Hitting the wall. We've all been there. In the simplest terms it is about "running out of energy". In complicated terms, there are lots of mental and physical aspects to it. I was talking to Nobel4Lit the other day on our car ride home after running the LA Marathon and the topic of hitting the wall came up. I guess this topic is very popular post-marathon running. Nobel4Lit commented that despite doing everything she knew to prevent hitting this imaginery wall, somehow she ended up doing just that. I was lucky this year that this did not hit me as hard. So I decided to look more into this.
Have you ever found yourself feeling like this at the start of a marathon and then suddenly you find yourself feeling like this , and then slowly but surely you .
So what can be done to lessen the chance of hitting the wall? There are so many articles out there saying so many different things about wall-hitting prevention. But there are a couple of main ideas that stand out. These are just things that I've pulled out of these articles that I've never tried but will in my next training and race. I am no expert but just want to share what I've read.
1) If you consume an energy drink with protein during endurance events, you will lessen your chance of hitting the wall. I guess it doesn't have to be an energy drink but protein in general. I think liquid is probably the easiest to digest while running.
2) If you start out too fast in the beginning than what you are capable of, you will surely end up hitting the wall. I think the key is to pace yourself. And run at a steady pace the whole way through. I think this is where a Garmin would come in handy.
3) Then there are those who believe that if you are going to run 26.2 miles that you should train up to 26.2 miles. There are lots of training programs out there that only train to mile 20. Leaving the last 6.2 to chance and blind faith. I actually agree with this one. If your body has never been through running 26.2 miles and you only train up to mile 20, the last 6.2 will kick your butt.
4) I've also read that it is important to take advantage of all the liquid and aid stations along the route. Even if you don't feel like it, try to drink something at every stop. I drank alot this year and discovered that it really did make a difference.
5) Lastly, I am a big supporter of electrolyte capsules (see my review here). Because as much as I like to think that I consume enough Gatorade or water, I really don't. These capsules have saved me a couple of times from painful muscle spasms.
If anyone has any suggestions or knowledge of this and would like to share some preventive tips, please do.