Are you in the midst of training for a half or full marathon? If the answer is yes, I’m guessing that carbohydrate gels are a big part of your training routine. Even if the answer is no, there’s probably a good chance that you consume these gels, chews or other such supplements to get through your runs.
While these gels have a place in long distance run training, of late, runners have been overusing them, believing they need the supplements for even short runs. That overuse comes with some heavy consequences.
Here’s the deal: Our bodies are designed to run on either sugar or fat. Sugar, or glycogen, comes in very limited stores. Fat, on the other hand, is available in a nearly endless supply. The trick is to teach your body to access that fat. When you overuse carbohydrate supplements like gels, your body doesn’t get the chance to learn this and it fails to access fat for fuel.
The result of this inability to access fat in a race or a long run is what’s classically known as a bonk. The result of the inability to access fat on a regular basis is slower running and unwanted calories.
So when and where should you use gels and how do you break your dependence on them? You train your body to access fat by practicing runs in a glycogen depleted (GD) state.
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