General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips? Rss Feed  
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2014-10-27 5:08 PM

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Subject: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
Hey everyone!

Pretty sure I'm going to take the plunge into IM training for IMAZ next year. Been reading a ton and trying to get myself ready for what lays ahead.

In reading race reports, hearing interviews, etc...seems like the one obstacle is always stomach issues during the race, no matter what training went like. Even if nutrition was practiced during training, HR and power stay in control, people still experience stomach cramps. I always read the "this never happened during training" quote. So what gives?

If you completed an IM distance race and did NOT have any stomach issues, what do you attribute it to? Would love to hear all strategies so I can get lots of practice so there are not any surprises on race day!

Thanks a bunch!


2014-10-27 8:36 PM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
Did Florida in 2011 - 11:30:19 - .I was 150lbs at the time. No stomach issues, It might seem a little crazy but it worked for me. I made and trained with a concotion of 5 chocolate power gels, 2 carnation instant breakfast drink powder packets, and a bottle of Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink and the rest ice and water with 5 Hammer endurolyte powders ( broke the capsules and dumped in) mixed in as well. During training I set my watch to alarm every 15 minutes and take a sip from that bottle to last me 6hrrs. It had around 1000+ calories in it. I also drank powerbar ironman perfrom (served on the course)and water. Works great!, then white chocolate covered pretzels at about 56 miles and a peanut butter and jelly at about 80 miles. Once I hit the run I also had a 12oz Red Bull in T2 and another 12oz red bull at the halfway mark special needs bag area. Other than that I tried the chicken broth "yuck" couldn't do that. I few gels and perform and 1 flat coke got me through the run.
NO STOMACH ISSUES but again I trained that way. For what it's worth that's my 2 cents. Test it out before training and do not sway from it during the race. I was tempted to try the honey waffle stingers but never did it during practice so stuck to my guns and didn't try anything new. "IT WORKED "
2014-10-27 10:21 PM
in reply to: Brother Dan

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
I think the main reason is that you don't have 140+ mile training days so it's hard to really say it won't happen on race day.. I know during my recent HIM, my stomach cramped so bad I had to walk over a mile. I still did way better than I thought I would but that's because I went way faster than I should have but in the end it worked out to my advantage. During my full IM, I don't remember many, if any, stomach issues. At least if I had any, they were mild enough to slow my run down until things settled. Being out there for 10-17 hours is going to take its toll, no matter how much you train. All it takes it going too fast for a few minutes, since you got caught up in the moment, and it could cause you to go over the edge. I don't know if there's a magic bullet but I know when I feel the cramps coming, I switch to water only until things settle and then I'll get back to the sugar drinks and gels. That seems to work for me.
2014-10-28 7:22 AM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?

Most GI issues racing can be traced to either over-consuming or bad pacing (racing harder than you trained).

Do your long bikes at a higher intensity than you will race, then be diligent about holding a lower intensity on race day (preferably managed by HR or power, not RPE, because race day adrenaline can throw your RPE off, especially for less experienced athletes).  Don't consume different fuel or at a faster rate during racing than you did during training.  The higher the intensity of the exercise, the more blood flow is diverted away from the organs to the muscles that need oxygen, so digestion doesn't work as well.  Also, the higher the intensity, the more glycogen (carbs) your body burns, and less fat.  The lower the intensity, the opposite is true (more fat, less glycogen).  This approach makes GI issues much less likely on race day.

 

2014-10-28 9:01 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?

Originally posted by TriMyBest

Most GI issues racing can be traced to either over-consuming or bad pacing (racing harder than you trained).

Agree.

I use a custom mix by Infinite on the bike, and am very measured (by a timer) on my intake. I am always "steady" in my pacing so don't have any issues with over extending myself, either in training or racing.

2014-10-30 6:54 AM
in reply to: lisac957

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
potentially another GI issue is sticking to the nutrition plan even if feeling sick

i came out of the swim at Choo ok, but about 30 miles into the bike was feeling queasy - I made it through 1 set of my planned nutrition and when I went to do my next (was doing roughly 45-1hr for solid nutrition and 15-20 alternating sips and water and perform) - my stomach was just like no thanks - I knew I had a long day ahead so I adjusted - started grabbing bananas at all the rest stops on the bike, several of them and chowing down and that seemed to help

while I never did 140+ training day, I did several 110 mile days (100 on the bike, run and swim rather than shorter races)


2014-11-01 7:35 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
Originally posted by TriMyBest

Most GI issues racing can be traced to either over-consuming or bad pacing (racing harder than you trained).

