We have all heard of it; some might have experienced it. The dreaded moment during your run where your body just feels like…well…it hit a wall! (I wonder where they got the name from?)
Your friends and colleagues may tell you that there is no way of defeating this inevitable experience during your runs. No matter how well you prepare, no matter how well you train, you will hit “The Wall” at [insert some arbitrary number here] miles.
What is “The Wall”?
According to Wikipedia sources the wall is:
a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy.
Your body uses two mechanisms to burn energy while exercising: burning fat or breaking down glycogen into glucose.
During a marathon or intense run, your body may run out of glycogen to turn into glucose, which will deplete one of your energy sources, causing your body to hit “The Wall”.
Avoid “The Wall”
It is true. “The Wall” happens.
But does it happen to every runner? No.
Take for example Ryan Hall, one of the greatest modern day runners in the United States. Ryan Hall has said that he has only been close to hitting “The Wall” once, and that was during a time he was sick and wasn’t fueling properly.
Before the race you must also properly train for the distance you are running. Your muscles, lungs, body in general will be stronger and more efficient.
A few days before the race you need to pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates entering your body. We have all heard of “carbo-loading” , but this doesn’t just mean eating a bunch of bagels a few hours before your race.
Nutrition during the run is also very important. Over a few hours of a marathon, your body has burned a majority of your glycogen. Now what?
There is also evidence that “The Wall” can be very much psychological.
Of course there can be a physical wall where your glycogen levels are depleted, however, there is also a time when your motivation/drive may be depleted as well.
“The Wall” can be very intimidating indeed, but hopefully the above tips will help guide you on a path to help fight it.
For more tips on fighting “The Wall” check out these articles:
- Runner’s World – Avoid Hitting The Wall
- Washington Post – Five myths about marathons
- About – How to Avoid Hitting the Wall in a Marathon
- MarathonAndBeyond.com – Hitting “The Wall”
Have any tips and tricks of your own? Comment below!