Friday, January 11, 2013

EricG's Running Tips #37 Bonking Before Race Day? Pace Yourself

Don't bonk before race day!
I recall when I was a young boy I wanted to build models. My parents took me to a hobby store and bought me a small beginner model airplane, glue and paint. It took me about 15 minutes to put it together, I painted it camouflage and put all the decals in exactly the right places. I immediately wanted another. My Mom took me back for more and all I wanted was the biggest plane they had. I went from 0 to 100 mph in 15 minutes and came home with a giant B52 Bomber in a huge box. When completed it would have a wing span of several feet and be the biggest model any of my friends had ever seen. I began to work as hard and fast as I could to get this thing built. I spent all day putting this model together only to lose interest as I became frustrated by the realization that I was in way over my head. My B52 eventually ended up half built and in the garbage. I never built another model again.

When I went to the gym last week, it was, as expected, jam packed with a fresh group of resolutionists (I may have just invented a word). For many it was their first day back and for many others it was possibly their first day ever, kicking off the new year with vengeance. I think everyone there has the right attitude, it’s the approach that needs adjusting. I wanted to build that model nearly 40 years ago in the worst way, but I should have spent some time honing my new found craft on smaller projects first.  But I was a kid.  I wrote a week or so ago about trying new things and how it can make you feel like a kid again. It's true and I encourage everyone to set the loftiest of goals. To achieve them however, we must have stepping stones, or smaller goals to work our way there. Just like a race, if you go out faster than you are capable of sustaining, you will bonk.

Here is what I believe to be the typical story. I see it every year. I hope I am wrong about the person I saw this past Wednesday, but I am guessing I will never see him again, or at least not at the gym until next year. He was on the treadmill when I arrived at the gym last Wednesday. I had never seen him before so I assume he was new. The gym had only been open for 5 minutes and he was already drenched in sweat. I ran next to him for a little under an hour as he moaned and grunted his way through a work out. He exerted more energy than I think I would during my most challenging of hill repeats. This dude was going all out for more than an hour. I love his energy and passion, but I am guessing the reason I have not seen him at the gym in 9 days is either because he is still too sore to walk or he beat himself into submission and bonked in just one day. Or maybe, hopefully, he is going at night.

My point is, like most aspects of our lives, strategy, commitment and perhaps most importantly endurance are needed to succeed. However, without endurance you can strategize and commit all you want without success. Endurance is built over time, slowly, patiently and diligently. The best way to build endurance is to “Pace Yourself”.  Ask for advise, read, trial, error and most of all patience. You can do it!!!



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