Okay so here we are heading outside and most of us are still trying to get to race weight and thinking this is going to be a great strategy burn it off doing long workouts. You should instead be thinking of practicing your nutrition strategy for racing during your training. You need to practice many times to test to see if it works, because everyone knows, you can swim, bike and run really well, right up until you are throwing up, cramping or bonking, this is the part that most people forget to train, we are speaking nutrition.
Nutrition for Training:
Using foods you may want to race with during your training, will provide ample training runs with these foods to test them at racing heart rate. You would be surprised at how quickly it all changes when the heart rate goes up, the stomach goes on pause.
Using the basic premise of eating 5 - 6 meals per day, you will notice that workouts fit neatly in between snacks and meals. The snack or meal could actually be the recovery meal if eaten within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.
Why 30 minutes? Your body replenishes its glycogen stores quite rapidly once exercise is ceased, after that 30 minutes window, the food you eat takes longer to replenish you glycogen stores and you will begin to feel less recovered for your next workout, until you have had a longer break. Because we do multiple workouts per day and some are morning, some are evening, you must always provide a recovery snack after you workout within 30 minutes so that you are ready for your next workout, and your body is fully charged.
Make sure your recovery snack has protein and carbs, protein goes towards rebuilding the muscles you break down during the workout, and carbs replenish the dwindling glycogen stores.
Back to back workouts, or longer workouts. After a swim, heading onto your next workout, you may want a fruit or snack, even a gel, as you are depleting your glycogen you need to keep adding fuel to multiple workout blocks, to be able to maintain the intensity of the workouts and prevent bonking.
I built the Saturday Bootcamp around the idea, you must fuel to preform. Most people do not realize that working out for 2.5 hours in a row is not just endurance, but nutrition. Getting this routine built in early provides us with an outline on how to complete our 5 hour bikes, or 3 hour runs and our longer brick workouts.
You must always fuel your training, this allows your body to have the energy to complete the work required, by withholding fuel during training, to say lose a pound, is a bad idea. You can hit higher intensities with fuel than you can depleted. Higher intensity will burn more calories than you actually supplement for the exercise. Taking in the right amount of calories during your training session will also prevent over eating afterwards due to your body going into a deficit. By eating less later, you will be able to focus on race weight. Once you get hungry, your body will be scavenging for a couple days trying to replace those calories you robbed it of during training.
So how many calories do you require for training, if you think it is race intensity training, use race intensity fueling which is found below. If you are completing long slow, or lower intensity workouts, try to think 100 calories every 30 - 45 minutes, remember these calories are not the same calories you are about to consume as a recovery meal after the work is done, they are consumed during the workout.
In a 2.5 hour bootcamp, you should be eating before bootcamp, at least 1 .5 hours before class if it takes a lot to digest. Once you begin class, you can think of a starting your nutrition plan at the beginning of class and every 30 - 45 minutes through the class to keep the pace high, or begin your nutrition 30 - 45 minutes into the class to allow you to just finish the class without a low energy output at the end.
For the Run/ Bootcamp begin your nutrition at home with a meal before you come, at least one gel during the run and a recovery snack that will digest quickly before we begin the bike, then proceed with gels every 30 - 45 minutes to maintain. AS we increase our intensity throughout the session you will need to increase the frequency of the nutrition as you will get closer to race nutrition requirements.
Nutrition During Taper:
During Taper there is a carb depletion and carb load that can be used for super loading.
6 days out from your event do training with 200 calories less carbs per day, this can be restraining on gels during training, do this for 3 days in a row. Make sure all workouts mimic race pace.
3 days out from your event add back those 200 calories on top of your original calorie load, this means you will get 400 calories from Carbs more than the 3 previous days. Make sure your workouts mimic race pace. This makes the body super load those calories as it was in deficit. This is a more accurate carb load and will not result in huge weight gain prior to race day. Do not eat strange meals at carb load dinners they can negatively impact race day.
24 hours before your race.
Make sure the day before the race you stay hydrated take on a few electrolyte tablets with extra water to make sure you start race day hydrated.
Race Day: Choose a breakfast you are used to, consider taking a sport drink 30 minutes before the event and a gel 10 minutes before the start of the event. Try to consume 200 calories per hour from the hour you wake, to the beginning of your race, this pays off for the run.
During the race, make sure you take a drink every 10 minutes,
1 to 2 electrolyte tablet every ½ hour
1 gel every 20 - 30 minutes.
If you choose something other than water for on your bike make sure you are not getting sick as a result of the dilution being to strong. IF you start to feel sick grab water at your next stop and switch to water, gel and electrolyte tabs.
Your body burns, more calories, loses more fluid and electrolytes than it can absorb in 1 hour. Supplementation should be done at a rate the body can absorb, not the rate it is actually losing it.
Your basic recipe for success in nutrition is to make sure you:
1. Supplement Carbs for energy requirements
Weight in kg _______ X 4 = ________Cal/hr
Do not exceed 300 calories per hour.
5 hours of racing can require 1000 to 1500 cals
2. Supplement electrolytes for absorption of fluid
Suggested dose of Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes
3 - 6 / hour with 4 being the most commonly used dose.
300 – 600 mg sodium chloride
3. Supplement fluid for proper bodily functioning.
500 – 830 mls of fluid/ hour
4. Supplement branched chain amino acids (protein) to assist brain function during long bouts of exercise.
Ration of carbs to protein is 4:1
So if your carbs = 300, your protein to add to this is 75 cals per hour.
Accel gels have 100 calories = 80 carbs + 20 protein
To time this to get your overall calories you would take
1 accel gel every 16 minutes.
You can reduce the amount you take, but never take more than this amount.
If you supplement with sport drinks you must factor in the calories from carbs that they provide, this is where racers go wrong, they forget that and do their gels on top of the Gatorade and wonder why they have GI issues.
Serving Size: 20 oz bottle; Calories: 122, Total Fat: 0.3, Carbs: 30.3, Protein: 0.1
Gatorade completes your fluid needs for 1 hour and gives you 40 percent of your carbs. You need to add 2 accel gels to complete your needs for carbs, but you won’t reach your protein goals, which may not be of any consequence.
My Plan for Race nutrition:
1 gel every ____ minutes.
How much sport drink per hour? ________________
1 salt tab every ____ minutes. Or 2 salt tabs every ___ minutes.
How much water per hour? _____________________
Don’t forget to take a recovery drink at the end of the race, I think chocolate milk is a favourite, it should be consumed within ½ hour of finishing the race, this will help with recovery.
If you take the time to figure this out you have started to plan the strategy you will practice during training. Each time you train keep notes on what you ate before and how you performed, how the nutrition made you feel. Sometimes in a hard fast ride you may find that you aren`t tolerating something and you now know to substitute it.
One of my favorite memories was deciding to eat a powerbar during my first 1/2 Ironman, I was pushing hard and having a hard time breathing and rather than slow down I just started to eat, well the first thing that happened was I started to drool down both cheeks because it was so dry, now I am trying to wipe my face, chew and oh right, you need to breath if you are still sprinting, I was nearly hypoxic when I finished clearing my mouth, because although I was drooling the powerbar was dry enough I needed to drink too, which took up more valuable breathing time, my pace slowed on its own as the lightheadedness took over. I learned a lot about racing and nutrition over the years, but that time, I learned, practice it before you race, if you know how you plan to race it, plan to train it at times to test and make sure everything works.
Keep up the training.