Tag Archives: nutrition

Ironman Arizona Race Tips

It’s almost here. Ironman Arizona.

After all the hundreds of consumed GU’s and Gatorades, waking up feeling like a bulldozer hit you every morning for 4-12 months, and having your drive, courage and heart tested day in and day out, it’s time to see what it was all worth. Let me start by saying Arizona Ironman 2011 was my first, and I know what everyone has gone through with training. I’ve had the days when I’ve collapsed in tears on runs wondering how I was going to piece it all together come ray day, absolutely terrified of failing. It probably didn’t help I was only 22 years old and felt a little bit over my head. However, the fear is what fueled my training, and ignited my hunger to eat this race alive. With all of this said, there’s a few tips I could have used, and want to share some golden advice so you too can have the race of your life. I’d also like to note that this is what worked for me, and by no means should anyone think these tips are the only way to go.

Pre-Race Week

Let’s start by the week leading up to the race, because I’m going to bank on the fact that anyone reading this followed their training regimen semi-closely. Emphasis on the semi. THE WAY YOU TREAT YOUR BODY THE WEEK LEADING UP TO IRONMAN CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR RACE. Why did I put that entire sentence in caps? Because you’re already at a deficit prior to your race if you haven’t been prepping your body properly this week. What do I mean by prepping? Slow down! Nothing you try to throw in last-minute with training 10 days leading up to the race is going to benefit you. As far as working out, my pre-race week taper looked like this:

Monday= Easy 5 mile run, Stretched like crazy

Tuesday= Easy 20 mile ride, Stretched like crazy

Wednesday= Easy 2,000 meter swim, couple mile jog, Stretched like crazy

Thursday= Easy swim, 30 minute VERY EASY ride, Stretched like crazy

Friday= Walked/ Stretched like crazy

Saturday= 15 minute VERY VERY LITE jog, walked, Stretched like crazy

(I didn’t do the pre-race swim which you can opt to do Saturday, didn’t want to risk catching something from the water)

Sunday= RACE!

Take note I stretched every single day. To some, you may think this was not enough. It worked perfectly for me. You’ll be going crazy this week. You’ll feel like crap. Your body will be confused wondering why all of a sudden you’re not working out for 5 hours at time, and you’ll probably feel the most restless you’ve ever felt in your life. It’s OKAY! Remind yourself how crucial it is that your repairing your muscle fibers and preparing for one of the biggest days of your life.

Onto the eating part. Do it. A LOT. But not just anything. I’m 5’6, 135 pounds. I ramped my calorie intake up to about 3,000 to 4,000 calories the 4 days leading up to the race. Yes, four. Carb loading is not effective enough one day prior to race day. You’ll read different advice on this. Some say it’s not necessary to up your carb load due to you tapping into a different reserve store in your body. Because you’re racing at a lower energy level during an Ironman, you’re using much more of your fat stores as compared to solely tapping into your glycogen stores. Meaning, some will argue it’s not necessary to pack the calories on prior to race day because the process for utilizing fat as energy is much more complicated and slower. What am I getting at with this? Well, reflect on your hardest training days. The days where I simply didn’t eat enough prior to the days before my bricks, I bonked. Whatever works for you. I sweat close to (in my opinion) what a man does, and thus felt the need to eat. And I’m glad I did. I ate a lot of veggie/protein/pasta packed meals. I also started adding additional salt to my diet 3 days leading up. Two salt stick tablets a day prior to race day, as well as a gallon of water a day. I treated my body like a queen. Slept 7-9 hours a night.

To recap: Rest, don’t throw in crazy workouts, drink water like a mad man, eat healthy, protein packed meals, and stretch like crazy. And by god don’t eat at some crazy new eclectic restaurant you discovered down the street from your hotel the night before the race. That’s just dumb, and you’re asking for it. Eat what you’ve eaten the past 9 months before your hard workouts.

Race Nutrition

Prior to telling you my magical combination of food, I’d like to again, reiterate that this is what worked for me. All of our bodies will respond differently..

