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Old 09-29-05, 08:22 PM   #1
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You guys haven't missed yet--don't let me down now...

First, let me say this forum has convinced me that there IS something useful on the internet. I have gotten a TON of EXCELLENT advice from here. I have some 1/2 Ironman questions regarding hydration and food:

Basically, at what point do I need to start taking in calories and how much? Regarding hydration, is there a formula, say, like "drink 2 oz of water every 6 miles of the bike"? I did one of these before and drank about 24 oz of water during the bike (8 coming out of the swim). I ate 1/2 of a Power Bar about 10 miles into the bike ride with a salt tablet (almost died trying to swallow that mixture without water--I couldn't get my water bottle out of the behind-the-seat rack...won't do that trick again this year :-). On the run, I downed one of those gelatin packets every 2 miles with sips of water in between. We had people collapsing all over--it was around 94 degrees by race end (early August last year)--,but I felt ok. My big concern is that I started at a 7:30/mile pace(my usual is 8:05), dropped to 8:15 by mile 2, then lost about 10 to 15 seconds per mile through the end of the run, swearing to myself that I hadn't slacked my pace, despite what my watch was telling me. I ended up averaging right at 9 minutes per mile. I held a 24.5 mph pace on the bike for the first hour but ended up around 20.8 for the 56 miles(18mph was a MAJOR effort for the last 10 miles), so I'm aiming to bridle the bike back to a level 20.5 throughout with a higher rpm--does this sound like a better strategy? I just don't know why I choked on the run. When I calculate how much time I might cut off by running a mere 30 seconds per mile faster (8:30/mile), it seems that I stand to gain the most this year by NOT trying to be a stud on the bike (emphasis on "trying").

Thanks for any help anyone can give. You've all helped me a great deal. My race is this Sunday.

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Old 09-29-05, 09:20 PM   #2
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Take a look here:

It covers a lot of your questions.
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Old 09-29-05, 10:25 PM   #3
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This Sunday is too late for you to change anything from what you have done (and know worked) in training. Knowledge in this area will make or break your race day efforts.

The next time around the following may help:

Fueling is broken down into 8 major areas:
1. Trying different things in training - with focus on your long brick workouts. Knowing what works here is the "dress rehearsal" for race day.

2. Your taper: This is where you get your proper sleep, fluids and carbs.

3. Pre-race meal: This is the night prior in marathons and 1/2 Ironman events or in the case of an Ironman distance 2-days prior. This is the "Carbo - Loading meal" Knowing what works best for you is a matter of personal experience. I supplement Gatorade Energy Drink. Not your standard Gatorade either...this stuff is only available over the web and by the case. It used to be called Torque but the formulation is pretty much the same about 80g of carbs in a small drink. I use 3-4 of these, drinking one each day in the days leading up to the race, along with my meals.

4. Race morning meal: Again this is lessons you should have learned in your long bricks. It should be something lite yet gives you a boost of energy for the race start. Mine is too unique to really be shared here and something I have worked on for many years.

5. Race day fueling during the event: Again this is a lesson you should have learned in your training and long bricks. The key here is to know your sweat rate or how much your body weight drops over a given time of race level exertion within given weather conditions. Breaking down the event to the following:
a. Pre-Swim
b. T1
c. Bike pre loading and fuel intake on the bike (I always say feast on the bike! Enter T2 fueled and ready to attack the run).
d. T2
For an Ironman event you have your special needs bags to consider as well.
a - d are things you can contol where you can plan what you will take and when. I use various E-Caps, Hammer products and special things that I know help me.
**Another factor is to have trained with and understand what products will be offered in the given event. When I first did Ironman Hawaii in the late 1980's they offered Exceed as the energy drink so I trained with that product. For the Boston Marathon they use Gatorade, for MCM (Marine Corps Marathon) and Walt Disney Marathon use Powerade. Understanding how you perform and tolerate the various products offered on race day is an area where many fail to do their homework.

6. Immediate post race recovery: Know works for you, for me it is a Hammer Product, re-hydration and other products from E-caps.

7. The week following the race: This is a very important time for rebuilding of what you just tore down. Rest and Recovery is key, how much depends on the length and effort of your event. I have run several events very close together some back to back - knowing what to do and when to do it is critical.

