Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nutrition for Ironman

I’m in the midst of learning a very important lesson in ironman training.  Nutrition.  I actually have a pretty good base of general sports nutrition.  For example, I know that I should be drinking approximately 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes of activity.  I also know that my caloric requirements are much greater than normal because I’m working out, at minimum, for an hour a day.  On any given day, I need at least 600-800 calories extra to keep up with my workload.  Lastly, I need to be consuming at least 100 calories per hour WHILE training if I’m going longer than an hour.  
This is still not enough water for an 80 mile bike ride!

Until Ironman training, this was my standard.  I did have a hard time keeping up with water requirements during exercise, but I’d usually make up for it afterwards fairly easily.  Recently though, I have totally scratched all my previous “standards” for sports nutrition.  Apparently, when you start working out twice a day, and doing long workouts over 3 hours (in the heat and humidity!) standards go out the window. 
Over Memorial Day weekend, I did a 2 hour run on Sunday and Brian and I did an 85 mile bike ride on Monday.  Biggest workout weekend thus far!  CRAZY 
 Anyway, for my 2 hour run, I brought a water bottle with me and a pack of chomps (basically carb-filled gummies).  While I could’ve drank a little more water on the run, I figured I had done a good job of fueling myself.  Not the case.  The rest of the day I was totally drained and dehydrated.  After my run, Brian and I went to Denny’s and I ate a full Grand Slam.  Sounds like enough recovery food, right?  Eggs, Hashbrowns, Sausage, Toast… all that fat, I was sure to feel better. Wrong!  I came home, pooped out on the couch (still sucking down gallons of water), and then went to a friend’s BBQ.  My friends made some excellent cookout food and I chowed down on all of it, but still by the time I got home and got my bike stuff ready for the ride the next day, I was starving again.  Brian and I ate some burgers and then went to bed (I NEVER have anything but a light snack before bed, but there was just no way I could go to sleep that hungry!!)

I'll probably need at LEAST this many Gus for the Ironman
Ain't it the truth?!

Monday morning, I woke up and had a regular-sized breakfast and then Brian and I drove out to Davidsonville to ride a course we found on mapmyride.  The weatherman was calling for 90 degrees and 80% humidity so we tried to go as early as possible.  We took off at 8:45 for a planned 79 miles.  On my bike, I have 3 water bottle holsters.  I put regular water in my front bottle (between my aero bars), electrolyte water in my back bottle, and Perpetuem water in my middle bottle.  If you’ve never heard of it before (most people haven’t), Perpetuem is the best thing to happen to Sports Nutrition since Gatorade.  This mildly-flavored drink mix contains 270 easy-to-digest calories, electrolytes, and some other legal ergogenic supplements (ie caffeine).  Needless to say, I heart it.  One bottle of this baby should be enough fuel for a 3 hour ride.  However, to supplement it, I also took along 4 Gu gel packs and a half a pack of chomps.  In total, I brought approximately 72 ounces of water and 770 calories of energy.  More than enough for a 5 hour ride, right?
Brian and I were doing just fine until we finished our plain water 40 miles into the ride.  We had gotten turned around twice at this point, but were pretty close to back on track.  I took my last sip of plain water and then “thank heaven for 7Eleven” (like the reference?!) because out of nowhere popped up a Sev’s gas station.  Even though I was properly fueling, I was still actually hungry for some real food so I went into the store,  bought the biggest water they had (it filled both Brian and my water bottle!) and a Clif bar.  We split the Clif bar--an additional 120 cals. each—filled our bottles, and took off.  Well, the second half of the ride was not only hillier and hotter, but also about 4 miles longer than the first half.  We had expected the little off track excursion we had in the beginning to add an extra mile to our journey, but not 5.  In the scope of things, the difference between 79 miles and 84 miles sounds minute, but when you’re out on the road, 5 miles is huge.  Brian and I both ran out of water and every source of fuel before the ride was over.  That’s a total of 96 ounces of water and 890 calories consumed on the ride, and I was dehydrated and flat (not enough energy) by the end of it.  
So now I have to figure out how to keep up.  For 84 miles on its own, it’s not TOO detrimental to bonk at the end of a long ride.  I can just chug an entire Gatorade (yep, within 2 minutes it was gone), and then eat a giant meal to help me recover.  However, when a century ride plus a few miles is sandwiched in between a long swim and a marathon, I have got to do better about keeping up with my water and calories.  It’s a good thing we still have about 3 months until Ironman because I need to get this right! 

Oh and here's something else I have to start thinking a little harder about:

When we applied sunscreen before our rideI was standing up.  Then we rode for 5 hours in a bent over position with my shoulders protracted.  'nuff said.  Maybe next time we'll think about that.  For now, I'm bathing in aloe!

No comments:

Post a Comment