I didn’t figure out what Hammer Perpetuem was until 6 weeks out from my race. Wish I would’ve known about it earlier. Who knew that you didn’t have to jam 5 Cliff Bars, 7 GUs, and a plethora of fruit down to get all of your calories in?! Liquid calories are the two key words here. The quickest way your body is going to metabolize the necessary amount of nutrition is through a liquid/powder blend. This powder is a blend of almost everything your body will need:

Here’s what my race day nutrition looked like:

Pre Race Morning: 2 Oatmeal Packets with 1 banana, 20 ounces of water, 10 ounces Gatorade, 1 GU, 2 Ibuprofen. I had the solids down by about 5:30 am (ish).

Swim:

Nada!

Bike:

Six 24 ounce bottles in total. I think at the end I had about 1/2 bottle left that I didn’t finish by the end of the bike.

Bottle #1: Purely Water

Bottle #2: Gatorade

Bottle #3: 2 1/2 to 3 scoops of Perpetuem

(Bottles 4, 5, and 6 were the same, and in my special needs bag approx. half way through). I made sure to start with water, and have my last feed bottle (Perpetuem) down by the high 90’s miles so I wouldn’t be too bloated. Bottom line, don’t get off the bike hungry, and don’t assume you can make up calories on the run.

In addition, 1 Cliff Builder Bar, 1 banana, couple of orange slices, 4 GUs, 1 Bag of GU Chomps, 3 Ibuprofens and 5 Salt Sticks. I stored these in the back of my tri jersey as well as in my bento box. I also used a rear hydration system by Xlab and had a bottle cage on the bike. Tip: I froze both of my feed bottles about a 1/3 of the way up with water the night before. I then added the Perpetuem powder on top race morning for the bike bottle. You will have access to your bike race morning (you have to drop it off in transition the day before), but not your special needs bags. The powder isn’t too tasty lukewarm, so it’s smart to half freeze the bottle and add the water later on. Another note, also may be smart to bring a cover for your bike, as it will be outside all night in transition and subject to any elements. I saw people wrapping their bikes with plastic protectors or anything they could find to cover up their brakes and components.

Hydration set up under my seat

This is a cost-effective option for a hydration system. It can however be a bit difficult getting your bottles in and out of the cages, as they’re a bit stiff. A more convenient option in my opinion, is the Speedfil Hydration System. Below is a quick video on the system.


Remember, every 15 minutes you should be doing something. Whether it’s eating, drinking, or taking a salt stick, you have to keep a steady intake going. If this means setting a timer to go off every 15 minutes on your watch, then do that if you can’t remember to steadily be drinking and eating. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about fueling.

Run

The idea here is to get off the bike feeling fairly full. If you’re getting off the bike hungry or thirsty, you’re in trouble. You’ll also find that once you get to about mile 10, you’re gonna get nauseous at the sight of GU’s. At least I did. I probably only ate about 3 Gus, some Power Bar Gel Blasts, a 1/2 of a nutrition bar, and some orange slices. I ate a few salt sticks during the run and also carried a couple Tums. I was sipping on some type of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes. I also gave into the Coca Cola at about mile 17, which was incredibly hard not to do earlier! My advice, keep eating small stuff lightly. Keep some kind of a sugar/salt intake going. If you planned your bike nutrition right, you really shouldn’t need to be taking in much. Just remember again, just as you did on the bike, do something every 15 minutes. There will be chicken broth offered later at the aid stations (towards 5pm) for those on the course a little bit later which can taste and work magic with its high salt content. You will find an aid station just about at every mile or so which I found myself slowly doing a shuffle through while eating. It’s okay to walk a bit to get your nutrition down!