 




To practice nutrition do it on your long stuff and to a great extent your higher intensity stuff too. Start with a base of calories say 250 bike, 150 run and slowly increase each ride/run as you need. Once you find out calorically what you need then find out what works best for you, gels, liquids, a mix, etc. Its a process of trial and error that takes some a couple years and other a few weeks, but be diligent on it and don't blow it off until the last month of training.
2014-11-01 9:24 PM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
As mentioned earlier, most issues are due to over exertion, which can be made worse in the heat. But I switched from Perform + gels + Stinger waffles to only Infinit, and it has really seemed to help my stomach issues. I did IMFL today on nothing but Infinit (bike and run) plus coke the last 6 miles of the run, and had no issues at all. Cool temps also helped, but I am really a fan of Infinit.
2014-11-03 5:32 AM
in reply to: mbwallis

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?

I joke I have an iron stomach.  I could eat a tuna melt on the bike and be fine.  I am NOT a fan of infinat  I have several friends DNF and or be sick during long races because they were sent the wrong mix.  Too many variables.  My best advice is to keep it simple, have a back up plan, practice your nutrition and don't worry about being sick.  If you BELIEVE you are going to be sick you will be sick.  Sometimes its unavoidable but it makes me crazy to see people working themselves into a tizzy over this.  The mind is a powerful thing.  Have plan A, B and C.  What happens if you loose a bottle of the only nutrition you trained with and its not available on the course?  What if what you trained with suddenly becomes unpalatable?  what are the race conditions going to be?  What if its 20 degrees colder or warmer than what you train in? How will you handle that?  If you are married to ONE plan and are convinced you are going to be sick if you do anything BUT that you are setting yourself up for failure.  I also put a little roll of tums in my bento box and my tri top on the run.  I don't think I have ever used them after toeing the line at 8 Ironmans, but I have saved a few peoples races

2014-11-03 11:22 AM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?

Originally posted by bcagle25
Originally posted by TriMyBest

Most GI issues racing can be traced to either over-consuming or bad pacing (racing harder than you trained).

To practice nutrition do it on your long stuff and to a great extent your higher intensity stuff too. Start with a base of calories say 250 bike, 150 run and slowly increase each ride/run as you need. Once you find out calorically what you need then find out what works best for you, gels, liquids, a mix, etc. Its a process of trial and error that takes some a couple years and other a few weeks, but be diligent on it and don't blow it off until the last month of training.

Sadly, yes trial-and-error. 

I've done 9 IMs, with my 10th coming up two weeks from now in Arizona.  I'm a slow swimmer (bottom 20%), MOP cyclist, and top 25% runner.  I pride myself on running the entire run, walking on aid stations and staircases, that sort of thing. So my pacing and nutrition plan supports that race plan.

For my first three Ironman races (IMAZ 06, 07, 08) I had no stomach issues during the race. and then starting having them for the next few.  Eventually I isolated it to the CarboPro I was using.  I just can't handle CarboPro on IM race day despite training all season with it. I suspect it's the swim before the bike that is what's different than training days, although I didn't experiment on myself to find out. I just gave up on CarboPro a couple years ago and went gels/bars only, and voila no more stomach issues.

I bell-curve my nutrition needs rather than use a linear nutrition plan.  I eat more in miles 25-90 on the bike than I do at mile 1 or mile 110.  On the run I start hitting the Coke as soon as they have it, and grapes and orange slices. Generally I "live off the land" in the sense I eat what they hand out. I don't bring my my own food on the run, just my own gels (GU) on the bike. Salt stick tablets for hot races.

The last few years I've also been doing an hour swim Saturday morning before my long bike, and that makes a big difference to my nutrition needs on the bike.  I need more gels sooner or I'm low energy and lethargic.  In other words, if during training I determine my nutrition needs by cycling WITHOUT a preceding swim, then on race day suddenly put 2.4 miles before that 112, I will have an insufficient nutrition plan.

2014-11-26 11:47 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
Just follow your nutrition and hydration plan. Note that it if the day is cold you need less water, if hot you need more. Also if you are at higher elevation you need to cut back effort as you will breath faster. Breathing faster for 11 to 14 hours will mess with your digestion. It probably depends a lot on personal variables and what you chose to eat. I do 2200 calories of Infinit on the bike and 1 Gel per 30-45 min on the run, then may dial back to just gatoraid or whatever on the last 6 miles of the run.


