The threat of bonking

Sarah’s post asking how soon you should begin to carbo-load before a big race or other strenuous event took on a new light after reading an article about bonking in this morning’s New York Times. We’re not talking about the rather base use of the word, but about bonking when it means that an athlete is hitting the wall. You have had a bonk when you are physically unable to continue.

The article goes on to point out that races require stamina and burn hundreds of calories an hour. In no other sporting activity are you going to feel the effect of having one or two hundred too few calories as you will in an endurance sport. Frequently, novice competitors do not watch their intake during training and, therefore, are unprepared when the race rolls around. By the same token, since it is not natural to eat while you are being so physically active, overeating can cause cramps or other problems.

Figuring out how much to eat before and how much to eat during, whether its some sort of sandwich, nutrition bar or energy gel, can mean the difference between finishing and collapsing, but there is no one formula that will give you the magic number needed to complete your event. It’s trial and error, but the rewards – the feeling you get when you hit the finish line – make it worth it. At least until the next race.


Author by Nicole Weston