Bonking During Archery Practice

In past posts I have written about nutrition and archery. Granted, the sport isn’t equivalent to competing in an Ironman when it comes to the calories needed to shoot 60 arrows. But, today I bonked while practicing. It wasn’t fun.


(In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. 1)

To be fair shooting wasn’t the only exercise on my morning training plan. I’ve got a fitness blueprint I’ve followed for completing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race, and a marathon. On top of that I have an archery-training plan.

Daily / weekly training plan

I’m not signed up to race another Ironman even though I  frequently think about doing another one. Still, I try to stay in shape in case the Ironman bug bites.   So, I train a lot and have equipment that allows me to run or ride indoors if the weather keeps me from going outside.

When I am forced to train indoors on my bike I watch DVDs of past Ironman events. It’s cool to watch the races and in particular the ones where I have competed. Even though I’m not planning another Ironman (at the moment) I work out as if there was one on the horizon.

This morning’s schedule called for a run lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. There was a swim of one hour on the plan as well. My morning’s archery practice was a 3-spot shooting 60 arrows – practice for the USA Indoor Nationals and the NC State Indoor Championships, both on the calendar. I skipped the afternoon swim in preference to the football playoffs, but did my 3D work.

In the morning, after running, I felt good. I’d gotten out of bed at 0530, went outside with my dogs, and then prepared a breakfast amounting to about 450 calories. I didn’t start the run until around 0700. The run was a mix of roads and trails at a combined pace of about 9 miles per mile. Not fast due to a storm we’d had during the night leaving the trail portion of the run a muddy mess. Honestly, I don’t run a whole lot faster except during a 5K.

It wasn’t until around 0920 that I was set up to practice archery. Since breakfast I’d not taken on any additional calories. The storm that soaked the trails had also knocked out our electricity and dinner the night before meant a sandwich.

The total caloric intake on the powerless day had been about 2400. My output had been high considering two archery sessions, cycling, swimming and lifting weights. I’d been hoping for a larger dinner than pimento cheese on bread. Basically, I woke up hungry. In hindsight the 450 calories consumed for breakfast wasn’t enough.

The first 24 shots scored shots had all been Xs. Then, things began to waver a bit. I hit a 28 then a 26. I took it as a mental lapse. Ends 11-13, all 29 then it really hit me – bonk – , the 14th end was 22.

My sway had increased and I was starving. I’ve bonked during other sports and recognized the feeling. This isn’t the first time I’ve bonked will shooting. I’ve hit the wall during tournaments – I no longer run before an archery competition and I always carry food with me. Today, I had no food.


I could have walked in the house and eaten something or sucked down a gel. But, I didn’t. I decided to force myself though the final 6 ends. This would put me in a situation that might happen during a tournament and I wanted to see how I’d respond to the low energy. It wasn’t pretty, neither was it horrible.

I ended the 60 shots with a 583. While archery isn’t as aerobically demanding as endurance sports, nutrition is still important. This experience is a personal example of bonking while shooting. I do know better.


After practice, I headed the Garden Buffet Chinese Restaurant where I hurt myself eating.