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Avoid Bonking & Keep From Blowing Up

What is bonking? Bonking is when you run out of energy to complete your event. Like a car running out of gas 10 miles into a 20-mile trip. You have no fuel to continue. What is blowing up? Blowing up is starting way too fast or maintaining too high of a pace at different points of your event, which can lead to surpassing your lactate threshold & cramping causing you to stop or slow down. Like if you just put the pedal to the floor in your car and blow your gaskets or transmission. You still have plenty of fuel, but you broke other parts of your car. If you struggle with this, keep reading to learn how to avoid the bonk and prevent from blowing up. 

To keep it simple, here are the top tips to Avoid Bonking and Keep from Blowing Up

  1. Know Your Pace. Know what pace you are capable of holding for any period of time to avoid bonking. The idea is at the start of the event for the effort level to feel controlled and relatively easy. As you progress through the event, your effort level will increase to hold your pace. At the end of your event, the effort level will be extremely high to maintain your initial start pace. Even splits or negative splits are how you PR. 
  2. Know How to Fuel Properly. Know the calorie needs for the distance you are doing. If you are doing a short event (less than 45 minutes) you will not need anything more than water during your event. Your body will have enough energy from your previous night’s meal and your morning breakfast to get you through. Chances are on the shorter events you will be moving faster and having a bunch of food in your stomach is counterproductive to going fast.
  3. Know When to Refuel. If your event is longer than 45 minutes, this is when you need to start thinking about fueling for success. In general, depending on your height, weight, sport, and effort level, you will burn between 10 to 25 calories per minute. The goal is to time your calorie intake throughout your event so that you are just keeping the tank full enough to avoid bonking and running out of energy. Another rule is that you want to consume the calories before you need them. My rule of thumb is that I take in a few calories every 15 minutes starting at the 30-minute mark for any event over 1 hour. Remember you are balancing your intake with what was in your tank when you started. 

Things to consider per sport

  • Swimming. Swimming is not the ideal sport for taking in calories during a triathlon.  When you are completing a tri, you need to consider calorie-intake into account and be prepared to start fueling early on the bike to avoid bonking.
  • Avoid BonkingCycling. Cycling is built for fueling. You have bottle cages on your bike, the right choice in your race clothing will have pockets for holding gels and other forms of nutrition. There are also tons of other equipment you can add to your bike to pretty much carry as much as you want. One key is to use the aid stations on course so that you are not carrying too much. Why spend a ton of money on an 18-pound bike when you are going to carry 3 to 6 pounds of nutrition? Learning how to take a bottle hand up or even stop quickly at an aid station to make sure you have what you need is important and worth every second that you might think you are losing by just blowing by the aid station without refueling. Items we recommend consuming on the bike: water, fluids with calories, gels, chews, and bars.
  • Running. A good pocket in your run shorts, shirt, or a SpiBelt is perfect for holding a couple of gels for your run. A small handheld water bottle can also come in handy if you are needing a little water to wash down your gel or stay hydrated. Aid stations are also the key for runners. Knowing the frequency of the aid stations and what they will be supplied with before the event will help you come up with the proper nutrition plan on the run. Items I recommend consuming while running: water, fluids with calories, gels, and chews.

Tips To Avoid Bonking

To sum it up, what you need to do to avoid bonking is, know your body (pace),  know the event (what nutrition do they offer on course), have a plan to carry additional fuel, and then practice with different amounts and mixtures of nutrition at different paces until you have the perfect plan. This will all vary based on the type and length of your event, so be sure to use these tips during your Kerrville Tri training. After all, practice makes perfect!

10-week sprint distance triathlon training program to get you ready for Kerrville Tri

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews has built a 10-week sprint distance triathlon training plan to get you ready for this year’s Kerrville Triathlon on September 28th! If you want to complete the Debra Zapata Sprint Triathlon, download this sprint distance triathlon training plan and toe the start line with confidence.

Matthews has won or placed at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished 2nd in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He has also won some Austin races, including Rookie Triathlon and Jack’s Generic Triathlon. His coaching style provides triathletes with a blend of knowledge he’s learned first-hand and what he’s been taught from other world-class triathletes.

This downloadable training plan is geared for triathletes who want to complete their first or second sprint distance triathlon. It’s also ideal for triathletes who want to set a PR. You can further customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

After you download Barny’s free training plan, click on the day’s workout to learn about the workout’s description. Each daily workout has been conveniently hyperlinked to the workout. This allows you to know precisely what you need to complete that day. This is handy if you have to switch days based on your hectic schedule!

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

If you want to take your training to the next level, then contact Matthews today. Make sure you ask for his special Kerrville Tri coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the entire training plan!

July sprint distance triathlon training plan for Debra Zapata Sprint Triathlon.

August sprint distance triathlon training plan for Debra Zapata Sprint Triathlon.