The Course

Let’s start with the swim. Throw what anyone told you out the window right now. Unless you’re a pro, and starting your swim 15 minutes prior to everyone else, the water will never smooth out. When you go to get in the water, don’t wait until the last minute to jump in. I know it’s cold, but it’s important to 1. Not get stuck directly in the middle (or far back for that matter) and 2. Not get stuck near the wall. You’ll see a wall to your right. Stay away from it. Swimming is my strength and I moved to the front. I somehow still managed to have someone swimming over my back while getting kicked from the front in the meantime. All the thrashing for the first 500 yards or so is a bit unavoidable. Simply remember to just stay calm. It’s the shortest leg and will be over before you know it. I’d say your best bet is to stay to the mid-left away from the wall. The two shots below are a snap-shot of what the swim start will look like. The second photo is a much scarier one, and certainly from my perspective, a far better depiction. Wetsuits are a necessity.

Some words of advice:

Look up, often. Watch where you’re going. If you don’t, one or all of three things will happen: 1. Another irritated swimmer will give you a nice, hard jab. 2. You’ll smack your head right into a kayak or two. 3. You’ll add-on additional minutes/yardage. Learn how to spot.

When you go to get out, the stairs are pretty steep. Don’t be tough/guy, tough/woman and try to lift yourself out of the stairs. Let the volunteers lift you up so you don’t eat it and hurt yourself. They’ll literally carry you up the stairs. You’ll be so dizzy from being horizontal for so long that it’ll take you a minute to gain balance anyways. After allowing the wonderful volunteers to get you in and out of transition quickly, while putting your shoes on for you (yes, they literally do everything for you in the tent), let them lather you up with sunscreen as well. There’s a pack of 5 or 6 people ready to glob sunscreen all over you after leaving the transition tent. Very smart idea. Below is video of the swim exit. Narrated by my proud Mother. Take note of the vertical steepness. Below the swim exit video is a quick video to give you an idea of what transition looks like.

Bike! You have three loops as I’m sure you’ve already read up on. It’s not hilly. The most you have to worry about is a false flat up Beeline Highway. The biggest issue with this course tends to be the wind, as it was the year I did it. Hopefully, the wind will be at your back while going up Beeline. Regardless, I ended up being in aero position for about 95 of those miles. I opted to use an ISM Adamo Saddle, which served wonders, as it is designed for pressure-relief in aero postion.

If you don’t have aero bars on your bike for this race yet, I would highly suggest it as most of the course is flat. Below is the course outline for the bike.

The “climb” up Beeline Highway is approximately 10 miles. It really is more of a false flat. If you did any, and I mean any, hill training you should be fine. I’d say being mentally prepared to get through hours of a head wind is much more important. In my opinion, wind can be far more defeating than climbing a hill. Drafting is not legal, but there were tons of people doing so last year, for fear of literally being blown over. The wind will most likely heavily pick up on your third lap. Stay calm, and don’t try to ruin yourself on the bike. I thought having three laps was going to feel like murder, when in reality, it couldn’t have been better. You know exactly what to expect come lap 2, where to push, where not to push, you get to see your family quite a bit (awesome), and have a better time-lapse for your nutrition. If I remember correctly, your special needs bag on the bike will come at about mile 57 or so. Take time to use the bathroom! I got off my bike half way through to use the facilities. This is also why it’s a smart idea to wear a tri top and tri short as opposed to a trisuit on a race like this. Much more easy to get off. There are porta-potties all over the bike course. Just please take note to be careful when veering off the road to do so. Signal your way over. I did see a crash with this situation last year.

Run (The Best for Last)

Again, 3 laps of beauty around Tempe Town Lake.

