Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fueling the Ironman

In 5 months I will be embarking on my first Iron-Distance Race. I am so nervous, excited, scared, emotional, anything else you can think of Im that Im sure. What I do know is that I am starting to get the fueling part of every ride, run, triathlon I do.

After 5 years in the sport Im finally feeling not sore after workouts as I am fueling properly before, during and after every long ride and run I do. I can definately say it has taken me the LAST 5 months to work up to this. To listen to coaches advice, to eat or drink every 10-15 min. I don't get those bike riders that can go out for a 2.5 hour ride on just water (Maybe thats why you were cramping up there yesterday buddy, while I was whomping you on the hills) I on the other hand sat patiently back, drinking every 10-15 min, gel every 30 min, 1/2 power bar at 2 hours.

This is what I need and it works for me.

I am going to Quote Joe Friel here again and say there are 7 situations that may lead to poor performance or even failure at the finish line:
-Inadequate training
-Overtraining with and inadequate taper
-An overly of aggressive pacing strategy, especially on the bike
- Heat intolerance
- glycogen Depletion
-Excessive Loss of Sodium

Your pre-race fueling should ensure you have plenty of water, carbs, and sodium throughout the event. If any one of them is slighted, just finishing is a problem. I do the same breakfast every morning I go for a long bike ride or run. 3 hours before 1 scoop Whey protein, 2 cups applesauce (this will turn into 3 with longer distances), 1 banana. 1-2 hours before 1/2 powerbar and Heed, 20 min before 1 gel and 8 oz of water. Again, this works for me.

Plan what drink you are going to use and stick with it. I use Perpetuem. I don't use Heed mainly because I want the Protein component. I drink about 32 oz an hour on the bike. Up to 48 if I need to. Whatever you decide to do practice with it in your longest workouts to make sure you can tolerate it come race day.

You need about 400-700 calories per hour on the bike epending on your weight.  I set my watch to beep every 15 min so that I am taking in something.

Sweating is another thing to think about. If it is a hot day you can sweat up to a liter of body fluids per hour. I am a heavy Sweater and I know it. I use SCaps every 30 min to ensure I have enough sodium. I also take in margarita Shot bloks on the run every 2 miles.  Athletes have died from hyponatremia. Be smart and calculate your sweat rate after every long bike and run.

Race nutrition is so critical to racing that you need to give it considerable attention. I don't know how many times I go for a ride or long run with someone and they have little for nutrition. Im telling you, you will recover faster and BE faster if you fuel your body properly. Same as you plan out your workouts you should be planning out your nutrition as well.


  1. OMG, so much thinking involved in all of this! Maybe I'll just stick to sprints...

  2. Well said Kristin! Nutrition is a hot spot for me on every training day! I think I am finally getting the hang of it too! Stef

  3. 400-700cal on the bike is hard. I shoot for 400 on my HIMs and found that is ok for me. I need to see if that extends to the 140.6.

    My biggest sin is going out too hard on the bike. I need to fix that and that will be a focus of my training coming up.

    Nice post.

  4. I am an extremely proud coachie right now.

    You are a STAR.

  5. I think nutrition is definitely the 4th discipline of triathlon! It is sooo important!!

  6. and I will add finding variation is key. When I took Gu #11 yesterday I gagged. I LOVE Gu. I guess 10 is my limit in one day? Great tips!

  7. I'm so behind in blogs. :(

    I think nutrition is one of the hardest aspects of Ironman. The need for calories and the want of calories has gotten me every time. I think it's smart that you are thinking and working through this now.

  8. I agree with Iron Wanna Be Mommy in that there really IS a lot to think about, but with enough time and adequate testing during your training, you'll be perfectly fine!

    Oh, and you should know, it's possible to sweat upwards of THREE liters per hour, not just one. I personally sweat around two liters per hour. I'm still getting used to drinking enough while on the bike, but it's coming along.