Bonking before the marathon

Wait a minute, bonking shouldn’t happen before the marathon, should it? Shouldn’t happen at all of course, if you prepare properly.

Well, I learned something this last weekend. Before you run a 2.5 hour run in hilly terrain, you have to fuel up. Like I didn’t know that… but here’s what happened. I went on a 17 km fairly fast run on Saturday evening. It felt great, but I didn’t eat a whole lot after the run. I just wasn’t hungry and wasn’t thinking. Bad idea.

Next morning, I ran with my friends up and down the ski hills in Camrose. A young running lady from Boston was visiting, so we took her on the “ski trails tour”. That meant most of them steep hills, and I didn’t bring water or any snacks either.

After 2 hours of running, I noticed that ugly, tingly feeling in my legs. We stopped for water, but it was too late. I knew I had to get home soon or it would become nasty. Well, it got nasty.

About 2 km from home, I stopped and walked a bit. Then I tried to start running again, but now my whole body said – this ain’t working, buddy.

All I could do was to tell my friends to go on finishing their run, while I suck it up and walk home. Yes, I had no other choice but to walk. The 2 km walk felt very long as well.

When I got home, I ate a lot of carbohydrates and drank water. Then I had a nap, and I felt much better. Next day, I ran another 17 km at a fast pace, and I felt just great. The body actually recovers quite fast from something like this.

What happened to me was that my stored energy in my body was low when I started, since I didn’t eat much after the late run the night before. When I then ran up and down the hard ski hills for 2 hours, eventually my stored energy became completely depleted. This can happen in races too of course, but I honestly think this was the first time I ever bonked in training!

There’s a first for everything.  I learned the hard way – eat enough food the day before you exercise for hours!

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