How to Have Fun Running a Race ... & Not Bonk!

OK, so I have bonked, and as some of my friends know it involved an up-close-and-personal experience with a medical tent. 

That was many years ago, and since that time I’ve completed many more races – and longer races – with a smile on my face and reasonably short recovery times. 

And I want to tell you how.

I’ll keep this short and sweet so you can get out and train!
 

Stay Hydrated

This means you need to both drink and absorb liquids:

  • Drink – This is the most important anti-bonking measure. Drink lots when you train and when you race.
    Run with a water bottle. Water is fine unless the event is longer than two hours. Include a sports drink for anything longer than this time.
    Aid stations are for refilling water bottles! Your stomach will thank you if you avoid a taking in too much liquid every mile. Take sips as you go.
     
  • Absorb– It’s hard on your stomach to learn how to absorb liquids during a race, so drink when you train. (You’ll be surprised at how it decreases the post-run fatigue.)

Listen to your stomach; if there’s water sloshing around, you’re not absorbing liquids. Slow down your pace to better absorb the stuff. Your GI tract is in training too.
 

An avid athlete, Dr. Baker (seen here completing the running portion of an IronMan triathlon) has learned the importance of proper hydration through trial and error.Should I Eat Breakfast?

I don’t; if I did I wouldn’t absorb the race liquids. But, I see a lot of people eating before big races.

If you normally “dine and dash,” try running on an empty stomach, while carrying liquids. Then decide for yourself.
 

How to Carry Liquids While Running

There are lots of options, including running with a water bottle in your hand. Google it!
 

Train for the Heat

Hawaii can be hot any day of the year. If you train before sunrise because you don’t like the heat you won’t like it any better on race day. Slap on the sunscreen, fill up that water bottle and train in the heat.
 

Flavor of the Race

If you know what will be served on race day, practice with it.

Most sports drinks are too sweet and strong for me. I like about a 50-50 mixture diluted with water.
 

Salt Tablets

Sports drinks already have electrolytes. They are probably great for a long trail run next to a stream but, in my opinion, are unnecessary and can upset your stomach if you’re not used to them.
 

Pace Yourself

No need to compete with the starting gun sprinters. Ignore them and their pace.

When training, get a feel for your pace, the one that you know will get you through the distance and keep you smiling at the end!

 

Published on: January 15, 2018