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2011-10-18 9:30 PM

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Subject: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

Hello experts! After a great season of sprints and my first OLY distance, I'm ready for my next challenge – 70.3. I have my eye on the Charleston, SC race in April that looks fast, flat, and won't be sweltering. 

My biggest ?? is nutrition on the bike. Would love any pointers, links or experts you could direct me to. I've found a training program that I like, but it lacks the nutrition information.

 

Thanks for any advice; I look forward to becoming a more active member here in the coming season.   



2011-10-19 12:22 AM
in reply to: #3729293

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

http://www.infinitnutrition.com/

I have been using this for 3 years now, from ironman to 70.3s. You can create a bike formula and a run formula. Send them a message that you wish to speak with someone and they will call you. I find it hard to eat while I`m biking/running so this works great for me.

Cheers

2011-10-19 9:25 AM
in reply to: #3729293

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

You need to take on carbs, preferably easily digestible ones, and do so gradually.  This generally translates to anywhere from 200-400 cal/hr on the bike for people.  You should include calories from Gatorade or any other sports drink.  The remainder can be had from carb drinks (like Infinit, referenced above), gels, bars, blocks, etc.  Some people like to have some solid food, but it is certainly not necessary (and, strictly from an ease of digestion perspective, not optimal).  Some amount of electrolytes is also a probably a good idea.  If you use a sports drink, that will often suffice.  if you only drink water, you may need some electrolyte tabs (or, again, a drink like Infinit which combines calories & electrolytes).

Once you get to the run, you will likely cut your intake roughly by 25-50%.  If you can keep it to drinks/gels/etc on the course, you will make life easier for yourself.

Test out your nutrition in some of your training rides and bricks.  Get used to taking in a small amount of calories at regular intervals and see how much you can comfortably digest.  Take note if any source of calories causes unusual 'distress' (e.g., some people find fructose to be more difficult to digest making pre-mixed Gatorade, and the like, less-than-optimal sources for much of their nutrition).

It's not as complicated as many people try to make it, but it is an important consideration in longer course racing and you are right to think about it as you begin your training.  Good luck!

2011-10-19 9:27 AM
in reply to: #3729293

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

Keep it as simple as you can and practice it in your long rides at race pace/race conditions.  You'll see a range of recommendations for calories/hour - 300 is a number I see often and you might want to start experimenting in that neighborhood.  Otherwise, you gotta dial in your salt/electrolyte and water intake.  These are both condition and individually specific.  There is no golden rule with water/salt though.  Less is more, you don't have to finish the race with a full tank.  You want to avoid GI distress and bonking and cramping. 

You'll see a lot of people say they don't 'like' this brand or that brand.  In reality the products aren't designed to be like candy or steak.  They are designed to keep you fueled up and hydrated. 

2011-10-19 10:15 AM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

2011-10-19 10:36 AM
in reply to: #3729824

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 11:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

A VO2max test is NOT essential.  There are cheaper, and better, ways to estimate your needs.  I'd go so far as to say it is essentially useless.  The biggest drivers of what substrates (fat/sugars) you burn during exercise?  Diet & fitness.



2011-10-19 11:00 AM
in reply to: #3729875

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
JohnnyKay - 2011-10-19 11:36 AM
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 11:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

A VO2max test is NOT essential.  There are cheaper, and better, ways to estimate your needs.  I'd go so far as to say it is essentially useless.  The biggest drivers of what substrates (fat/sugars) you burn during exercise?  Diet & fitness.

JohnnyKay,

You disagree with my suggestion.  That's fine.  Why don't you answer the OP's questions about how many and what type of calories should be consume during HIM training/racing.

I got a VO2 max test for $100.  Among the thousands I have spent in 2 years in this sport, that $100 was the most beneficial FOR ME.

Alan

2011-10-19 11:07 AM
in reply to: #3729824

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

japarker24 - 2011-10-19 10:15 AM

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.

Did you take in 600-900 calories and hour during your IM?  Almost all the information says that it doesn't matter what you expend, the fact is your body can only process around 300 calories in an hour.  That's why you have to perform in zone 2 so a lot of the energy comes from your stored fat since it's impossible to keep that many carbs in your system.  Not attacking you at all, just curious.

For the OP.  I would just make sure I take in 300 calories an hour on the bike.  Don't take in 300 at once each hour, set a timer on your watch or bike computer and eat and drink every 12 or 15 minutes.  I drank Gatorade and ate a Clif Block every 15 minutes.  I took in 133 calories of Clif Blocks and 150 in Gatorade each hour.  On the run I gelled at the first aid station.  I decided to stop the Gatorade and just drank water.  The run is short, 2-3 hours, so gelling every hour worked fine for me.

I think most people screw up by not taking in enough at the start or eating too much and getting sick.  I would also recommend taking a few salt pills.  I didn't but I know a few very good triathletes that have cramped up 30 minutes after the race due to dehydration from lack of sodium intake and too much water on the course.