September sprint distance triathlon training plan for Debra Zapata Sprint Triathlon.

3-month quarter distance triathlon training program to get you ready for Kerrville Tri

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews has put together the perfect 3-month quarter distance triathlon training plan to get you ready for this year’s Kerrville Triathlon on September 29th! If you’re ready to make the jump from sprint triathlon, download this quarter distance triathlon training plan and toe the start line with confidence.

Matthews has won or placed at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished 2nd in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He has also won some Austin races, including Rookie Triathlon and Jack’s Generic Triathlon. His coaching style provides triathletes with a blend of knowledge he’s learned first-hand and what he’s been taught from other world-class triathletes.

This downloadable training plan is geared for triathletes who want to complete their first quarter distance triathlon. It’s also ideal for triathletes who want to set a PR. You can further customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

After you download Barny’s free training plan, click on the day’s workout to learn about the workout’s description. Each daily workout has been conveniently hyperlinked to the workout. This allows you to know precisely what you need to complete that day. This is handy if you have to switch days based on your hectic schedule!

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

If you want to take your training to the next level, then contact Matthews today. Make sure you ask for his special Kerrville Tri coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the entire training plan!

Quarter distance triathlon training plan for July.

Quarter distance triathlon training plan for August.

Quarter distance triathlon training plan for September.

3-month half distance triathlon training program to get you ready for Kerrville Tri

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews has put together the perfect 3-month half distance triathlon training plan to get you ready to complete the full 70.3 distance at this year’s Kerrville Triathlon on September 29th! Whether this is your first or your fifth half iron distance, download this training plan and toe the start line with confidence.

Matthews has won or placed at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished 2nd in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He has also won some Austin races, including Rookie Triathlon and Jack’s Generic Triathlon.

This downloadable training plan is geared for triathletes who want to complete their first half distance triathlon. It’s also ideal for triathletes who want to set a 70.3 PR. You can further customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

After you download Barny’s free training plan, click on the day’s workout to learn about the workout’s description. Each daily workout has been conveniently hyperlinked to the workout. This allows you to know precisely what you need to complete that day. This is handy if you have to switch days based on your hectic schedule!

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

If you want to take your training to the next level, then contact Matthews today. Make sure you ask for his special Kerrville Tri coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the entire training plan!

Download your FREE Kerrville Tri half distance triathlon training plan.
Download your FREE Kerrville Tri half distance triathlon training plan.
Download your FREE Kerrville Tri half distance triathlon training plan.

Is your body like a racecar?

Maybe you should think of your body as a racecar! For long-distance racing (swimming, biking, running), nutrition is the key to success. That is assuming you appropriately trained for the race and pace yourself based on your training. The biggest thing we see is the lack of knowledge around calories and the fear of not having enough salt. Cramping, bonking, blowing up, are all things we want to avoid. What causes them?

Cramping

Cramping is caused by overuse and lack of sodium. Cramping in a short-distance event is due to overuse and not the body’s lack of sodium. Cramping in a long-distance event can be due to sodium, but it can also be due to overuse. If it is due to lack of sodium, it will not be in one isolated area, like your calf. You will feel the cramping across the entire body. Once this happens, it is nearly impossible to recover during any mid-distance event.

Bonking

Caused by running out of fuel during a long-distance event. It is almost impossible to truly bonk during a short event (less than one hour).

Blowing up

Blowing up is the most common issue that most people confuse with the other two. Blowing up is caused by going too fast. Using your muscles at a level for which you did not train them will cause them to cramp up. If you can average 20 mph at your local TT of 15 miles, this does not mean you can hold this average for the bike of a half or full Ironman.

To keep it easy, you want to think of your body like a racecar. Your car needs three basic things to keep running: Gas, oil, and electricity. Click To Tweet

3 basic things the body needs to perform at a long distance event

The three things your body needs to perform during a long-distance event are water, calories, and sodium. Everyone’s body processes calories, water, and sodium at different rates. It is not possible to replace everything you burn in terms of calories, but the replacement of water and sodium while you slowly dig a calorie hole is the key to success.

Your body needs calories like a racecar needs gas.

Gas is like your calories. Calories are the fuel your body needs to run.

Gas is like your calories. This is the fuel your body needs to run.  Calories can come in the form of Clif Shot Energy Gels, Clif Bars, Clif Bloks, chews, breakfast, or any other food or liquid that has calories. Watch your sports drinks as they may have calories as well.

Oil is like your water. Water lubricates your joints and allows your engine to process and burn fuel.

Electricity is like your sodium. Sodium is what your body needs to allow its muscles to fire.

You can be low in these different areas, but being empty in these areas is what causes major trouble. The purpose of this analogy is to help people better understand what is going on with your body. Checking on properly identify nutrition issues and better keep your body running like a racecar.