Runners, in general, dedicate months of preparation and training in order to join and survive a running event, especially a marathon.
When the big day comes, runners usually avoid getting injuries while running so that they can complete the run they’ve prepared for. Aside from sustaining physical injuries, there’s another undesirable incident runners try to avoid: bonking.
Bonking, also known as hitting the wall, happens when a runner reaches extreme exhaustion while running. The level of exhaustion is so severe that, it’s not only your body that’s incapable of running anymore; your mind and drive are affected as well that you no longer have the motivation to complete your run and finish it within an acceptable time.
Many runners, even experienced ones, encounter bonking even after years of knowledge and skill in running.
It is believed that bonking happens when your body’s glycogen levels are drained and fats are being burned. Your body starts to feel extreme fatigue combined with muscle cramps and loss of will to run. However, there is some research which revealed that encountering bonking during running has many causes, not only glycogen depletion. Factors such as levels of blood glucose, muscle fatigue or damage, plus mental stress affect the possibility of experiencing bonking while you run.
Luckily, many experts have found ways to prevent runners from bonking. Here are some of the practices you can do in preparation for your runs so you won’t hit the wall:
Since your body needs to store adequate glycogen to be able to fuel the muscles and complete a run, carb loading would be extremely beneficial. Carb loading should be started four days before your race. Vegetables, pasta, oats, and rice are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Increase your carbohydrate intake by 70 to 90 per cent.
Eating after every run will also help a great deal. After running, your body would need to refuel to be able to recover sooner. Eat within 20 to 30 minutes after running to help your body restore the energy you’ve used.
Though it is important to train your body to run faster for months before the race, it’s equally imperative to give it enough rest to avoid too much stress that may cause bonking as well. During the last two to four weeks of your running training, you must start tapering. Tapering is the practice of running with decreased intensity or mileage with the aim to reduce exhaustion days before the race.
During the day of the actual race, you must eat breakfast, about four hours before you begin your race.
You must also plan ahead on how you would manage refuelling while running. Refuelling is even more crucial while you’re actually running. Refuel with a sports drink or gel every 40 or 30 minutes. Hydrating is critical as well. Bring water to rehydrate yourself and replenish the water your body consumed.
Since The Bonk is also caused by mental pressure, you must also learn to condition your mind into thinking positively. You mind should be in a happy mood when you run. If you run with your mind having negative thoughts, it’s possible that it will affect your body into thinking it is experiencing tiredness, triggering The Bonk to happen.
Countless runners experience bonking from time to time, but with the help of proper mental and physical preparation, you can stop this from happening and avoid all the efforts you’ve put into training from being wasted.
15 Jun 2016