Members Chat with Nicole DeBoom, 2004 IMWI Winner.

author : NDeBoom
comments : 1

Our members chat with Nicole DeBoom on Ironman nutrition strategy, Ironman training philosophy, off-season focus, her 'secret' IM food, favorite races, and her new clothing line and race series.

Last night we broke a chatroom record for the most people in BeginnerChat.  Why?  Well, Nicole Deboom took the time out of her busy life to directly chat with our members. 

Nicole is the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin winner, raced pro for a number of years and has started her own fitness clothing line, and also a race series, SkirtChasers.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Hey guys, Nicole DeBoom here! Ok, this is my first interactive chat. What on earth do you want to talk about?!

[parrj] Why don't you start with a quick background about yourself?

[dodgersmom] Tell us everything you know.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I was a college swimmer, went to Yale, graduated in '94. In '95 I met Tim on an airplane.  Raced as a pro from 99-2005 at that time I started and now I'm in the business world, exercising every chance I get...!


[rstocks3] Tim is alive!!!!!

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Yes, Tim is very alive and kicking! He is cooking dinner for me as we speak! He says hi from behind his apron!

[rstocks3] How long did you do tri's before you got into Ironmans?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I started racing in 94 and did my first IM in 2000 in California.


[Ontherun] Nicole, what was the hardest thing for you to learn when you started to race as a pro?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] The hardest thing to learn as a pro was probably how to stay balanced. It is easy to get 100% caught up in tri life and forget how to live like a normal person! One of my biggest pieces of advice is to make sure you take an off-season. Don't do anything specific, just work out for fun!

[JoshKaptur] *raises beer to lips and admires bicep* (off-season workout in progress).

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Every year we took 2 months for the off-season. No structured workouts. It allows you to have a long, healthy career. It's okay to pack on a couple lb's. makes the early season more fun to work 'em off!

[rstocks3] Would you consider Master's swimming over the winter a break?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Yes, Masters is a break if it is fun and you don't have to wake up at 4AM!


[JoshKaptur] We of course want to know what YOU are training for?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I'm not training for a specific race right now. I did the Big Sur Marathon this year and a few sprint tri's. I jump into every running race at which we expo for SkirtSports. Next weekend, Tim and I are both running a 5k in Savannah.

[rstocks3] Are you still swimming competitively?


[ Nicole DeBoom ] I don't swim competitively, but I may want to start again sometime. I think masters meets are so fun. Never got to swim the 100IM as a college swimmer!

[dodgersmom] What can you tell us about IM race day nutrition?

[Trigods] Nicole, one of my biggest challenges is nutrition and finding the right balance and trying to keep it simple. Can you go thru what you would use doing a IM? i.e. gel before swim, what on bike, and then the run?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Okay, the nutrition question is so personal. I will share what I learned and how I managed mine:

20min before the swim, a caffeinated gel, after the swim I would take a few minutes to shake it out and then take a gel within 15 minutes of getting on the bike. It's important to drink immediately as you've been without hydration for 45min - 2hours out there.  On the bike, I went by feel and mood. When I got crabby or a general mood change, I usually knew it was food related - that I missed a window. So I would make sure to take bites of whatever worked for me every 15-20min, not an entire bar, but something. I would alternate solid food and gels.


[ Nicole DeBoom ] At IM Wisconsin, I probably at 12 gels on the bike, a banana, a Powerbar, a Larabar and an oatmeal creme pie. But then on the run, I only took 2 gels and some electrolyte drink the entire time.

[El Flaco] Favorite gel flavor?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Fave gels are Powergel caramel, green apple and Gu's new chocolate mint. For nutrition there is no perfect plan, the only thing to remember is that your original plan will not go as planned! So be prepared to change it up.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] In every race I carry salt tabs and take them approx 45 mins. I like Thermolytes by Sportquest. I also bring Advil just in case. And I always bring Tums cuz you never know if you will have digestive distress!  The reason I say nutrition won't go as planned is that conditions are never the same as you practice and you will
also be going harder no matter what!

[CitySky] Oatmeal Creme Pie! Totally worth the price of admission.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Dude, oatmeal creme pies are sold at most gas stations. They're like a secret weapon for me. Not standard nutrition, but you need to eat what you do in training. I buy Little Debbies at the gas stations, so I always have one in an Ironman just in case.


[Writebrained] kind of training snack. (clyde, here)

[El Flaco] Do you keep all of this in a special needs bag or do you carry all of it on the bike?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I used to have used a bento box and they work as long as your knees don't knock it. You can also put your secret weapons in your special needs bag for sure. And if you drop something, go back and get it. Not worth it to save 20 seconds...