2014-12-01 3:36 PM
in reply to: Baowolf

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
yeah pretty much what everyone said. follow your plan...and I take an imodium the morning of the race just in case. no idea if it helps but it hasnt had any neg effects that im aware of either.
2014-12-05 11:22 AM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Richland, Washington
Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
I use to have HUGE GI issues during the races. Especially on the run. I went Vegan a few years ago... never have had a problem since.

Yes, it's a bit extreme... but it worked for me.
2014-12-27 9:48 PM
in reply to: #5063290

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
Hubby swears by gasx. Worked for me during my 70.3. Of course I will focus on nutrition as well, but I plan to have time and gasx on me at all times do for my full.
2014-12-31 11:47 AM
in reply to: nadaswimmer

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
i found that fuel w caffeine made my stomach upset so I try to avoid caffeine for the majority of the race ( perhaps about til mile 6 on the run). By the time I get on the run i take in anything that sounds good and keeps me moving!
2017-03-04 9:59 AM
in reply to: Brother Dan

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
the memory,,,,as i write this now march 2017,,,remembering that florida im 2011. so, my story goes like this...i changed a few things that i had practiced in training, but didnt have any ill effects,,,the prerace bfast was 4 hours before start - 1 cin/raisin bagel and 2 vanilla ensures,water...before the start some poweraide. water after the 1st swim lap..on the bike,,hammer perpetuem, hammer enduralyte powered mixed with water in flasks, water, poweraide,frs chews, hammer gels. on the run, hammer gels, hammer heed fizz tabs in flask, water,, eventually pretzels,banana, perform,,etc,,,no stomach issues,,,maybe cause i was walkin a lot....
14 hours 1 minute too long out there,,,didnt dial in my fluid intake taking in too much having to stop at ever 10 mile portojohn except the 1st 10 miles...too many stops...


2017-03-05 8:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
I think having a backup plan is key.

I trained multiple times with my nutrition in practice and several HIM, but then did IMWI and it hit me at about mile 5 in the run. I had to back off everything I planned and gave it a couple miles with nothing. Then slowly took water and then Gatorade and just started to eat and drink items on the course that looked good.

Have something in your special needs bags that you know that you know you could consume and it would not bother you. [sorry for this example] but what would you be able to eat or drink the next morning after a very long night of drinking tequila shots? Maybe Nilla wafers, saltine crackers, goldfish?



Edited by scottficek 2017-03-05 8:49 PM
2017-03-06 1:22 AM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?

Good luck with IMAZ!  I've raced it four times, three times in the spring (yes, that long ago) and once in the fall a few years ago.

I've completed 11 IM races, mostly in the 12-13 hour timeframe, and had stomach issues on like #5 - #8.  Basically for me it turned out that what worked in training - CarboPro based "fuel bottles" - didn't work out in racing. After long introspection, I think that the swim made the difference. I trained on the bike with CarboPro (maltodextrine powder) based high calorie "fuel" bottles, with Gatorade and water.  And that was always fine.  But on race day, I'd tend to get sick at the 70-80 mile point and then suffer for the first 10 miles on the run. This happened time and again.

I think that the swim made a huge difference.  I rarely did a long swim before a long bike, but a couple times I did that during training that on purpose to see what would happen and yes, I'd get sick just like during those races.  So I gave up the high calorie CarboPro bottles and just used GU gels and Gatorade.  So much better!

My nutrition plan for IM #9, #10, and #11 has been a bell curve type of thing. After the swim, I chug some water and start the bike.  I ramp up my fueling (GUs and Gatorade) and max out at special needs with Pop Tarts (yes, cherry frosted Pop Tarts!).  Then I slow down my intake to let my GI tract get settled for the run.  I'm a really good aid station customer on the run.  GU and fruit and Gatorade early on, then I skip the Gatorade for Coca Cola after mile 5 or so. I'm a big fan of the orange slices and flat coke after mile 12 or so.

2017-03-06 2:15 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Those of you who DIDN'T experience stomach issues during your IM - any tips?
I find I only have stomach issues the first time I do a certain distance.
First marathon.
First HIM.
First IM.

If I go back and do the same distance again, my body seems to have more faith in me and doesn't rebel. In my case, it isn't because I did anything differently the second time. Maybe stress level was lower because I had done it before.
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