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In this podcast episode and blog post I will zero in on two common difficulties that can make your marathon a lot more challenging —bonking and cramping. I have heard from many runners who have experienced one of these mishaps. It is time to understand why they happen and what you can do about it.
Bonking is often referred to as “hitting the wall” and this phenomenon happens during long runs and marathons. Bonking can occur when you don’t take in adequate carbohydrate replenishment during your run.
Because the average runner burns 100 calories per mile the body will have depleted its muscle glycogen fuel store after approximately 90 minutes of running (if you haven’t been replenishing the lost calories). When you bonk, your body has burned through its reserve supply of muscle glycogen and what you’ve put into your body hasn’t kept up with the demand. You may feel a sudden fatigue, loss of energy and start taking long walking breaks. Other symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, feeling faint, shakiness and rubbery legs which may indicate that your blood sugar is low.
Bonking may also have a mental component where you feel hopeless or like you can’t go on. If your brain is low on glycogen it logically will be signaling your body to stop whatever folly you’re engaged in.
Here’s what you need to do to prevent bonking:
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