I made a decision in 2012 to not seek a nutrition sponsor until I was sure I knew what was helping and hurting me. (So I actually paid for everything I ate and am not writing this because I have to). For me, the most important thing is performance, and if that means no nutrition sponsor until I've got my ish sorted, then that's how it is. By taking this approach, I've found an approach this year that works really nicely for me in half ironman and ironman distance racing. The basic premise is this:
Bottles of drink without a ton of calories (Skratch labs @ 80 calories per bottle) supplemented with solid food (loving NOW Energy bars but they are hard to find, bonk breakers, and the occasional clif bar). After I get some solids in, I add in some Gu chomps or other gummy things or some gels. So far, so good- and I've raced a ton this year with no issues...
|layin' it out for IM France. Added a couple things after this photo...|
1) 2 weeks out from a big race, I start a gluten and dairy free diet. One week out, I actually stick to it ;) . I don't feel that gluten and dairy impact me on a daily basis, but from the research I've done, there is reason enough to suppose that they could be contributing to inflammation and making it more difficult for my body to do overdrive on digestion on race day.
2) New pre-race breakfast. Last year, I went the oatmeal route. Maybe this was too much fiber or too slowly digested, I'm not sure or maybe it just didn't sit well on race day. This year, I go with gluten free toast with almond butter & a banana. In france, GF toast wasn't available to me, so I tried corn flakes with soymilk- worked well. I know cornflakes have a very high glycemic index, so they are quickly processed and not weighing me down at the race start. I eat my race breakfast 2 hours ahead.
3) Mix it up on the bike. I started using a variety of brands and mix of sources (drink, gels, bars) to get different kinds of sugars. Many sports nutrition brands use the same type of sugars in their full range of products. By getting calories from all over the place, I don't know, but my body seems to like the variety and may be able to absorb more than if just given one or two kinds of sugar. .
Here's what I did for Ironman France...
Breakfast: 2 huge bowls of cornflakes & soymilk. 1 banana. 1 rice cake with almond butter.
Pre Race: Sipped on a bottle of MRM Hydration Factor.
Swim: none, I'm swimming, d'uh
I tried to eat 'something' every 30 minutes (1/2 a bar, 1 gu, etc)
2 bottles of Skratchlabs drink (160 calories). After these, I drank only water from the course as other drinks are pretty touch and go with my stomach.
1 NOW Honeycomb w. chia & raisins (280 calories)
1 Fig Bonk Breaker (220 calories)
1 pack watermelon Gu Chomps (190 calories)
3 Gus (2 Jet Blackberry, 1 Peanut Butter (300 calories)
1 Pack Powerbar cola gel blasts (190 calories)
1/2 Flask of EFS Kona-Mocha (200 ish calories)
that's 1450+ calories I consumed on the bike... I always prepare for about 1800 calories knowing I'll probably be able to shove about 1500 in...
1 pack of Orange Gu chomps (190 calories)
2 Gu Jet Blackberry (200 calories)
LOTS of cola starting at mile 8 let's say 40 calories per aid station times 11 aid stations (440? I think that's a little high estimate...)
2 orange slices (40 calories)
Water water water
Thats about 900 calories on the run....Not sure if that's really a valid estimate though...Any suggestions on what others aim for on the Ironman run?
What works for you in Ironman nutrition? Do you have any lesser-known favorite products?