Friday, April 10, 2009


On Wednesday evening I bonked during a long run.

This spring I moved my long runs to either Wednesday or Saturday mornings depending on what I had going during the week.

Initially I was only doing 14 mile runs. Then, I moved to 16 miles.

Two weeks ago, I ran 18 miles.

This week I decided to do a 20 miler.

Before describing the run, I should also share that I have been doing these runs without water and gels. This is a change from all of my previous training. In the past, I thought it best to train my body to use these items because it would better prepare me for race day. For each run, I prepared water and gels so I could have them every five miles.

But after talking with some other runers, I found that they didn't use these extras preferring instead to focus on getting their bodies to burn fat. Therefore, I thought an experiment was in order. I wanted to see how my body handled fat burning only runs.

Back to my Wednesday run, I headed up to the Lake Norman Y because traffic is not as bad as in Charlotte. I made the loop around Davidson and picked up the Davidson College X-country course. By the time that I came off the x-country course; I had covered about 10 miles in 75 minutes. I was feeling pretty good. Usually, in my runs after about 13 miles I tend to feel better. Today something different happen.

At 13 miles, I felt like I was struggling. By 15 miles, it felt like I was running in wet sand. At 18 miles, I was just hanging on.

Around 19 miles, I was ready to get back to my car and head home. I completed the run by doing loops in the parking lot at the Y.

Standing by side my car I was completely drained. I felt like I couldn’t take another step. After some light stretching, I headed home for dinner a little TV and fell into bed. I never remember feeling so bad after a run.

My conclusion from this effort is teaching your body to bun fat is probably important in marathon training. At some point, you are going to be burning fat and you need to understand how it feels. On the flip side, I am not sure that this is totally realistic. Most races today offer gels, water, and Gatorade (or some similar product) during the race. Acclimating, your body to these substances should help you train better and race better.

As for me, I think I am going back to refueling during the training runs.

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