The Bonk

At some point in every runners life you will experience what can only be described as a Bonk!  This is simply “a condition in endurance sports where depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles results in sudden and severe fatigue.”  So this begs the question; “How to avoid bonking” or “What should I eat during a Marathon or long run”.

First, If you’re on the fence and not sure if your stomach will be able to handle nutrition during a Marathon or long run, take this opportunity to try something new and just experiment.

Go to your local GNC, Fleet Feet, or Inside-Out Sports and just buy several different nutritional “Gels”.  They come in all kinds of flavors, so you’ll just have to experiment and see what works best for you on a hot thirsty day.   Examples of ones that I have tried in the past are GU, Power Bar Gel, and Clif Shot.  The ingredients of these are all quite similar in that they will have about 25-30 grams of carbohydrates, with additional Sodium and Potassium.  The carbohydrates help replenish your glycogen stores, and the Sodium and Potassium help battle fatigue and muscle cramping.

How often do I need nutritional gels?

A good rule of thumb is to have 1 Gel packet every 45 – 60 minutes during a Marathon or long run.  I find it easier to remember to take it every 6 miles as the mile marker aid stations approach.  So at mile 6, 12, 18, 24, as I see the aid station approaching, I take 1 GU and then wash it down with water from the aid station. Bring an extra just in case you drop one or need another.

Then keep on running!

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