[rstocks3] IMWI was my first IM. Has that been your favorite venue?


[ Nicole DeBoom ] As for IM courses, I did love Wisconsin, as I won there!   Though I tend to favor the hardest courses, and Madison is a tough bike ride.

[tbatt] IMFL07 was my first Ironman and I had difficulty trying to figure out what I needed in my trans bags.. .what do you normally have in your T1/T2 bags?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] In my T1 and T2 bags, I would always have the essentials like caffeinated gels and Advil (just in case). Also more lube in case you're chafing.

[Lucy] Oh! speaking of chafing, can we talk about the skirts?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Sure, I love to talk about SkirtSports!

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Sweet! Have you heard about our new SkirtChaser race series for 2008? SkirtChaser is coming to 7 cities in 08... it's a 5k with a 3minute head start for the Skirts! $500 for the first across the line in each race. AND A HUGE party afterward.

[foolproof]  I'm a little interested in how you started the company?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I started SkirtSports in 2004 and won IMWI in a prototype of a skirt we later launched in the line. I was looking for hot, sexy, super performance apparel that gave me a little inspiration to get out the door.

[foolproof] Was it hard to get your own line manufactured?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Yes, it took longer and cost more money to get the line off the ground than i ever thought. I learned everything from the bottom up. I took all phone calls at the beginning and we shipped out of our basement.  We are moving into year 4 and it's looking good.  You would never realize how far in advance you need to plan. we are in development of our Fall 2008 line now and will start Spring 09 very soon.

[trigods]  My spouse loves your skirts and has a ton of them, she does ultras.

[ADollar79] Nicole...what are some *must do* races (those you enjoyed the most) for those of us looking to branch out from our home regions?

[CitySky] And favorite non-Iron distance races?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] My faves include: Auburn International Tri, Escape from Alcatraz, Boulder Peak, St Croix, St Kitts, Memphis in May

[Daremo] So Nicole...what was your take on Florida this year? You got stuck in one of the AG packs. Was it as bad as they say out there? I didn't not get sucked into any, but saw a few .....

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Daremo, I didn't do FL this year.

[Daremo] You didn't??? Thought you did .... sorry!!!  I was thinking of Amanda Lovato... got my tri spouses mixed up.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] No worries, did you do it? I wasn't there...

[Daremo] Yes, my first IM ... learning experience for sure!

[ Nicole DeBoom ] What did you do wrong? Best way to learn!

[Daremo] I'm a cyclist by history, but did not train enough for the bike so after hitting a 2:28 split for the first half of the bike I blew it..had some serious breathing issues in the run and had to walk most of it...dismal day but I made the best of it!

[ Nicole DeBoom ] What the heck were you doing? Don't go so hard on the bike! (sorta kidding...!)  Actually Tim and I always say the one of the biggest problems is taking the bike out too hard. The way Tim has always put it: go slower than you think you can when you're starting on both the bike and run. Try to negative split them both.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Just learn from the top guys...Larsen kicked @ss on the bike but ran a 3:20 for 9th place. Norman finally learned how to run and now he has 2 weapons not just one.

[Daremo] My problem is that I come out of the water so far behind everyone in my AG that I crush the bike to try and catch up. Then it is just hold on for the run. That works in shorter races, but not IM length.

[ Nicole DeBoom ] The goal is to not have a weakness. I was a cyclist for a while too, then became strong in all 3 and started making a living at the sport! I still think you have to be more patient on the bike.


[Daremo] That is what everyone always tells me...patience...but the bike is the most fun!! Did you focus on one activity significantly more in the off season to make up the weakness?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Yes, I spent some serious time logging real running hours and I found that it paid off but I had to be careful to avoid injury. I like to do "big weeks" in training to get ready.

[parrj] What are "big weeks"?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] So for instance, 6 weeks out is a HUGE bike week, 5 weeks out a BIG run week, 4 weeks out all around week. 3 weeks out a big swim week. Then you taper.

[rkreuser] Some folks do 3 weeks on, then a down week. Do you do a huge week, or something else?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] I would only do 2 big weeks and then an easy week, usually followed by a local speed race. My biggest training weeks, and remember, I wasn't working another job, were just over 30 hours. More than that and I was FRIED.  When I trained full time for Olympic distance, I averaged 18-22 hours per week.

[marmadaddy] Nicole, how much do you sleep during those weeks?


