Monday, July 22, 2013

Gel-Bot: My Secret Weapon To Help Get Me To A Sub-2

I've made it no secret I'm shooting for a sub-2 hour half marathon. Additionally, I've made it no secret I'm gunning for this sub-2 at the Iron Horse Half on Oct. 13.

Consequently, I'm doing and looking for any advantage I can get to help cut and save time. I'm upping my speed work. But anything that can help me maintain my pace and not slow me down, I want to employ it.

Enter the Gel-Bot.

I first heard about the Gel-Bot on a post by Scott on his blog iRunnerBlog, and I wanted one. My lovely bride then bought it for me for my birthday last November. (The actual post I first read about the Gel-Bot is here.)

However, I really haven't figured out how to incorporate the Gel-Bot into my running because it did not have a pocket/handle for me to better carry it during my runs. This is important to me because of comfort and since I always carry my cell phone with me for safety purposes.

But then I had a stroke of genius to hit me.

I took the holder/pocket from my Nathan's water bottle and put it on the Gel-Bot. It fits and works perfectly.

My Nathan's water bottle
Not sure if you are like me, but I have to carry water with me. I sweat a lot and need to hydrate regularly. Whether it's spring, summer, fall or winter, you will find me carrying a water bottle with me on every run.

Add to that, on my long runs, I bring 2-3 GU Energy gels with me to help me refuel. While I like the gels, they can be a pain to take in. Carrying them along, I generally have to slow down to get one out and then open it before getting it down. And since you opened the pack, you have to use all of the gel at the one time.

Sometimes, if you're a klutz like me, you'll make a mess with the gel.

Every time I have use a gel, I have to slow down and have to go to a slow run and/or walk for at least a minute. Not exactly what I want when I'm wanting to PR or try for a sub-2.

The Gel-Bot changes all that.

What makes the Gel-Bot special and unique is that you can load the inner chamber with gel to ingest during your run. And yes you can get gel and water out of the same water bottle - just depends on how you have your top as to which you'll get.

Translation: you don't have to slow down to rip open a gel during a run.

You are able to load 3.2 ounces of gel in the inner chamber, which is more than enough space for 3 GU gels. Depending on the Gel-Bot you purchase, you can have 20 or 24 ounces of water. I like to run the long distances, so I got the 24-ounce bottle.

To the right is a video Hydrapak (the company which produces the Gel-Bot) has on its website on how to use/load the gel.

What I found I really like about using the Gel-Bot is that I don't have to ingest the entire gel at one time. Rather, I can take a little here and there as I go, just to give me enough energy boost.

During my 12-mile run yesterday (Sunday, July 21), I put 2 GU gels in the inner chamber. At mile 4, I took my first sips of the gel and then took a couple of hits of the gel every 1.5 to 2 miles the rest of the way. Not once did I get that "OMG! I'm dying here and need FOOD NOW!" feeling. Instead, I felt fully nourished and full of energy.

For the type of runner I am - one who loves to run long distances, the Gel-Bot is perfect for me. And if it helps me shave some time off to get me to that sub-2, even better.

What things do you use or do to help improve your time? What tips do you have?

Happy running!


  1. I must have missed the initial post on Scott's blog. Great idea! I may be on the lookout for one of these.

  2. I totally didn't know they made these! Need to look into one!

    1. I hadn't either until I saw it on It's pretty neat and works great!