8. Have a plan B for the unplanned events that WILL happen - trust me.
Mother Nature related:
At one 1/2 IM I did in Boulder, Colorado the race day temps reached 98-degrees and not a cloud in the sky - Ouch! Many well prepared veteran Ironman athletes ended up walking over 1/2 of the 1/2-Marathon due to heat stroke/exhaustion, dehydration and for some just dropped out in T2 after a very difficult and hilly bike in the heat and at altitude.
Things Happen:
At 1/2 IM Florida this year one of my "special" water bottles fell off the bike after going over a bump - lucky for me I consumed a full bottle as I ran my bike out of T1. So the one bottle still aboard got me to the first support stop.

There is alot more to Fueling but this is the basics - I cover much more with those I coach.
My experience comes from 3-IM events, 9-1/2 IM events, some 25+ Olympic events, 15 marathons (4 of which were Boston) and a ton of other races over 25 years of training and racing.
As far as "Race Strategy" - that's a whole different topic.

Good Luck on Sunday

Last edited by MHR; 09-30-05 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 09-30-05, 02:32 PM   #4
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sounds like you blew up. I don't perscribe to those (do X at Y time) nutrition plans. I do 1/2 IM's and its a lot by feel. yes, I know what works, but you have to be able to adjust.

Losing 4 MPH is what sapped the legs. the best thing to do (for me) is spend the first 10 miles or so slowly creeping up. Miles 10-53ish is the meat of the race. I put time on the rest of the MOP on the bike, knowing on the run, I suck.

The same is true on the run. First mile is getting used to the movements, 2-5ish ramping up, 5-13 the go time.

For me, its swim, hammer, jog/survive

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Old 09-30-05, 04:12 PM   #5
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Do carbo loading the days before the race, not the night before. On race day, glycogen depletes at 1-1.5hrs. This is obviously bad.

10-30min before the race take a gel pack.

Ease into the bike. One hour into the race start consuming 300cal/hr (for men).

Keep water bottle caloric count below 200cal/bottle. Basically keep osmolarity down so your body treats the drink as fluid (absorbed during exercise) rather than food (not absorbed well).

Since glucose depleted muscles break down BCAA (branched chain amino acids), drinks with protein/carbohydrate of 1/4 are recommended (i.e accelerade). In theory as blood sugar drops you will break down the absorbed a.a. to carbon skeletons for gluconeogenesis rather than canibalizing your muscle stores. There is some evidence for this combo for longer duration aerobic exercise. Some folks like L-carnitine for fat mobilization but I'm a little skeptical about that. Personally, I don't have much trouble with this but the older formula caused, ahh, digestive loosening on the run in some. (Best avoided by steering clear of fiber the day before and doing a proper warmup run for elimination). I do dilute this a little to make it more tolerable.

I stick with Gu since many other gels make even my iron stomach a little queasy.

In very hot conditions I put the electrolyte solution in my bottle. Try looking up or something like that. It will add sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium to the salt content of your preferred drink. Its a good way to taylor the salt/calorie balance to the conditions. (Cold means more calories, less salt. Hot means more salt/fluid, less calories).

Note that a recent review article by the very famous exercise phys guru Tim Noakes indicates that there is no physiologically relevent effect of salt intake. Personally, I've felt a cramp coming on and loaded up on the avaliable coke (sodium heavy) and steared clear. Also, a ways into the run I do find that caffiene does lead to a noticible pick-up.

Sounds like you actually overate during the run which may have hurt your absorption. Try to get most everything in on the bike because its harder to absorb while running.

In the future, test all products during brick workouts. If you can do it then, it will work in a race.

When you finish, like all longer workouts, be sure to get ~300cals of carbohydrate in the first 1/2hr. It'll do wonders for recovery.

BEST OF LUCK!!!! You are ready.
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Old 10-01-05, 07:51 AM   #6
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Training is really the time to work all these things out.

As for how much fluid to drink, try weighing yourself before and after a workout. The delta is your water loss. Drink that much. (It may end up being more than you think!)

Since you don't have time for that, eat and drink early and often on Sunday. As much as you can, obviously without gorging yourself. If you fall behind, it's tough to recover.

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