I’d like to note that a good 20 plus of the marathon miles are on cement. Ouch. I found myself jumping on over to any patch of dirt or even asphalt I could find because my body didn’t take well to the pounding on the cement. Don’t try to use your race flats on this course. A stability trainer worked perfectly for me. Also keep in mind you’ll have your special needs bag at about mile 11 or so. The special needs bags are the bags you yourself put belongings in that you’ll need on the course. You’ll get one on the bike almost half way through, and you’ll have one on the run as well. I packed some more nutrition, some warmer clothing just in case, and a change of socks in the event that my feet got wet. Anything you think you just might need throw in there. They’re fairly large, and the volunteers are INCREDIBLY good about organizing and getting your bags quickly. The volunteers on the course are unlike anything you’ve ever seen at any race. Every step of the way they’re there to help you while cheering you on and making you feel like a million bucks. I ended up finishing at about 6:30 or so and only was in the dark for a couple miles. I could barely see during these couple miles. If you end up running in the dark, the course states you must use the glow sticks they provide. I don’t think it’s enough light personally. I’d say bring some other type of light because it really was hard to see, and you’re going to be pretty delirious at that point. Unless of course you’re Chrissie Wellington..and have more than enough light to see your way through.

This is your day. Soak up every second, and trust in the months of training you’ve done. Come prepared and don’t forget why you’re doing this in the first place. To see the finish. It’s everything you’ve dreamed of. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to thank your loved ones who’ve supported you day in and day out throughout it all. At the end of your race, I’m sure they’ll tell you as well that they felt like they did an Ironman too after cheering you on all day.

Me with my trophie. 2nd Place WooHoo!


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Bonk Breaker Bars

By far one of the best tasting “energy bars” on the market today, the Bonk Breaker Bar has taken on quite some traction as a gluten and dairy free food!

The bars come in a variety of flavors: Peanut Butter Jelly, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Almond Butter Honey, Espresso Chip, and Peanut Butter Banana.  I got a chance to sample one of the newest flavors – Espresso Chip – a few days ago.  As a self-professed caffeine addict, the bar was up to par without question.  Packed with 80mg of caffeine (think 1 can of red bull, 1 can of rockstar, or 2 cans of coke), the Espresso Chip Bonk Breaker will give you the additional kick you need to restart your engine for the final bike length home.

See more nutritional products like the Bonk Breaker.

Honey Stinger Gel

A gel that’s made out of Honey?  It’s true.  Honey Stinger Gel is a gel with one of its main ingredients as honey.  I got a chance to try it a few days ago, and liked it!
The gel itself has 120 calories, making it stack up to its competitors quite fairly.   It’s gluten free, so if you’re on a gluten free diet, it’s a perfect gel for you.

The taste and texture?  Surprisingly thin.  It’s thiner than the most popular gels out there, but perhaps thicker in consistency compared to Power Bar’s gels.

Interested in more gels?  Check out this nutrition page to see more energy gels.


FRS Soft Chews Review

FRS has come out with these tasty soft chews, which encompass a blend of vitamins and antioxidants aimed at giving you a nice boost during training or racing. Amongst the ingredients in the chews is a flavanoid called Quercetin, which is naturally occurring in nature. Quercetin is found in many vegetables and fruits, serving many benefits, (mos important in the case of training and racing) an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as extending your body’s natural adrenaline. Per FRS’ Website on Quercetin: “Its incredible benefits were first discovered by scientists searching for a way to give chemotherapy patients more energy. In further studies, Quercetin has been clinically proven to boost your immunity while raising your levels of focus, energy, and fitness. It works by triggering your cells’ ability to produce more real energy.”

In comparing antioxidant levels amongst berries vs FRS Chews:

Per 1 serving, there’s 2X the amount of antioxidants as a serving of blueberries, 6x the amount of one serving of raspberries, and 7x the amount of a serving of apples.

The individually wrapped chews (perfect for on the go travel) come in 4 tasty flavors: Pomegranate Blueberry (my favorite), Pineapple Mango, Orange, and Lemon Lime.

Perfect on the go energy source! Get them at One Tri.

Honey Stinger Waffle

This is the Honey Stinger Waffle.  Tasting more like a cookie or snack than a “nutritional” product, the Honey Stinger Waffle is great for rides, and can be easily tucked in a jersey pocket.  Dense and kind of chewy, it doesn’t crumble easily.



The Honey Stinger Waffle comes in a single serving wrapper and is made with USDA certified organic ingredients.  Your kids will love them, which could be an issue if they end up eating all of your nutrition.

