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2019-02-06 8:43 AM


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Subject: Nutrition for half ironman
This will be my first HIM. I understand that nutrition is critical. In the past , I have stuck with gels and chews. And electrolytes in my water . What do you guys use for longer distances? Are carbs enough? Or are there specialized drinks that are more than just electrolytes?


2019-02-06 8:55 AM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Southern Illinois
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
Nutrition seems to be an individual thing--everyone thrives on and can tolerate different things. I've done three HIMs. The first one I survived on gu and gatorade on the bike and then every.single.thing.available on the run course. Pretzels, oranges, flat coke, gu...everything. It was straight up UGLY by the end. (there are some extenuating circumstances that led to this, but it is a long story).

Second HIM I had gu and gatorade on the bike. Injury knocked me out before the run.

Third HIM I had gatorade on the bike and stroopwaffles (from the makers of Gu). run was also gatorade and a few pretzels from one of the aid stations. Pretzels were a terrible idea, much like eating saw dust and I kept inhaling the "dust". This race I made it to the end with no GI issues and moving (always my goal).

The thing is, you just have to practice what you are going to use in the race during your long training rides/runs. Figure out what helps you and what hurts you.

this season I'm trying Infinit. So far, I haven't had much call to use it, because long rides/runs aren't over 2 hours yet, but I have tried it just for the sake of trying it. No GI issues and the taste is pretty palatable.

Good luck with your race!
2019-02-06 9:21 AM
in reply to: drfoodlove

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Highland Park, Illinois
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
I agree 300% that you need to try out things first, before the race day.

Also, keep in mind that you need nutrition during the training, weeks before the race. Have balanced diet, and make sure you get plenty of electrolytes the week before the race. Race day nutrition is not enough if the diet was poor for weeks before that day.
2019-02-06 9:30 AM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
What do you train with?

If you are redlining it, more carbs.
If you are race effort planning it, combo of fats/carbs.

TRAIN WITH WHAT YOU WILL RACE WITH!

If you train more fasted, less carbs, you won't be able to race as hard.
If you train with mostly carbs, you will need that race day and you may not be able to process enough to be successful.

Personally, I train in AM fasted.
Train over lunch BEFORE I eat, but after AM snack of fats/carbs/protein (usually nuts or humus).

Last race was 70.3 La Quinta.
Ate overnights oats before.
Drank sports drink before.
Sports drink + UCAN starch on bike.
Ate two pop tarts on bike.
Drank water and gatorade endurance (what they had on course) on the run. Alternated between water and sports drink.

No gut issues.
No bonk.
No cramps.
2019-02-06 11:49 AM
in reply to: 0

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
Very individual. I have done all my HIM with either a mix of gu and energy bars, dark chocolate and gu, or dark chocolate only on the bike, and gu only on the run. Basically I try to take in some calories every 20 minutes on the bike and run. I've pretty lightweight and normally covering the distance in 5- 5 1/2 hours, so it might not be as much as many athletes--probably just a few bites of an energy bar or 1/3 of a gu packet. Combination of Nuun (sugar-free electrolyte drink) and water on the bike and run, occasionally some other electrolyte drink off the course. I usually carry gels with electrolytes on the run and use aid stations for water, rather than depend on whatever sports drink is being offered on the course, as I often can't carry enough fluids for hot conditions, and a lot of sugary sports drinks upset my stomach. Amount of fluid depends heavily on conditions, but generally I take a few sips every 10 minutes in cooler conditions and every 5 in hot ones.

Have never had any GI issues or "bonking" in a race; I do sometimes get sick of sweet stuff and start gagging on gu--this is why I've tried strategies like alternating flavors, alternating gu with less sweet solid nutrition on the bike, and even just eating dark chocolate instead of gu on the bike. (The latter strategy horrified my coach, and a lot of would-be advice givers, but I train and race fine off of it.) Mostly carbs; for me, a little fat like that in dark chocolate or Cliff Mojo Bars (peanuts) does not cause a problem--YMMV. For full IM I found that even more fat and protein (nut butter as well as the peanut bars) on the bike was really useful in staving off hunger and keeping my energy levels steady. I don't think I would do that for a HIM at race intensity, though. Some people do better with mainly or all liquid nutrition--it hasn't worked for me though in shorter events so I haven't tried it for longer ones.

I tested all of this extensively in training. It does vary depending on weather conditions. For very hot weather, I tend to take in fewer calories, more fluids, and more electrolytes. The more you are drinking (i.e. in hotter, more humid weather) the more important it becomes that you take in adequate sodium and other electrolytes. The only real nutrition/hydration issue I've ever had in an iron-distance race was with drinking too much water (mainly for cooling purposes when there was no ice) and not taking in enough sodium--I was getting low-grade symptoms of hyponatremia like tingling fingers and nausea in the last miles and after the finish that resolved when I took in some more salt.

