Sunday, October 7, 2012


I attended a lecture a couple weeks ago on race day nutrition. It was very informative and I'm really REALLY glad that I went. Nutrition is often referred to as the "fourth leg" of the Ironman. Mess up this one leg, and your day is going to miserable, cut short, or end up in the hospital.

The golden rule of race day nutrition is not to try something out that you haven't already tried during training.

So, these past couple of weeks I've been trying out what I learned from this lecture.

Hydration is not about drinking as much fluid/water as possible whenever possible. That approach can actually get you real sick, or even lead to hyponatremia which is superbly dangerous and can become fatal. Ideally, fluid consumption should be about 20ml per hour. I think on rides with my Little Giant, I was drinking too much water, but the next topic is where I was really faltering.

Electrolytes. Ideally, sodium should be taken at 400mg per hour. That may seem like a lot, but I know for me at the end of a ride, my skin is very salty. That means that I've used a heck of a lot of sodium. I've also been experiencing thigh cramping at the end of some longish rides, and calf cramping at the end of the Marquee run this Spring.

I got some salt stick tabs and a little coin purse to keep them in during a ride. I tried them out during this morning's ride. One, I wanted to see if they were going to have a negative effect on my tummy - no. Second, I wanted to see if my leg cramping would be helped. I tell ya....IT'S A MIRACLE!!!!! Although I could feel muscle fatigue, I did not have that just about to cramp sensation. HOOOOORAAAAY!

Calories. During the bike leg plan on taking in about 150-300 calories per hour. Half that amount during the run. The body is definitely burning more calories, but the stomach can only process about that amount per hour. During my reading of Rich Roll's "Finding Ultra" he talks about bio-available foods. These are foods that your body can quickly put into use without extended processing. Think trying to run, or anything else, after a huge steak dinner. ugh.

I experimented with making some rice balls and I've been trying them out the past couple of weeks. Again, to see if my tummy gets upset or gurgly, and to see if my energy levels are maintained, or at least don't bonk.

My rice balls are made with brown rice, quinoa, chia gel and pink himalayan salt as a base. Variations include roasted seaweed, with flax meal and coconut oil, or almond meal, goji berries and coconut oil. i make little balls and bake. So far, so good. No upset tummy, and no bonking. I'm not sure of the calorie content, but If I eat two every hour or so, seems like I'm doing well.

A few more weeks to perfect the nutrition plan in time for the Big Dance, but I feel like I've taken a HUGE step in the right direction.

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