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AP's training tip # 5

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I hope this one doesn't degenerate into an argument over commitment levels and family values, it is pretty well common sense but so many get it wrong on race day

Training tip # 5

Race day feeding, trust your intuition.

In half Ironman and full Ironman races, a huge percentage of disappointments can be avoided. How often do we talk to people who’s training suggested they were set for a great race, then on race day they had gut issues, or simply run out of legs in the run. Over feeding and under hydrating has ruined so many good races.

We all know that training consistently to a gradually increasing plan, in each of the three sports will set us up for a good race. The people who swim well, swim often – the people who ride well, ride often – and the people who run well run often. But there are so many possible traps to cause us to undermine our expected performance.

Most of us who are training for a half Ironman or a full Ironman race will put aside 12-16 weeks to prepare for it. I suggest 16 weeks is an ideal time to allow.

In that 16 weeks assuming that the last 2 weeks are freshening up / taper weeks, it leaves us with 14 weekend opportunities to get our feeding right. We have the opportunity to rehearse our feeding plan in all sorts of workouts. Most Ironman run performances are limited by the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients. It’s a big day of work.

To do a big day of work, no matter what it is whether it’s laying bricks or swimming the English Channel, it has to start with a good breakfast. Practice our race day breakfast several times each week. Get it right, this is the foundation for your race. For most it needs to be a balance of protein, carbs and fat, to keep our blood sugar levels stable up to start time.

We need to be aware of starting our bigger workouts and race days, fully hydrated. In cooler weather we may not be drinking enough through the previous day and start a workout under hydrated. I get the guys in my squad to weigh themselves before training and after the bike and again after the run, in test workouts. Most of the daily fluctuations in body weight are due to fluid levels.

If we drop as little as 2kg on the bike we can seriously suffer later in the run, once you start running you can’t absorb enough fluid to “catch up” to where you should be. But the important figure is the percentage of your body weight that’s been lost, not just the kilos. 2% or more is troublesome.

With our fuel intake, what we have for breakfast has to suit you, not necessarily what suits someone else. What you have during your workout needs to suit you, your gut. There are so many different gels and drinks on the market. Test – rehearse – test – rehearse – test – rehearse – you have lots of time, get it right, be aware of the type of sugar in the gel or drink.

I have tested products with the following sugars, sucrose, maltodextrin, Birch Xylotol, D-ribose, dextrose, sucralose, honey, glucose – of this list four of them don’t suit my gut. Often people have had a bad race because they have used a product with one of these sugars in it that doesn’t suit them.

When you try different products in your rehearsals be aware of how you feel right after having it. Your intuition will tell you right away, if it feels right, it generally is right. Base your race day feeding on your rehearsals.     

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I may be skipping ahead to future Mondays but how many "gut issues" or "running out of legs on the run" are due to over-biking?

We know you guys do lots of rehearsal long TTs etc but I also know that a lot of others long rides are often with a small or large group, not specific in terms of constant TT power outputs, or just "noodling" around for 6 hours from cafe to bakery.

Then come race day they expect to be able to not only ride the whole ride at a steady power output as in training but actually aim higher due to being tapered.

Then blow up and try to feed themselves back into the race..

anyway, dont disagree with what youve said above but curious on your experiences with gut excuses..

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I think this "overbiking" problem arises out of the fact that far too many people don't treat the Ironman as a race from the swim start to the run finish - look at the way successful ultra runners approach their events - they aim to do the first 5km at close to the same pace they'll do their last 5km

If the mentality of even pacing from swim start to run finish is taken on, a lot of "ego based over biking" problems don't crop up - as little as 10% of the field are actually racing the last 20km of the run 😏

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Al can you share with us your feeding plan starting with dinner the night before,  breakfast on the day then during the race?  I know it's not necessarily something everyone could or should copy but would be interesting nonetheless.

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2 hours ago, A2K said:

Al can you share with us your feeding plan starting with dinner the night before,  breakfast on the day then during the race?  I know it's not necessarily something everyone could or should copy but would be interesting nonetheless.

It is very individual - some dispute the benefits of carb loading (I still load up for a couple of days) - some say lack of salt doesn't cause cramping - I still take it - some abstain from alcohol - I usually have a glass of red the night before the race as I do most nights of my life

Because we're so dependant on our stomach's ability to absorb nutrition I believe it's a good idea to avoid foods that are hard to digest in the week before the race - then someone comes up and quotes Ryan ---- living on junk food 

Of the athletes I have known over the years many are sensitive to wheat in their diets, quite a few are sensitive to dairy foods , some are sensitive to sugar, I personally have a beer now and then but I know it's not good for me, wine is fine. If you know that you don't feel as good after eating something, it's a sign, it probably won't kill you but it may handicap you on race day.

I will be using special needs in Cairns, even if I have to buy the bags (never heard of such bullsh!t in my life) I carry all my own nutrition - all I have on the course is water of coke plus my own gels

On the bike I have two mineral drinks like Endura - one protein/carb drink like Endura Opti - then pick up the same again at special needs - on the run I carry salt stick caps and gels, then pick up coke as I need it 😎 but everyone needs to experiment and rehearse 

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Probably a lot of quiet nodding by viewers as they read AP's post. Not much arguing as well.