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-02-06 11:55 AM
2019-02-06 3:13 PM
in reply to: #5255050


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Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
I used infinit last year and had good results. I also practiced with Gatorade endurance since that is what most Ironman branded events have on course. Good thing I did too, I lost a bottle of nutrition in the first 5 miles of the bike and was able to swap to on course nutrition without wondering if my stomach could tolerate it.

Definitely practice, practice, practice. This is where doing brick workouts is beneficial in my opinion. Some people tolerate something fine on the bike and think they are good to go only to find that they have GI issues during the run. If you do some brick sessions you can rule out this scenario.

Also, thefeed.com offers sample packs of products for 1-2 bucks if you want to try before dropping 30-40 bucks on a tub of something that doesn’t work for you.

Good luck!


2019-02-06 5:45 PM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
When I did my HIM I estimated how long I was going to be on the bike. Having done long training rides on GU I stuck with it for the race. I didn't want to deal with squeezing packets into my mouth on race day and with the sticky mess of disposing of packets. So I took the amount of GU I would need for the ride, squeezed all the packets into a water bottle, added water to make it a more drinkable mix and marked off portions on my clear bottle for each hour of the bike leg. Worked like a charm. I also drank Gatorade and had a CLIF bar from the bike aid stations. On the run I was back to GU packets and they also had these wonderful CLIF chomps that were kind of like gummy bears but softer. That, water, gatorade and salt tabs. Got me though like a champ. Temps were in 80s on the bike and low 90s on the run.

I agree with others that say nothing new on race day.

Edited by HaydenHunter 2019-02-06 5:46 PM
2019-02-06 7:11 PM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman

Experiment during training for what works for YOU.  Read through race reports, and even now, you'll find a frequent theme of GI issues even where people have "dialed in" their nutrition.  

I was never much for gels/sports drink but I did *some* for training and generally ate/drank off the course for my races.  

Additionally, train some with what the course offers. You should at least know what to expect if you lose the drink bottle of your preferred nutrition.  

2019-02-06 8:43 PM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
I usually carry some spare tabs for my sugar-free drinks on the bike and in my run belt, just in case, so I can make my own drinks with water off the course in the event I drop my own bottles and the stuff on course doesn't agree with me. That actually happened in my full IM and I did end up making some of my own drinks (I had put extra tabs in Special Needs). The on-course drink was very sweet, too concentrated, and carbonated, and just wasn't going down well at that point.

I agree, it's more convenient to "live off the course" but I have had some bad experiences with it. They don't always use the product they claim they were going to use (one race in Asia served only Red Bull and water on the run!), and concentrations can be different than what you are used to or need. You should work out in training how the product expected to be served on course works for you; if it doesn't, make other plans.

One thing to think about in iron-distance vs shorter races is what I think of as "taste fatigue". You're more likely to get sick (sometimes literally) of the flavor or texture of your nutrition or drink after taking it in for several hours, and possibly take in less than you should because of this. Even more of an issue with full IM. It can help to use different flavors of gu or drinks, or even rotate through a couple of foods with different textures on the bike, to combat this.
2019-02-24 5:43 PM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
I like to keep it simple.

Water/Gatorade on the bike.
A stack of 4 Honey Singer waffles on the bike

I set my watch timer to beep every 15 minutes as a reminder to sip the water, and eat the honey stingers at specific bike mile markers.
On the run, drink to thirst at water stations, but at least rinse
2019-02-25 5:13 PM
in reply to: 0

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman

Originally posted by orijitdhar This will be my first HIM. I understand that nutrition is critical. In the past , I have stuck with gels and chews. And electrolytes in my water . What do you guys use for longer distances? Are carbs enough? Or are there specialized drinks that are more than just electrolytes?

 

My first 70.3 I possibly kept things too simple.  I didn't went too light.  I ran into the same problem in the second 70.3 but here is what I now do and it fuels me all they way through the race.

1) I eat my last big meal at lunch time the day before (lots of complex carbs),

2) I eat a light dinner the night race.

3) starting about 2 days before the race I make sure I taking in plenty of Water to keep all the way hydrated

4) On race morning I eat 4 hours before the race.  This is something light like Oat meal, Quinoa, or a power bar with lots of fluids. 

5) as I set up for the race and wait for the starts I am taking in lots of eletrolyte drinks.  I tend to cramp on the swim and the eletrolyte drinks help me avoide the cramps.   

