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Interesting article on bonking (Read 737 times)

    http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267--11428-0,00.html?cm_mmc=Active-_-Boost%20Your%20Endurance-_-Article-_-Avoid%20Hitting%20The%20Wall The entire article is pretty good, but this description of bonking is the highlight for me: Marathoners used to call bonking "hitting the wall," but it's actually a bodily form of sedition. In some form or another, it becomes a collapse of the entire system: body and form, brains and soul. * Consider the muscle-glycogen bonk, where the brain works fine but the legs up and quit. Then there's the blood-glucose bonk, where the legs work fine but the brain up and quits. Let's not forget the everything bonk, a sorry stewpot of dehydration, training errors, gastric problems, and nutrition gaffes. * And then there's the little-purple-men bonk. "After about 20-K, I started to see little purple men running up and down the sides of these cliffs," says Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., who wears hats as both a leading sports nutrition researcher and an endurance athlete. "I knew it was an hallucination, but I stopped in the middle of the race to look at them anyway," he says. "It was kind of crazy." * If you have run a distance race, chances are you have already become an aficionado of the bonk. You remember how your form held until you hit mile 18 and your feet turned into scuba fins. How your motivation held until you faced that last hill and became preoccupied with the idea of lying down on the pavement. Or, if you bonked thoroughly enough, how you began to see beings that belong in Dr. Seuss.

    E.J.
    Greater Lowell Road Runners
    Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

    May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.


    A Dance with Monkeys

      Yes, good article. But it assumes that runners burn only carbs when running. In fact, with anything of moderate intensity or easier, you burn fat at a higher rate than glycogen, which spares your glycogen and allows you to go longer. That is why gatorade or water work fine for slow easy long runs.
        It's a good article in terms of the descriptions of the feeling of bonking. I strongly believe that one of the things that helped me persevere in the last 3 miles of my recent marathon was the fact that I was mentally prepared for the bonk. After about 30k, when I figured out I'd gone out just a hair too fast, I knew from experience that there would come a time very late in the race when I would have the nagging desire to just pull over and take a nap--that feeling of not caring, of well if I just jog it in from here it will still be a "pretty good" time, and all the other stories your mind starts to tell you to get you to quit. I was able to fight that off and somehow focus on the task at hand and just keep pushing. And that made a huge difference.

        Runners run.


        Think Whirled Peas

          But can you really train for the bonk? Or is it just one of those things you have to experience before you learn how to deal w/it? I'm setting up next year as my first go at a full mary and this bonking business has me terrified. My question stems from the training part, if you never run more than 20 miles, do you ever actually bonk in training? If not, then I can only assume the "learning how to deal with it" is similar to my understanding of how "experience" is defined: "Something you don't get until just AFTER you need it". In my one and only HM, I really exhausted myself toward the end of the run, to the point where I was just a pudgy shell of a man running/stumbling to the finish. I don't know what that was, but it wasn't pretty. I recall thinking clearly that doubling this distance is only done by the truly insane. Now, of course, I'm back on the bandwagon! Q

          Just because running is simple does not mean it is easy.

          Scout7


          CPT Curmudgeon

            I don't think that you should train to bonk, just to know how it feels. If anything, you should train to learn how to best AVOID it.


            A Dance with Monkeys

              You can bonk after just a mile if you want to. No need to go to 20. Just eat low/no carbs for a few days and then go out and run full intensity for a mile after a warmup. If you do not bonk there, keep jogging and you should within a couple miles. It is good to know what a bonk feels like before feeling one in a race, especially if the race is important to you. And I don't know if you EVERY be sure you will avoid it, so it is good to know how to deal with it as Mikey pointed out.
                Q, 1. You can train to avoid it AND be somewhat prepared for it and have a game plan for it just by knowing it exists. 2. You can definitely bonk without ever runnng more than 20 in a single shot in training if you're running a lot of weekly mileage and screw up on refueling in between (I've done it during a simple 6 miler at lunchtime.) Many marthoners are kind of always running on less than a full tank of fuel, which is one reason why you taper. MTA: What Trent said.

                Runners run.


                A Dance with Monkeys

                  One of my two worst bonks ever, actually, was in mile 4 of a run (2 easy, 1 intervals on the track, 1out of 3 easy) that was 11 days after a marathon PR. Boy, that was fun!


                  Needs more cowbell!

                    You can bonk after just a mile if you want to. No need to go to 20. Just eat low/no carbs for a few days and then go out and run full intensity for a mile after a warmup. If you do not bonk there, keep jogging and you should within a couple miles. It is good to know what a bonk feels like before feeling one in a race, especially if the race is important to you. And I don't know if you EVERY be sure you will avoid it, so it is good to know how to deal with it as Mikey pointed out.
                    Yep...I lose weight best when I keep my carbs very low (that is how the first 50#s came off my butt and the rest of me). Last Spring as I started to ramp up my mileage for my 25k I had a bonk about 4 miles into an easy run. Suddenly my pillow and my bed sounded like the most amazing place in the galaxy. I was still over a mile from home, which really sucked. I've got 15-20#s that I am determined to be rid of before my next 25k in May. I'm sure I will see another bonk at some point. k

                    I shoot pretty things! ~

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                      I don't think that you should train to bonk, just to know how it feels. If anything, you should train to learn how to best AVOID it.
                      Well said Scout. I haven't bonked (yet, knock wood) but on my last training long run I think I approached it. It was very scary, because I was running solo on streets that were completely deserted due to the Patriots vs. Cowboys game. Thankfully my brain was still functioning just well enough to realize I was losing my stride, and I throttled WAY back for a while. If I hadn't, it's easy to imagine continuing to stumble along until my tank was emptied and I just veered off into the weeds. I'd prefer not to meet the little purple men.

                      E.J.
                      Greater Lowell Road Runners
                      Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

                      May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.