Interested in more?

Gatorade Pro Series Prime G1 Pouch Review

Finally got around to trying one of these before our group swim out in Corona Del Mar before work.  The Gatorade Pro Prime Pouch might look like an oversized gel packet, but nutritionally, it’s so much more.

This stuff tastes good, was easy on my stomach, and provides the calories, carbs, and electrolytes I’ll need.  It’s a winner when it comes to hydration/nutrition category.  The reason I like this is that you can easily consume this just like a gel packet right before a race or a workout, and there wouldn’t be much worry about any digestion issues.  The bonus is that because it’s in a liquid form, it’s a lot easier to put down than a gel!

Gatorade G Series Pro

!! NOT THE SUPER MARKET GATORADE!! –  Look carefully, these are rare Gatorade G Series PRO products. They look like stuff in the big stores but they are not. These are different.

The special Gatorade G Series Pro formula is new and exclusive to niche specialty sporting goods stores such as OneTri.com.   Divided into three stages of nutrition fueling, each product is formulated to meet an athlete’s needs during training and recovery.

Pre Game Prime G1

Pre-Race/Pre-Event fuel with B vitamins to help convert carbohydrates to energy.

Usage Times:  Drink 15 minutes prior to the start of training or a race.

Nutritional Information (4-oz pouch)

  • Calories: 120
  • Electrolytes: Sodium 110mg, 30mg Potassium
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • 20% DV Vitamin B3
    • 20% DV Vitamin B5
    • 20% DV Vitamin B6
  • Carbohydrate: 30g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Flavors: Lime, Berry

Perform Endurance G2

14 grams of carbs per serving to replenish spent energy during activity.

One canister makes 19-24oz servings or 57-8 oz. Servings. Each canister is 32 oz.

Gatorade Pro Recover G3

Post performance protein and carbohydrate rehydrating beverage formulated to stimulate glycogen replenishment and promote protein synthesis in muscle after exercise.

Usage Times: Drink within 30-60 minutes after training or competition

Nutrition Information (per 8oz serving)

  • Calories: 110
  • Electrolytes: 105mg Sodium and 40mg Potassium
  • Carbohydrate: 20g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Flavors: Mixed Berry, Orange

SaltStick Review

With all the nutritional products on the market, we as triathletes are often left confused with what we really need. Between balancing carbohydrate consumption, calorie counting and protein intake, it’s easy to see why sodium can be an tricky monster. Not enough and you’re cramping, too much and you can easily end up in the medical tent.

Let’s look at when you really need additional salt and why SaltStick is clearly genious. Any time you’re racing or training longer than an hour you’re sending your body into some kind of (larger or smaller, depending) salt depletion. Longer than three hours, you’re at a definite depletion and it might be time to consider a salt supplement. So what’s in a SaltStick Capsule? Isn’t it just table salt? NO. Per Salt Stick’s webpage, it’s the combination of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride which all aide in assisting with crucial roles in muscle contraction, relaxation, and performance. Without them, our muscle function will be inhibited to function properly. So how much salt are you actually losing? A whopping 400-1,000 mg per hour (heat, humidity and body size considering). Salt Stick notes to take 1 capsule every 30-60 minutes. This is very dependent upon how much you sweat. If you find a white residue that seems to be dried on a lot on your training clothing you’re most likely a heavier or saltier sweater. Training in harsher weather conditions will most times often warrant needing a higher salt and sodium intake particularly due to heat stress.

I myself was having a very difficult time with fatigue and nausea, and found out I was a heavy sweater and was losing large amounts of salt during my long rides. Once you get up to the half ironman and full distance, Salt Sticks are going to become a staple in your nutrition. Please be sure to follow all of their advice when taking salt tablets.

Nutrition Facts

Hydration Tablets – Nuun and GU Brew

Hydration tablets, such as Nuun and GU Brew Tablets, are the most convenient form of hydration in our nutrition for triathletes category.

