Planning Race Nutrition

15 03 2010

After my nutrition FAIL over the weekend (I admire those that can be good all the time and think about fueling their bodies 100% of the time.  Me, I guess I need a little peanut oil every once and a while!)  I thought a nutrition post was in order.  I think I got all the gunk out with a few great workouts yesterday.  I’m often asked to help develop nutrition plans for long racing events.  Because I am not a nutritionist I can’t perscribe a diet or plan, but I do think I do well at helping folks develop their nutritional race plan.

The first word of advice I have is to develop a plan.  Then make a plan B.  You would be surprised how many people go into a half marathon, marathon, century bike ride or half ironman with no real nutritional plan and certainly no back up plan in case the plan A goes bad.  What will you do at mile 16 of the marathon when that one flavor of gels that you have been training with for 3 months tastes so bad the though makes your stomach churn?  How about mile 35 of the half ironman when your ONE nutrition bottle that is perfectly mixed to get you through the rest of the 56 mile bike rockets off the back of your bike?  Plan, Plan, Plan.

Lets take the example of someone doing their first half ironman.  First step is to figure out your caloric  needs.  There is no absolute formula to determine how many calories one needs during exercise.  As a general rule I begin at 200 cal./hour on the bike and add or subtract as needed.  On the run I will begin folks at 100 cal/hour and go from there.  Best way to find your perfect number?   Long workouts are not just for training your endurance – they are the perfect time to dial in a race nutrition strategy.  I think I tend towards the minimal nutrition plan, as a 130lb. athlete I take in 150 cal./hour on the bike and about 75 cal./hour on the run.

After you know your caloric needs it’s time to decide what type of calories you need.  Liquid, solid, simple sugar, complex carbohydrates, protien, electrolytes . . .So much to learn and so many different opinions!  You can find solid evidence to support any and every plan you can imagine.  I won’t get into the debates, I will simply tell you to try out several different options.  Don’t assume because your BFF insists that you need to take in 100 calories of soy protein by XY company that you actually have to do it!  Your nutrition plan is just that – yours.

I began my distance racing by taking in liquid and solid – complex carbs and protein.  As my years of racing (and my nutrition fails) have built up I feel like I have dialed in my nutrition plan pretty closely.  I have given up the solids and the protein.   For me, protein just doesn’t sit for me during my training and racing.  For years I used Hammer nutrition products because they use all natural ingredients and are a gluten free company.  The only problem was that the taste.  I liked the tastes of Heed and Perpeteum for a while.  Then I gagged it down.   Here’s the thing – you might be able to gag it down in training,but in a race when your body is in pain – you are pushing your limits – there will most likely be no gagging down.  Instead you will stop taking in calories.  Then you will resort to trying new things on the fly – things that you have not tried in training and more often than not will not work.

So, you have figured out your caloric needs, found the right type of calories for you – don’t just try it during your long, easy paced workouts.  You need to try your product out when your h.r. is at race pace.  What works great in zone 2 doesn’t always work when zone 4 throws you into the pain cave.   Got it all down?  Now assume it will fail and develop a Plan B.  Planning on living off the course and using the nutrition products available on course?  Develop a plan for when the aid stations run out.  Two words:  it happens.

I was thrilled when Team Trakkers partnered with First Endurance.  One check of their website to see those golden words – Gluten Free and I was ready to jump on the F.E. train!  So far I have tried the EFS Liquid Shot, EFS Drink and the Multi-V.  The taste is much better and so far there has been no gagging down.  Because we have tons of Hammer product left my husband decided to just finish it off – no sense in throwing away $$!  One try of my fruit punch flavored EFS Drink and all of a sudden the HEED is out the window.  Paul has joined me on the First Endurance band wagon!

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3 responses

15 06 2013
Home Page

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter
to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

11 07 2013
Jenny

I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your
site. It appears like some of the text in your posts
are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me
know if this is happening to them too? This may be
a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Cheers

29 07 2013
Carrie Anne

I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at
this web site is really fastidious.

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