As my mileage is increasing on the trails, I notice that I am having a hard time after mile 11-12. In fact, I’d say that I’ve “bonked” a few times. During one run, I felt my calves cramp and there are at least 2 other times I felt completely drained before the run was over. Why is this happening?
I started reviewing my recent activities. I know I’m not increasing my mileage too quickly. I also have experience running this far on the road without bonking. But, I have to remind myself that road running is primarily flat and quicker where there are lots of hills in trail running. If I compare how long it takes to cover the same mileage, I’m definitely out on the trail much longer than on the road. I decided it isn’t my training or the mileage, it must be something else.
The second thing that I think about is my nutrition. I was told was that the gels I use don’t have enough electrolytes in them for long distance running. In addition, several people told me to try salt tablets in general for long distances. I was reluctant at first, but after these last “bonks,” I decided I needed to try them.
our bunny liked the packaging!
This past Saturday, I went out for a 16 mile trail run. It had several rollers, but nothing real steep. I was hopeful that I had planned my nutrition correctly.
I packed 4 gels and ended up using all of them. I had just under 50 oz of water and drank all of it and could have used more. (It was in the 90’s by the time I finished running.) And, I brought along 3 Salt Stick tablets. The package suggests using 1 every 30-60 minutes. I decided I would use one every hour since I have never used them before.
By the end of the run, I was tired. It was a good run, but challenging since it was the longest trail run I have completed. And, I’m happy to say that I didn’t bonk. I still feel like I need something more. Perhaps I need to eat some real food out on the trail. Perhaps a PB&J would help. And, in general, I think I need to increase my daily carb intake. Fortunately, I have several more long runs where I can experiment.
Do you run trail ultras?
Have you ever bonked?
What do you use to fuel?