[ Nicole DeBoom ] I am a sleeper. I average 8 hours a night.

[Daremo] Most of the issues people here seem to run into (myself included) is budgeting their time. Any suggestions you might have that worked for you? As in how to fit the training in?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Yes, I struggle now to budget time. Tim and I have been arguing about my lack of balance!

[trigods] Nicole, how do you and Tim handle a relationship with training big hours and getting a new company going. I know training for a IM is so hard on relationships and family. How do you pros do it?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Okay, trigods, do you know us?!!!!

[El Flaco] How do you both find time to train and continue to build a marriage?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Actually, we have been married since 1996 and we have been through quite a few changes.  Any time there is change, whether good (winning Ironman and all the accolades that come with it, starting a business, etc) or bad, there is stress.  We don't have kids, none on the way either at this point.  I have to say that before Tim "made it", life was much I have created a little empire that is complicating things even more. Perspective is important. Friends are critical. Not talking about triathlon all the time is important too.

[kaqphin] What keeps you motivated to keep doing it?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Motivation for me now is about healthy living. I haven't raced pro for a year or so, but I stay in shape because I love working out. I just go a lot slower now.

[trigods] You never told us what Tim was fixing you for dinner?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] Tim's making coconut curry veggies with brown rice.  I'm a bit surprised at his culinary expertise. I'm not sure where this is coming from. He's trying to impress me!

[El Flaco] So what is your biggest motivation? Money? Podiums......etc.?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] When I was racing, I wanted to make a living, so the money was important but it didn't drive me. In the end, I could care less about money, just need enough to live. I was most motivated by how much fun I had racing. I liked racing much more than training. I would get so excited to start the race!

[foolproof] Would you talk more about motivation?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] foolproof, do you need some motivation?

[foolproof] Yep. I love swimming (slow), love biking, love running it's just stringing it all together.


[ Nicole DeBoom ] foolproof, here's my advice. Go find something you like to do, do it with some friends (bedroom activities excluded) and have a fun winter. Start your training in January.


[foolproof] Season starts in March.


[ Nicole DeBoom ] Start "for real" in January, train your way through your March/April races with no pressure and aim for good results in May-October.   You need to focus on some races as training races. Not every race can be a PR. It's more fun when it doesn't matter anyway!

[Lucy] Did you get the post IM blues?


[ Nicole DeBoom ] I got the post IM blues pretty bad. Tim got them much worse, even years that he won...

[trigods] Nicole what is a guilty pleasure food that you treat yourself with?

[ Nicole DeBoom ] My guilty pleasures involve food, drink, staying up far too late, and sports in which I might hurt myself! I love burgers and onion rings for a post race food. Tim prefers the vanilla milkshake

[ Nicole DeBoom ]
Hey everyone, the curry veggies are hot off the stove. I think I am gonna wrap it up. Any last questions?

[foolproof] THANK YOU!

[jldicarlo] Enjoy the curry!

[Daremo] Thank you so much for your time!

[sue7013] Thanks for coming to BT Nicole

[Lucy] Thanks for playing with us.

Look forward to seeing your new lines.

YUM! Thank you for coming by Nicole!


[Daremo] Say hi to Tim!

[rstocks3] Thanks so much Nicole. This has been great!!!


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date: November 29, 2007


Nicole's triathlon career has been a remarkable and quick climb to the upper echelon of elite racers. She made her pro triathlon debut in 1999 by competing in the US Triathlon Series (USTS). In 2000 she competed in her first Ironman distance event (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile marathon), finishing third in the California Ironman and 12th at the Hawaii Ironman World Championship.

In 2005 Nicole founded SkirtSports Inc., a fitness-skirt specialty company that featured pink-based fitness skirts, designed by a female athlete, for female athletes. TRIKS clothing can be worn in marathons, triathlons, during gym workouts, etc. They can be worn from gym to grocery store, beach to barbecue.


Nicole's triathlon career has been a remarkable and quick climb to the upper echelon of elite racers. She made her pro triathlon debut in 1999 by competing in the US Triathlon Series (USTS). In 2000 she competed in her first Ironman distance event (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile marathon), finishing third in the California Ironman and 12th at the Hawaii Ironman World Championship.

In 2005 Nicole founded SkirtSports Inc., a fitness-skirt specialty company that featured pink-based fitness skirts, designed by a female athlete, for female athletes. TRIKS clothing can be worn in marathons, triathlons, during gym workouts, etc. They can be worn from gym to grocery store, beach to barbecue.

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