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Ironman Nutrition

Published articles

This is an attempt to work out what people say about Ironman nutrition.  As a lot of this stuff is copyrighted, links have been added.

Coach Gordo article

Gordon Byrne (Gordo) has a recommended stratergy [ here]

Slowtwitch article

Slowtwitch has an article by Dan Empfield [ here]

Crucible Fitness article

Richard Strauss (Crucible Fitness) has an article [ here]

Beginner Triathlon article

Beginner Triathlon has an article by Dara Wittenberg [ here]

* Swim: 1 gel at turnaround (keep in arm/leg cuff of wetsuit)
* Bike:

(a) 340ml of water in first 20/30 mins

(b) every 20 mins: about 100 to 150 calories (200 to 300 cals per hour for 145/150lb woman, 300 to 450 for heavier man) - any combination of liquids/solids

(c) try alternating gels/solids

(d) drink water with gels/solids (rather than sports drink to avoid doubling up calories)

(e) easier to eat calories on the bike than run - stock up earlier

* Run

(a) walk through aid stations to ensure sufficient hydration

(b) same calories as bike

(c) e.g. 700ml of water per hour, 700ml of Gatorade per hour, 3 gels’s per hour (300 calories)

* Take some salts

* Total fluid intake should be around 1 litre to 1.2 litres per hour

CoachKP article

Kevin Purcell (CoachKP) has article [ here]

Performance Training Systems article

Kristen McCowen has provided her “Rookie Ironman Nutrition Analysis” [ here]

EnduranceCoach article

EnduranceCoach has an article by Coach Brendon [ Racing Event Nutrition.htm here]

* Bike - Fluids: Try 750ml of fluid per hour.

* Bike - Food: 70kg 12hr triathlete: try one banana and 750ml sports drink (6.5% to 8%) per hour

* When running, you will probably only be able to consume 80% of what you did on bike (e.g. 600ml per hour)

* Consume water/energy every 15 minutes

* Experiment and see what is right for you

* Discusses what happens if things go wrong:

1. Nauseous but stomach not full: concentration of carbs is too high

2. Stomach bloated: drinking too much or sports drink to concentrated

3. Run out of energy but legs are fine: oh dear, ‘you are stuffed’ eat a bit more next time or slow down next time

4. Cramps but well hydrated: drinking too much

Powerbar article

Powerbar has an article by Greg Cox [ here].  It contains quotes from Mitch Anderson who won his age group at Hawaii 2002

* Aim to consume 1 gram of carbohydrate per kg body weight per hour (e.g. a 70kg athlete could consume 750ml of a 7% drink (50g of carbohydrate) and a gel (20-32g depending on gel) to meet goal of 70 grams per hour).

* Likely to need to consume 600-1000ml of fluid per hour.  May need more if you don’t drink too much on run.

* May need to consume extra sodium (may not be enough in sports drinks) - e.g. a vegemite sandwich

* Have a variety of flavours (e.g. savory and sweet) as flavour fatigue can set in

Bodyhealth article

Bodyhealth has an article by by Kim Loefler [ here]

* Fuelling begins on the bike. Split bike into three bits:

(a) First 2 hours: Wait until 30 minutes into bike.  Kim carries 3 bottles on her bike (300-350 calories per bottle). She also take 1 gel per hour for a total of 1000 calories for the first 2 hours (i.e. 500 calories per hour)

(b) Middle 2 to 3 hours: 350-400 calories per hour. She tries to drink 1 ½-2 bottles of the sports drink offered on the course, along with a Gel every 60-90 min.

(c) Last hour: Kim increass her calories to around 400 by taking an extra gel with 15 minutes to go on the bike

* Run: Wait until mile 2 then sports drink every mile. Kim also take a gel at mile 6-7, 13-14, 20 and maybe 23. She takes water with every gel to help with absorption.

* The key to a successful is listening to your body.  Kim weights 112lbs. has an article [ Here].  This discusses some of the scientific research on Ironman nutrition.  One of the conclusions was that participants need to consume nearly 350 calories an hour to fuel optimally.  An interesting quote was:

* “Downey and Hopkins did a random sample of 59 finishers of an Ironman distance event. They concluded: Finish time for 59 triathletes in an Ironman triathlon correlated highly with rates of carbohydrate and water intake (r = -0.65 and -0.51). Triathletes with below average intakes of carbohydrate and water can therefore expect to achieve worthwhile reductions in finish time of around 5% from moderate increases in intake (Downey & Hopkins, 2001)”

Tri Newbies

Tri Newbies has an article by Bob Seebohar [ here].  It contains info on pre-race and post-race nutrition.  In terms of what to do in the race:

* Consume between 60 and 100 grams of carbohydrate per hour

* Consume between 24 and 40 fluid ounces per hour (roughly 700 to 1,100ml per hour)


Ironman Live has an article on post-race nutrition [ here]

It basically says:


* Aim to drink between 20 and 24 fluid ounces (roughly 600ml to 700ml) containing sodium for every pound of pre-race weight lost

* Aim for 100mg to 200mg for every 8 fluid ounces (roughly 250ml)

* Don’t drink lots in too short a time

* Don’t drink alcohol


‘’‘Within 15 to 30 minutes’‘’: Consume 50 to 75 grams of carbohydrate (200 to 300 calories) OR 1g carbohydrate per kg body weight. Best to use high glycemic carbohydrate sources (such as sports drinks, soda, cookies, sandwiches and pizza). Also aim for 6 to 20g of protein.

‘’‘Within two to six hours’‘’: Repeat the above every two hours. Ideally have a proper meal between finishing and bed.

‘’‘Next day’‘’: Breakfast similar to what you ate race morning. Also eat a carbohydrate based snack every two to four hours. Aim for 10g carbohydrate per kg. Emphasize whole grains, lowfat diary, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

‘’‘How many calories in carbohydrates?’‘’

There are 4 calories in each gram of carbohydrates.

Category:Ironman Training
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