Main rule has been said before, practice.  It's part of your training.  There's a video here in the Articles section of BT that covers a lot of this also.  Good luck and get to training.



Edited by dhwebb 2011-10-19 11:08 AM
2011-10-19 11:11 AM
in reply to: #3729824

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 8:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

Those percentages from Friel are relative to what you burn, not what you should intake.  You're not going to replace every calorie you burn during a race.

And no one needs to intake fat while racing - your body has enough fat to keep you going for days on end.  The 600 calories of carbs, I'm skeptical that you can digest that much but that number is going to vary with your body weight and how easy you take it on the bike.

2011-10-19 11:23 AM
in reply to: #3729824

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 11:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

 

where does one go to get your Vo2 max test...The last time I got it done was back in college and I am really interested in getting it done.

2011-10-19 11:30 AM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
spudone - 2011-10-19 12:11 PM
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 8:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

Those percentages from Friel are relative to what you burn, not what you should intake.  You're not going to replace every calorie you burn during a race.

And no one needs to intake fat while racing - your body has enough fat to keep you going for days on end.  The 600 calories of carbs, I'm skeptical that you can digest that much but that number is going to vary with your body weight and how easy you take it on the bike.

The OP asked for advice and I gave my n=1 experience.  My nutrition plan may not work for many people, but at least the OP has information to review and can use his/her own judgement.

I used EFS liquid shot (washed down with water) and Ironman Perform for calories on the bike in Louisville.  On the "run", it was mostly gels, but by the end I was trying multiple things just to make it to the finish.

In training, I was bonking on my long workout days, usually around 70 miles into the bike.  That was because I was using Hammer gels at the recommended rate of 1 every half hour (about 200 calories per hour).  Obviously, that was not working for me and the VO2 max test shed light on this fact.  Once I got my nutrition dialed in, I was about to train and race properly and ultimately cross the finish line.



2011-10-19 11:31 AM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 12:00 PM

JohnnyKay,

You disagree with my suggestion.  That's fine.  Why don't you answer the OP's questions about how many and what type of calories should be consume during HIM training/racing.

I got a VO2 max test for $100.  Among the thousands I have spent in 2 years in this sport, that $100 was the most beneficial FOR ME.

Alan

No offense, but I already answered the OP's question directly.

I am gald you are happy with the money you invested in your test.  But, it won't stop me from telling people my opinion that is is mostly useless for them.  It's factually not essential, your feelings notwithstanding.  I realize my opinion will not stop people from getting them done for whatever reason.  That's OK by me.

2011-10-19 11:38 AM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
japarker24 - 2011-10-19 12:30 PM

In training, I was bonking on my long workout days, usually around 70 miles into the bike.  That was because I was using Hammer gels at the recommended rate of 1 every half hour (about 200 calories per hour).  Obviously, that was not working for me and the VO2 max test shed light on this fact.  Once I got my nutrition dialed in, I was about to train and race properly and ultimately cross the finish line.

It may very well be that 200 cal was not enough for you.  But, it may also be that your fitness level improved as you trained and kept you from 'bonking' (technically, there is almost zero chance you were bonking on 70mi rides with 200 cal/hr).  And there's the problem with n=1.  No 'control' in your study.  You only know the end result, not what caused it.  Again, not arguing that something more than 200cal might not have been beneficial to you (it is definitely on the lower end of what people tend to use).  But, you could have (should have) experimented with more if it did not seem like enough.  You didn't necessarily need the test to tell you that.  Using '300 and going from there' is not really bad advice.

2011-10-19 12:09 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
900 calories in one hour would be yak city for me.

Edited by ctbrian 2011-10-19 12:10 PM
2011-10-19 12:28 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

ctbrian - 2011-10-19 1:09 PM 900 calories in one hour would be yak city for me.

900 calories is what I burn, not what I consume.

2011-10-19 12:46 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

I just want to add that for a HIM it is important to learn what your minimum per hour is instead of your max if it's an IM.  This will help you carry a higher heart rate without GI melt down.

 

FWIW:

I'm about 165lbs and on the bike I take about 200 per hour for a half, but a little bit over 250 per hour for a full.



2011-10-19 1:22 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
Don't discount the potential for a really hot day in April in Charleston. It won't be July/August hot, but it will definitely be over 80 degrees and the run does not have a lot of shade.
2011-10-19 1:29 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
Here:

http://www.hammernutrition.com/downloads/PUM.pdf

Everyone is different, this worked for me.

2011-10-19 1:42 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

I just completed my 1st HIM a couple weeks back and although it was my first Tri ever I aslo went by the 250-300cal/hr rule. As mentioned this is your starting point based on studies as to what the avg person can absorb during excercise (not what they expend).

Part of your training should be nutrition where you experiment with how much, what products, liquids vs solids, etc. Also, be aware that this likely can change for bike and run. To be more specific during my race I had 1  bottle of accelerade/hr, 1 gel, and 1/3 energy bar ( i like solid in my tummy and not so much for nutritional needs). Basically I got just over 300cal/hr on the bike.

