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Bonking/hitting the wall in training

Old 11-03-19, 05:57 PM
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DeathCurse7
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Bonking/hitting the wall in training

Are there benefits to bonking in training?

Are the negatives effects?

How do you structure bonking into your training and how often?
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Old 11-03-19, 06:51 PM
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wolfchild
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In my 13 years of cycling I never bonked yet....I make sure to fuel myself properly so that it doesn't happen to me.
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Old 11-03-19, 07:07 PM
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This is a query posed by someone who has never bonked on a ride. Nothing good comes of it, there is no benefit outside of the knowledge of how you feel when you're running out of gas, so you can prevent it in the future.

But physically? It sucks. It is something no sane person would do intentionally.
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Old 11-03-19, 08:48 PM
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Yeah, I've bonked. No, it wasn't intentional. Yes, it's completely miserable, no redeeming features. Yes, it's good to bonk when one is starting training, just so one knows what it feels like. Other than that, I don't think it's a feature.
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Old 11-04-19, 03:12 AM
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I also have bonked on a long ride or two ... it's not pretty. As I recall there was dry heaving, an incredible amount of pain, and lying in the ditch wishing I were dead.

And it takes a long time to come out of that level of a bonk because the last thing in the world you want to do is to eat.
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Old 11-04-19, 09:59 AM
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Bonking sucks. I had a hard bonk in August and it was maybe 10 days before I felt strong again. Not recommended. And not a training strategy.
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Old 11-04-19, 07:44 PM
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F*** no you don't want to intentionally bonk. Not only does that ruin your day, but it can compromise recovery enough to ruin ensuing days as well.

What an awful idea.
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Old 11-04-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
, and lying in the ditch wishing I were dead.
I've called home from a ditch. I figured curling up in that was warmer than sitting up on the road.

That was a very bad bonk...
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Old 11-04-19, 07:52 PM
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I bonked a couple of times when I started getting serious about my rides that including upping the distance and duration of my rides. The reason for bonking was I wasn't adequately fueling and hydrating plus aggravated by too big of a jump in ride length. During my shorter rides, I was able to avoid crossing into the bonk zone despite even for those rides I wasn't properly hydrated or fueled.

The answer to the OP is to ride properly and stayed fueled and hydrated and you shouldn't bonk. Are you likely to become fatigued at times? Yes. But bonking is a lot more miserable of an experience than becoming fatigued. And no, bonking will not cause you any damage.
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Old 11-04-19, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DeathCurse7 View Post
Are there benefits to bonking in training?

Are the negatives effects?

How do you structure bonking into your training and how often?
Bonking is essentially low blood sugar. If you look up the symptoms of low blood sugar, you'll a list of what you'd be in for if you were to bonk.

Also, bonking is a progression. As indicated in the list below, you might start by feeling a bit shaky and irritable. Ideally, you'd have a quick bite to eat then, but you might not notice or register that a problem is starting for one reason or another (my reason was that it was my first time riding a 600K and riding through the night ... didn't occur to me I'd need to keep eating through the night).

Then you might start to have difficulty doing math ... "We're 400 km into a 600 km so that means we're ... um ... oh this doesn't seem like it should be so difficult 400 and 600 ... I need to relate them somehow. Let's see ... halfway!! No, we're more than halfway ... halfway would be ..."

And your favourite jersey might suddenly become the most uncomfortable thing you own. "It's strangling me!!" "When did the zipper become so scratchy?"

The dizziness might start and you might think then that it would be a good idea to eat something but you're just not hungry anymore and besides it would be way too much effort to reach into your handlebar bag to find something. If only something would come to you instead.

And you start to feel sick so you think you'll try to stop and get off your bicycle for a minute, but that has become really hard to do. You'll have to keep riding till you find a fence or something you can lean on while you get your leg up and over ...


Of course YMMV. It might be a fast progression or a slow progression. You might skip some of the symptoms ... I skip the hungry feeling which is problematic. If I felt hungry it would probably help.

For me, once it hits the nausea point, it's going downhill rather rapidly and it is really hard to regain a not bonked state. It can take hours to get back to feeling just average again nevermind good.


-------------------------------
This site contains a good list (other sites are the same or similar):
https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/me...l/hypoglycemia

I quote:

From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

Feeling shaky
Being nervous or anxious
Sweating, chills and clamminess
Irritability or impatience
Confusion
Fast heartbeat
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Hunger
Nausea
Color draining from the skin (pallor)
Feeling Sleepy
Feeling weak or having no energy
Blurred/impaired vision
Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
Headaches
Coordination problems, clumsiness
Nightmares or crying out during sleep
Seizures
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Old 11-05-19, 08:59 AM
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It's a side effect of either poor planning or execution. It is not an indicator of training or learning anything useful.

Also, don't confuse a bonk with just digging too hard too long in a power zone. That you can still get home from, assuming you execute nutrition correctly and are trained for the overall event distance and back off the intensity.

I was stupid and attacked twice in a road race, failed, then got dropped. But I still made it over the line just fine at SS power and middle of pack finish. No bonk, just had to back off the power after getting dropped to make it to the finish.
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Old 11-06-19, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DeathCurse7 View Post
Are there benefits to bonking in training?

Are the negatives effects?

How do you structure bonking into your training and how often?
Welcome to Bike Forums.

There is a form of training, sometimes called bonk training, that may be part of a periodized training program. The goal of bonk training is to develop the ability to burn a greater percentage of fat versus glycogen for ATP production during cycling. This is useful for cyclists that want to do multi day events with long rides each day.

The protocol is to get up in the morning and go for a two hour ride or so without eating anything. Without any food, ATP production will favor fat burning and try to conserve muscle and liver glycogen. However, the goal is not to actually bonk and run ones body out of muscle and liver glycogen.
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Old 11-15-19, 03:26 PM
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There was a time (late 70's and probably earlier) where the 'depletion phase' of carbohydrate loading before a marathon was 'the thing to do'. This involved cutting carbs for a few days and then doing a long run to deplete most/all of your glycogen reserves. Then, supposedly, when you added carbs back to your diet your body would over-compensate and store more glycogen than normal. Kind of like 'running up to the edge of a bonk'.

AFAIK, this is no longer considered to be effective.

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