April 2010 Nutrition Chat with Coach Marni Rakes

author : mrakes1
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[Contradoublebassman]  What is the best type of recovery drink? I usually have chocolate milk after a workout plus some kinda meal.

[mrakes1]  I know there is quite a bit of current research on chocolate milk but I would stick with skim milk or whey protein (mixed with milk or water) and then a balanced meal post workout. If you can't eat a meal within 45-60 min after your recovery drink, I would suggest making a smoothie or having some type of carb w/ your milk/whey protein but otherwise, stick with a quality protein source as soon as you can post workout and then choosing a real-food meal to give yourself plenty of good nutrients.

[Contradoublebassman]  What do you think of bananas as a post workout food?

[mrakes1]  Banana's would be better post workout than before (as a solo fruit) since they are a sugary fruit (yet healthy one!). I think a banana and glass of milk would be a perfect recovery snack or part of a meal (ex. oatmeal w/ milk and banana). If you are choosing a banana pre-workout, add a little PB or nuts to balance things out.

[Gregkl]  If I am supposed to eat my pre-race meal three hours before the cannon blast, that means I get up at 4am and eat immediately. Some say I need the sleep more. Your advice?

[mrakes1]  This theory is most important before a race to give yourself enough time to digest the food. I recommend eating your pre-race meal (night before) around 5-ish so that you go to bed at a reasonable time (hopefully but don't worry if you can't sleep-your performance shouldn't be affected) you will get a restful night of sleep. I think 4-4:30am, before a 7am start is a good time to eat your pre-race breakfast. An extra hour of sleep isn't going to hurt/help your performance so my suggestion is to try to get in bed an hour earlier the nights before and regardless if you fall asleep earlier, at least you are laying down and resting.

[Gregkl]  Okay, I can handle that. So even if I don't sleep well, I shouldn't stress over it?

[mrakes1]  Research shows that sleeping (or lack of it) the night before a race doesn't contribute to a poor race performance. I find that it is really important to get a good nights rest on the days leading up to a race so that in the case of a restless night of sleep before the race, you don't have to stress about it.

[mrakes1]  What race is it?

[Gregkl]  IMWI.

[mrakes1]  That's right. Well in the case of an Ironman, 3:45/4am should be enough time for your meal (500-600 calories) of a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fat.  Can't wait to meet up there! I'm getting excited but haven't started my "IM" training yet. I am doing a half on June 5th so gearing up for that.

[Gregkl]  I am in my 5th week, but trying to think more about my June Oly, August HIM so I don't get too worked up!

[mrakes1]  That is a good idea...no need to rush those long workouts. Train yourself to become as efficient as possible right now (intervals/tempo during the week, long-er stuff on the weekend) and you will find that IM training will be much more enjoyable.

[Gregkl]   That's exactly how my plan is structured except I am trying to get my long run in on Thursday and a short recovery run on Sunday. It didn't work this week due to work, but that's okay, I just flipped it.

[mrakes1]  We all have different schedules. You do what works for you so that your body can recover and get stronger. My husband is a Cat 1 cyclist so we travel a lot on the weekend for his races so March and April my training changes A LOT.

[Gregkl]  Here is my next question: If I am supposed to consume 28 oz of water per hour and take in fuel in the form of liquids, how do I drink all that? It would be like 48 oz of fluid per hour. Am I missing something?

[mrakes1]  You have it somewhat right. Aim for 24-28 ounces (I think we discussed before that 28 is good for you) of fluid but in the form of liquid calories.  Therefore, mix your powder w/ your water so that you are consuming calories on an hourly basis meeting both your liquid and calorie recommendation.  Just account for extra's like gels (or solids after the 3rd hr of riding) and those calories. However your primary calories should come from liquid calories.

[Gregkl]  Okay, so if I mix a "one hour" bottle of fuel and drink it, I will get my water needs and fuel needs met if I drink a few more oz of pure water?  I use 24 oz bottles.

[mrakes1]   Yes, you can always grab water from aid stations if you want to have a gel or some other treat during your long races but I recommend carrying the calories that you are comfortable with.