During run I went to 1 gel/hr and alternated energy drink and water at aid stations. I am fortunate to have an iron stomach so tolerate anything relatively OK. Some people have very specific needs in which case you might have to bring your own nutrition. Check to see what your race will have and try to train with it to have the most confidence

2011-10-19 7:22 PM
in reply to: #3729946

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
spudone - 2011-10-19 11:11 AM

japarker24 - 2011-10-19 8:15 AM

Some good advice here so far, but I would like to take it a step further.  In long course racing (HIM and IM) I feel that a VO2 max test is essential.  Nutritional needs are so individual, that you can't just use a number like 300 and go from there.

Here's what I learned from my VO2 max test:  At a heart rate range of 150-160, moderate to high for me, I need approx 900 calories per hour and at least 600 of those should be carbs (vs fat).  I don't think I would have ever gotten close to this number if 300 was my starting point.  Information came, in part, from Joe Friels blog: 

http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/10/fat-burners-and-sugar-burners.html

Without the information I gained from the VO2 max test and Joe Friel's numbers, I honestly think I would have been a DNF at Ironman Louisville.

Alan

Those percentages from Friel are relative to what you burn, not what you should intake.  You're not going to replace every calorie you burn during a race.

And no one needs to intake fat while racing - your body has enough fat to keep you going for days on end.  The 600 calories of carbs, I'm skeptical that you can digest that much but that number is going to vary with your body weight and how easy you take it on the bike.



It's impossible to absorb that many calories. Here is the science.

If you are 170 pounds and using a single source carb (Hammer, Carbo-pro, most gels) you are limited to about 240 calories per hour MAX absorbtion rates.

170 pounds, using a multiple source carb product (INFINIT, First Endurance, Powerbar) those numbers jump to > 300 cho per hour.

So it depends what type of product you are using as to the number of calories you can absorb. You WANT SOME COMPONENT OF SIMPLE SUGARS IN YOUR PLAN. Nothing wrong with maltodextrine, but it should not be used by itself.
2011-10-19 9:35 PM
in reply to: #3730248

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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

Oh I figured it'll be warm - I did the Bridge run this year - but I like that the course seems flat, and I am trying to stay away from June/July/Aug for my first HIM. Do you have any additional info on that race? Will it be big enough that it might have a thread on the race page? Would love to chat with more people doing the race - I'm coming in from out of state.

 

Thanks again for weighing in on the nutrition answer!



2011-10-19 9:40 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

Thank you all for taking the time to weigh in with your thoughts and experience; it's exactly what I'm looking for, as I appreciated even learning how much should come from food versus liquid. All conversation is appreciated.

I'm 130lbs and a MOP performer in pretty much each event, so would you estimate that to fall in/around about 200 calories/hour consumption? I haven't done any heart rate training, although I do plan on learning more about it before I start the official training. 

 

thank you (all) again for the insight!

2011-10-19 11:37 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice

One thing I'd add - for long races, esp IM, try to stick to your plan but bring a backup item.  That might be a small gel flask or a clif bar or whatever.  You could miss a handoff at an aid station or not get the drink you want or maybe something just doesn't settle well.

2011-10-20 9:29 AM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
You are on the 'smaller' end.  I would suggest starting towards the low end of 'normal'--say in the 200-250 cal/hr range--and adjust from there.
2011-10-20 9:55 PM
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Subject: RE: 1st HIM - seeking nutrition advice
Here is what I do:

Two 20 oz water bottles on the bike with infinit (but virtually any electolyte/carb based fluid-gatorade, perform, powerade, etc will work) mixed to about 250-300 calories/bottle.

A gel flask on the top tube with 4 gels (approx. 100 cal/gel or 400 calories).

My goal is to drink both bottles of fluids over the course of the bike. If I finish the electrolyte mix I will drop a bottle and get a new one of whatever is on the course.

As I see each aid station I suck about the equivalent of one gel out of the flask. At the aid station I grab a water bottle and wash the gel down with water (not a good idea to use your electrolyte/carb mix to wash down a gel). I drink as much water as I can, the rest I pour all over my helmet and jersey and then drop the bottle by the end of the aid station.

I also carry a Cliff bar in my jersey pocket in case I get really hungry but I rarely will eat it--I am trying to basically stick to all liquid nutrition.

If I take in everything (except the Cliff bar) it can be as much as 800-900 calories for a 2.5 hour bike split. This puts me pretty close to the 300-350 cal/hour that everyone talks about.

Lastly, (and I know this is getting long) I have an additional gel flask with 3 or 4 gels diluted with a little water that is sitting in T2 that I throw in a jersey pocket for the run. Same procedure as the bike. As I run up to an aid station I take a sip from the flask and the wash it down with water at the aid station. This is easier for me than fiddling with the gel wrapper while I am running and it allows me to consistently take in a little gel at my own rate at each station.

I got this plan from a really elite racer's race report and it has worked great. I essentially doubled everything for my first full. As with anything, try it out in training to see what works for you.
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