6) on the bike I put EFS in the water bottles.  I don't remember the calories and electrolyte count off the top of my head but everything is about double that of Gator-aid.  I also take an electrolyte table ever hour on the bike and I take a cliff bar between mile 25-30.  One race I left the cliff bar at hope and so I took about 3 Gu's between miles 25-30 and that worked too.  I have taken as much as 64 oz of ESF on the bike with me but I am leaning more towards just taking two (2) 12 oz water bottles with me now and getting HED/Gator Aid/Power aid or what ever electrolyte drink they have on the course after I drink the first two in the first 10 miles of the race.  I got through at least 5 bottles of electrolyte drink.  The cliff bar is the key though.  I can't make it through on liquids alone, but when I get a little bit of solid food in me I am just fine.

7) on the run I do a Gu ever 30 minutes and an electrolyte tablet ever 30 minutes.  On hot days I will cramp on the run too.  Those days I take an electrolyte tablet at every mile of the run and eat pretzels and drink pickle juice at the aid stations.  Some times late in the run I will start to feel a little sluggish.  If my feet feel at all heavy I will start to take a swallow of coke-a-cola at ever aid station.  My goal is always to make it through with out caffeine so the coke-c-cola (along with the pickle juice) are not part of the nutrition plan but help get me back on target if I am slightly off due to unforeseen thing on race day.  

8) Nutrition doesn't stop after you cross the finish line.  Keep taking your carbs, electrolytes, and fluids. After the race what I can stomach varies from race to race.  What I crave at the end of one race may make be feel queezy  just to think about eating after another.

 

A 70.3 race is long enough that you can't finish the race with out a nutrition plan but short enough that you can keep things simple.  Some people can do the whole thing on a liquids only plan.  I mostly do liquids with a cliff bar at mile 30 of the bike and 5-6 electrolysis tablets spread out over the bike and the run.   



Edited by BlueBoy26 2019-02-25 5:15 PM


2019-02-26 3:53 PM
in reply to: BlueBoy26


37
25
Subject: RE: Nutrition for half ironman
thanks for the detail info.


Originally posted by BlueBoy26

Originally posted by orijitdhar This will be my first HIM. I understand that nutrition is critical. In the past , I have stuck with gels and chews. And electrolytes in my water . What do you guys use for longer distances? Are carbs enough? Or are there specialized drinks that are more than just electrolytes?

 

My first 70.3 I possibly kept things too simple.  I didn't went too light.  I ran into the same problem in the second 70.3 but here is what I now do and it fuels me all they way through the race.

1) I eat my last big meal at lunch time the day before (lots of complex carbs),

2) I eat a light dinner the night race.

3) starting about 2 days before the race I make sure I taking in plenty of Water to keep all the way hydrated

4) On race morning I eat 4 hours before the race.  This is something light like Oat meal, Quinoa, or a power bar with lots of fluids. 

5) as I set up for the race and wait for the starts I am taking in lots of eletrolyte drinks.  I tend to cramp on the swim and the eletrolyte drinks help me avoide the cramps.   

6) on the bike I put EFS in the water bottles.  I don't remember the calories and electrolyte count off the top of my head but everything is about double that of Gator-aid.  I also take an electrolyte table ever hour on the bike and I take a cliff bar between mile 25-30.  One race I left the cliff bar at hope and so I took about 3 Gu's between miles 25-30 and that worked too.  I have taken as much as 64 oz of ESF on the bike with me but I am leaning more towards just taking two (2) 12 oz water bottles with me now and getting HED/Gator Aid/Power aid or what ever electrolyte drink they have on the course after I drink the first two in the first 10 miles of the race.  I got through at least 5 bottles of electrolyte drink.  The cliff bar is the key though.  I can't make it through on liquids alone, but when I get a little bit of solid food in me I am just fine.

7) on the run I do a Gu ever 30 minutes and an electrolyte tablet ever 30 minutes.  On hot days I will cramp on the run too.  Those days I take an electrolyte tablet at every mile of the run and eat pretzels and drink pickle juice at the aid stations.  Some times late in the run I will start to feel a little sluggish.  If my feet feel at all heavy I will start to take a swallow of coke-a-cola at ever aid station.  My goal is always to make it through with out caffeine so the coke-c-cola (along with the pickle juice) are not part of the nutrition plan but help get me back on target if I am slightly off due to unforeseen thing on race day.  

8) Nutrition doesn't stop after you cross the finish line.  Keep taking your carbs, electrolytes, and fluids. After the race what I can stomach varies from race to race.  What I crave at the end of one race may make be feel queezy  just to think about eating after another.

 

A 70.3 race is long enough that you can't finish the race with out a nutrition plan but short enough that you can keep things simple.  Some people can do the whole thing on a liquids only plan.  I mostly do liquids with a cliff bar at mile 30 of the bike and 5-6 electrolysis tablets spread out over the bike and the run.   


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