Unknown to a lot of athletes and those new to the sport are  electrolyte solutions in a tablet form that dissolves once you drop it into water.  Containing none or nominal amounts of calories, these tablets taste great, and help keep you hydrated while you train or recover from training.

Do they work?  You betcha.  Taking one of these to prevent or to recover from a hangover after a night out is conclusive proof.  But enough about last weekend.

onetri nuun

Nuun

Calories: 8

Sodium: 360mg

Potassium: 100mg

GU Brew Tablet

Calories: 10

Sodium 320mg

Potassium: 55mg

Everyone in our office is crazy about them.  During training and on longer course triathlons, these are great because they’re in tube form, and you can easily carry them in a jersey pocket or a special needs bag if needed.  Looking at the numbers above, you can see that both products have the key ingredients of sodium and potassium as an electrolyte replacement.

Nuun has the edge on GU Brew Tablet in terms of nutritional raw numbers, but when deciding which one to stick with, it’s best to sample one of each to see how well you like the variety of flavors.  My favorite is the Nuun Kona Cola.

Carbo Pro Energy Drink

The Carbo Pro Energy Drink Powder is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates for endurance activities.

As a ready to mix powder that can be dissolved into water or any other sports drink, the formula provides 112 calories per ounce serving.  It’s flavorless, so it wouldn’t kill your water, or what you’re usually drinking during the bike or run.

What makes this product special is that as a glucose polymer, it does not create a hypertonic solution in the gut, which is often caused by most sports drinks which have monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, corn syrup, galactose, etc.).   So if you’re the type of person who might have difficulties with certain nutritional products, Carbo Pro is certainly worth trying.

Carbo Pro product is also recommended for carbo-loading as well.  It contains no added sugar, wheat (Gluten), yeast, preservatives, artificial color or flavor for those with allergy concerns.

Quite a few staff members are either devout users, or recent converts when it comes to Carbo Pro.

Check out Carbo Pro, and nutrition solutions on the nutrition page.

GU Chocolate Mint Review

At the urging of a fellow co-worker at OneTri.com, and awesome triathlete, I sampled a GU Chocolate Mint.

What’s it like?

Imagine trekking through a rural village in the Swiss alps.  You’re hungry, cold, and homeless for the night.  It’s snowing, and you need shelter.  Upon finding a single and desolate house still lit, with the chimney on to boot, a family welcomes you in, and feeds you a glorious meal.

At the conclusion of dinner, they tell about a special and modest dessert that they eat only on special occasions.  They decided to make it, as you and your girlfriend have been quite the enchanting guests.  They spread the finished product on a sweet biscuit – it looks like chocolate spread.

The both of you take a bite, and you’re transported through some of the sweetest life moments.  Your first kiss, your first successful bike ride when you were 7, and the first time you make it down a black diamond back in college.

The night wraps up, you go to bed, and you return home back to the States several weeks later.  You’re unable to find this dessert again, and no one seems to know that you’re talking about.  After tremendous despair, you find you’re able to get it at OneTri.com in the form of Chocolate Mint GU when looking for triathlon gear.  See more gel solutions on this link GU nutrition.

Life is complete.

The Nutrition Facts:

2nd Surge Gel

Intro

A new nutrition product came into the warehouse recently – PacificHealth Lab’s 2nd Surge nutritional gel. The company behind Accelerade, PacificHealth Lab has been a pioneer in sports nutrition. What makes 2nd Surge special is the fact that it uses all natural ingredients of carbs, protein, caffeine and antioxidants formulated to delay the onset to mind/muscle fatigue during endurance events.

Taste
Awesome.  It has a mild consistency, and falls within the mid range of thickness in comparison to GU and PowerBar’s gels.  Alvin tells me it tastes like candy.
Caffeine
It contains 100mg of caffeine, which, if my memory serves me correctly, is 20mg more than a can of Red Bull, or about double shot of Espresso Clif Shot by Clif.
Nutrition Facts