Tri to be different
For those of us who have only done Sprint and Olympic distance races and who may be a little unsure of race nutrition for the longer races, I wanted to start a discussion on what YOUR fueling plan is during a race. Whether you're racing a half or full iron distance triathlon this year, there seems to be a lot of opinions on how to implement a fueling plan during a race. Assuming that we all know that
1. You need to test out your fueling during the long training rides/runs
2.You need to figure out approx how many calories to consume per hour so you don’t hit the dreaded WALL.
3. You need to do what works best for you so that you don’t have GI problems in the middle of the bike or run. There’s nothing worse than wondering if you’re gonna make it to the next porta potty or not.
So my current plan for Oceanside 70.3 is based on the assumption that I’m going to be on the bike for over 3 hours and hopefully running for a little over 2 hours.
During past marathon races, long training runs/rides, I experimented a lot with all the various gels (Gu, Hammer Nutrition, Crank Sports, etc) as well as the chews/gummys (Cliff Blocks, Chomps, gummy bears, Swedish fish). I learned that I’m not skilled enough to run and chew at the same time without choking or gasping for air. So having said that I prefer the gels rather than chews. The only thing irritating about the gels is having the sticky fingers or sticky handle bars. I preferred to use the Crank Sports E-gel because the packets are 50% larger than a GU (150 Calories vs. 100 calorie Gu )and it just seems easier to keep track of when to eat. For me, I need to take an E-gel every 45-50 minutes during a long race. Crank Sports Cherry Bomb, so yummy.
So knowing that I have a tough time eating more than 4 of these larger than normal sized gels during a race. I’ve decided to only have solid food (Honey Stinger Waffles or Cliff Bars) and electrolytes (Crank Sports E Fuel) on the bike. That Cherry Bomb gel is not so yummy anymore after eating gels for more than 3 hours. If you have never had the Honey Stinger Waffles, you really need to try them out. They are so freaking delicious during a long ride or even sitting on the couch!
So I plan to eat the Honey Stingers during the first hour of the bike, take in all my calories from the E Fuel bottle during the 2nd hour, and then eat again in the 3rd hour. E-fuel comes in concentrate form, so I if I need too I can refill a bottle at an aid station and not have to worry about trying to mix a clumpy powdered electrolyte. I normally don’t’ like using electrolytes at aid stations because you never know what concentration of calories you’re going to get if it’s mixed by a volunteer. On a 3 hour ride, I’ll typically go through 1.5 bottles of electrolytes (210 calories per bottle) and a bottle of water.
Lastly, because I’m a salty sweater, I typically have to take SaltStick Caps every 30-minutes. Otherwise, my muscles don’t cooperate after 3.5 hours. BTW…I’ve heard that the salt will help buffer your stomach and aid in the digestion and absorption of the gels.
The little mini M&M plastic containers or ZipFizz containers are great for storing those SaltStick Caps during a race.
During the run, I’ll take 1 or 2 gels and SaltStick Caps with me, and just stay hydrated with water.
So what do you like to stuff into your Bento Box or carry on the run during a 70.3 or 140.6? What type of “cocktail" will you mix in your electrolyte bottle? What mistakes have you’ve made in the past in regards race nutrition?