As AP said, it really is trial and error for your individual requirements. I personally can't stomach endura products but I do understand how some folks rave about them.

I rave about Hammergel products as I've found them easier to digest. It took a few years of trial and error before I got the right product that suited me. I haven't changed in ten years. And no I don't get any kick back for endorsements. 

As for pre race meals. Hawaiian pizza for me. Has the right balance of carbs and sodium for me. Don't need to worry about salt tablets during a race. 

Edited by Greyman
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As for pre race meals. Hawaiian pizza for me. Has the right balance of carbs and sodium for me. Don't need to worry about salt tablets drying a race.

 

This is a good example of the differences between athletes stomach's - If I had a pizza the night before I'd be giving my competitors an advantage

I regularly go to a Chinese acupuncturist who is a herbalist as well - one day she took my pulse and asked "what you have for dinner last night?" I said pizza , she said I thought so - my stomach doesn't handle dairy foods so the pizza had affected me enough to show in my pulse ???? 

Rehearse - rehearse - rehearse 😎 know what suits you

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15 minutes ago, AP said:

This is a good example of the differences between athletes stomach's - If I had a pizza the night before I'd be giving my competitors an advantage

I regularly go to a Chinese acupuncturist who is a herbalist as well - one day she took my pulse and asked "what you have for dinner last night?" I said pizza , she said I thought so - my stomach doesn't handle dairy foods so the pizza had affected me enough to show in my pulse ???? 

Rehearse - rehearse - rehearse 😎 know what suits you

Don’t listen to him AP. That freak has pineapple on pizza. He probably cuts the course as well. 

You mention people over biking. A quick look at the results for your age group over the last fee years. Has you with a faster swim/run or only a few minutes off the winners in both legs.

 But they are putting 10+ minutes into u on the bike. Is it time to start training on your weakness compared to others in your age group? 

Maybe try something different to hill repeats? Speaking to a couple of guys in my bunch ride & they said to do hill efforts correctly, you should plan for a lot of recovery between attempts.

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25 minutes ago, AP said:

This is a good example of the differences between athletes stomach's - If I had a pizza the night before I'd be giving my competitors an advantage

I regularly go to a Chinese acupuncturist who is a herbalist as well - one day she took my pulse and asked "what you have for dinner last night?" I said pizza , she said I thought so - my stomach doesn't handle dairy foods so the pizza had affected me enough to show in my pulse ???? 

Rehearse - rehearse - rehearse 😎 know what suits you

My stomach can no longer handle gels. My Bento box is full of "Natural" lollies.

AP I am a sceptic. Next time you go to your acupuncturist get her to take your pulse and ask her what she thinks you had for dinner the night before. "Wisely" confirming something that the client has just told them is a trick used by clairvoyants and fortune tellers.

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6 minutes ago, Ironnerd said:

My stomach can no longer handle gels. My Bento box is full of "Natural" lollies.

AP I am a sceptic. Next time you go to your acupuncturist get her to take your pulse and ask her what she thinks you had for dinner the night before. "Wisely" confirming something that the client has just told them is a trick used by clairvoyants and fortune tellers.

Next thing you’ll be telling me my power balance band and homeopathic treatments don’t work...

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I'm 3 weeks into my first base training cycle and I'm already rehearsing different nutrition strategies for my run legs. I tend to fuel really well on the bike, but neglect it on the run so I'm making a conscious effort to turn that around. Even now, I'm eating something before I leave for my run to simulate quickly eating in T2 (last week it was half of a Clif bar) and then eating halfway through my run (whether that be a gel or another Clif bar or something else). Not only am I learning what my stomach likes or doesn't like, but how I feel after I've eaten - whether I feel sluggish afterwards or feel a bit of a perk up. 

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AP I am a sceptic. Next time you go to your acupuncturist get her to take your pulse and ask her what she thinks you had for dinner the night before

I have been going to her for 20yrs - and she only said that once - she takes the pulse on both arms in different places and gives me acupuncture accordingly - she keeps me tuned up - I go weekly in an IM prep instead of massage - old trucks need a lot of maintenance  

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Not only am I learning what my stomach likes or doesn't like, but how I feel after I've eaten - whether I feel sluggish afterwards or feel a bit of a perk up.

This is so valuable - the race gets serious 20km into the marathon - this is where your mental game and your nutrition/hydration come together - if you get that right you run past people who have done much more training but got this part wrong 😥

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On 15/04/2019 at 8:06 AM, AP said:

I hope this one doesn't degenerate into an argument over commitment levels and family values, it is pretty well common sense but so many get it wrong on race day

Notwithstanding real or perceived antagonism in the #4 tip thread, I thought it gave some good insights into what those at the pointy end of some of the most competitive AG categories are doing (in particular including training volumes).

As an observation, I would offer that based on the timing of activities showing on the Strava profile of one of the athletes mentioned (as being close to KQ), he has a more accommodating employer and spouse than most of my family, colleagues and friends.

 

Edited by trilobite

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