeeze the sticky fuel all over my hands before.
With an easy to grip cap and a wide pouch, I can easily open and close my EnduraPouch. Last week, I ran a hard 16 miler in 38 degree weather – my hands were completely numb and I was running hard at marathon pace. However, I was able to take my fuel without any issue, despite the fact that my hands were so numb that I struggled to turn off my Runkeeper app at the end of the run.
These pouches aren’t just for runners. You can use them to store foods for hiking or to send your kids to school with a healthy snack of fruit and vegetable puree. You can even make you own single servings of nut butter in these pouches, like an more budget- and environmentally-friendly of the nut butter packets at the grocery store.
Is the EnduraPouch Messy?
I voiced my complaint about how gel packets always seem to overflow, so you’re probably wondering: what about the EnduraPouch?
Unless you overfill the pouch or don’t seal it, you should not get gel on your hands. I have fueled through weeks of marathon training long runs with this pouch and not once gotten gels on my hands. That’s not to say that it won’t ever happen, but the design of this pouch minimizes the likelihood of that happening.
The pouch lets you squeeze out small amounts of fuel as you need.
Use the code THISRUNNERSRECIPES to receive 15% off your order of any item at Gear Well – including these EnduraPouches (sold in a set of 4) and the EverGreen Jacket collection.
I’m giving away a TWO 4-packs of the EnduraPouch! Two winners will each receive four EnduraPouches, plus recipes for nut butters that you can store in the pouches. This giveaway will be open from today through December 2. Open to US and Canada residents only.
This will be my last post until the Monday after Thanksgiving, so I want to wish all of your a Happy Thanksgiving and express my sincere gratitude for the time you take to read and support This Runner’s Recipes.
What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to fueling on a long run?
What would you use the EnduraPouch for?