[Gregkl]   Therefore carry three "fuel" bottles, one water bottle, and reload in special needs? Get my water from aid stations?

[mrakes1]  Based on my experience with IM, there are several opportunities to grab water from aid stations so if you are comfortable taking in gels (to meet calorie recommendations) you may find that a bottle (24 ounces) of your sport drink will carry you through 90 min of riding during an IM.

[Gregkl]  I am planning on a six hour bike.

[mrakes1]  I wouldn't carry a water bottle unless you grab it at an aid station and happen to have a free cage. I would recommend only carrying sport drinks so that you know you will get your calories in during the race. As for training, if you have planned stops and you bring along your own powder or plan to switch to gels and water then you could do two sport drink bottles and water.

[Gregkl]  So I could use two bottles and add some gels to reduce the amount of bottles? Okay, so aid stations are frequent enough to grab water, take a drink and drop it?  I kinda wanted to race IM without gels.

[mrakes1]  Here's my thinking: carry three bottles (three cages on your bike) of sport drink w/ your calories. Then when you get to an aid station, grab water (you don't have to at every station but you may want to for cooling). Taking into account those 8-ish ounces that you drink at the aid station with your water, you can take in a gel in the next 30 min and don't have to worry about sipping from your sport drink. In doing this (1 bottle sport drink, 1 big sip water at aid station, 1 gel) you should find that you can get through the IM without special needs and with your three bottles (I recommend saving one bottle for the last hour of the ride so that you know you are finishing the ride and starting the run with your well-practiced drink).

Even if Gatorade isn't your sport drink of choice you can still grab it as a source of calories (unless your stomach just doesn't tolerate it).

Your training is going to determine how you finish so as long as you are doing the IM at a trained HR you should find that any source of fuel will help you get to the finish line so long as you don't over/under-do it and pay attention to what works well with your body.

I would suggest some type of solid food (piece of bar one time an hour after 3rd hr of biking) if you don't want to use gels just so that your stomach doesn't get sloshy. But experiment and see how you do on the bike with only fluids. Find what works for you in training.

[Gregkl]  So you really think I can get enough calories off three bottles (I use Infinit) for a six hour ride?

[mrakes1]  My thought is that you really don't need to start your REAL fueling strategy until 45 min on the bike (You can take a sip when you get on the bike but you will probably want to get into a rhythm and get out of town).

[Gregkl]  True, and I am taking the first 40 miles pretty easy.

[mrakes1]  So if you are planning a 6hr bike and one bottle (including aid station) will take you 90 min. That puts you at three hrs with just with two bottles. You will probably go through your middle bottle pretty quickly since that will be in the middle of the ride but by four hours, you should have one bottle left (which I recommend saving for hour five). So really, you could grab a Gatorade and still only take three bottles with you.

You can put powder in your special needs bag or a mixed bottle just in case but if your stomach tolerates Gatorade and you don't think you need to stop I think you could do it. Remember, it's all about the training and teaching your body to be as efficient as possible.

[Gregkl]  I can tolerate GE on the run, so I should be able to handle it on the bike. I practice running with it now. I could easily practice with it for my rides

[mrakes1]   You will have plenty of opportunities to grab water so as long as you are meeting your calorie needs you should be fine. Just keep practicing.

It is good that your tummy tolerates it on the run. My suggestion is to "train" with a more efficient sport drink that is maltodextrin based so that your body can get stronger and faster and more efficient. Although you will be using Gatorade during the race, you will find that your training will be more likely to improve by using a more slower digesting sugar drink (compared to Gatorade) during your running sessions. See if you can find another sport drink for training just so that you can improve.

[Gregkl]  Okay, I can use my Infinit. I was using GE for running since that is what is one the course and I wasn't going to carry my own for the run.

  That is smart to practice what is on the course. I think your Infinit will be more beneficial to your training right now.

[Gregkl]   Thanks a lot for all your help! Have a nice evening!

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date: May 24, 2010



Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!



Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!

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