You hear and see the horror stories unfolding on Ironman day…
Athletes blowing up on the bike, vomiting on the run, cramping, collapsing at the finish line and being carted off into the medical tent. Ironman racing can get messy at best and dangerous at worst. Now, this can always happen to a lesser degree in other sports, but Ironman is a day when you can’t hide from your nutritional decisions.
Today I am going to share a really tried and tested nutrition plan – I used this in Ironman WA, it’s what I roll out for every race and stick to it closely. You can have a day without tummy troubles, (digestion issues or vomiting included) without any flat spots or lack of energy. There are so many uncontrollables in Ironman racing, but nutrition is one thing you CAN control and it gives you a lot of confidence that you are going to finish the race if you get the plan right.
Below is the structure of my plan so you can build yours… but let me say that this plan relies on being carb loaded and hydrated. This means 2-3 days of carb loading, reduced exercise and lots of fluids.
My best tips for making this plan work for you are:
Tip #1 Try this in training – a LOT of times! Find out which foods you can digest easily and stick to it.
Tip #2 Write the plan down – even stick it to your bike so you don’t forget!
Tip #3 Be prepared for variations on the day -Like dropping a gel – have a spare or know when you can next get one from the aid station.
Tip#4 Don’t deviate. Your mind is VERY powerful during a long day of racing, so don’t allow thoughts like “I’m sick of gels I might just skip this one” or “it’s not so hot it’s OK if I don’t have all my Bindi”.
Tip #5 Start solid and move to gels later. It’s a long day of racing so start with solid food on the bike – an energy bar or vegemite sandwich each hour for at least 4 hours will keep the gut open and digesting well. Move onto gels towards the end of the bike and then use them for the run.
Just remember – if you nail your nutrition, you allow all that hard work in training to shine through on race day. Don’t be that person who trains all year and then blows up on race day because of poor choices.
It’s amazing how often people will say ‘it just wasn’t my day out there today’. Well you know what, next time make it your day.
Hope you’re well into planning for great things in 2017 and I can’t wait to see you all go chase those dreams. I am looking forward to racing Kona in October and I hope some of you will join me there!
PS We love hearing all your ironman stories – like Sharon who also raced her first IMWA and all on Bindi too – a fantastic achievement in 14 hours 🙂