Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Race Nutrition and Racine 70.3

So training has been going well the last couple weeks, other than the heat. Last week I did a 90min run in the heat and thought I fried my brain. When I left the house my thermostat read something insane like 110. That was of course in the sun on my deck, but as I run in the sun, with very little shade 110 was probably somewhat accurate when you consider the blacktop and humidity.

In any case, aside from a couple bumps along the way, things are going very well. The last couple weekends I’ve decided to try a new nutritional approach. For the past several years I’ve been taking Hammer products, and not been terribly happy. It’s not that anything was wrong, per se. But I always seemed to really fade at the end of races. With last year being wasted due to injury, I noticed that a lot of my stuff has expired. So in talking with a few people and reading a lot on Slowtwitch I decided to try a new line of products and a few different approaches.

In the past I’d use Heed, Perpeteum, and some form of saltsticks. My bike was always littered with nutrition and gear and getting it all in during a race was a huge pain. I have little doubt it slowed me down as well.

Here is my new and improved plan for the half Iron distance. Right now this is based upon a 2.5 hour bike ride.
  • Bottle 1 – 3.25 scoops of Gatorade Perform, 1 scoop of Carbo Pro, and 1 powerbar gel (tangerine with caffeine). (20oz total)
  • Bottle 2 – 4 scoops of Gatorade Perform, 1 scoop Carbo Pro, and 1 powerbar gel. (20oz)
  • I also take in another 35oz of plain water throughout the ride.

That’s it. I don’t have to do anything special other than take a few sips of the Gatorade mixture, and a couple swigs of the water every 15min or so. It does mean I carry 3 bottles of fluids on the bike, but seeing that I can stay aero much longer without having to screw with bottles, pills, gu’s and other stuff, I am pretty sure the bottle between my aero bars does not cost me anything.

In total this equates to 760 calories and 1900mg sodium. This is way more calories per hour than I am used to, but based on what I’ve been reading this is the more effective way of racing. And the lack of calories in the past may be part of why I tended to fade so badly in longer races.

Two weeks ago I tried a slight variation of this plan with 4 gel in a flask and took that between the Gatorade. The problem I have with that approach is that I don’t tend to take enough water when I take gels. So they always left me feeling bloated and nasty. And that test was similar with a little bit of side stitch added in.

This past weekend I tried the plan laid out above and for the duration of the bike ride I felt great from a nutritional perspective. After my 2.5 hour ride I started running and noticed the difference right away. I felt like I was starting to fade a little bit around mile 2-3, but unlike my past attempts, that feeling went away pretty quickly. And I took in no fluids or calories for the 40min run. So I suspect the added calories and sodium really helped me out. Overall I was very happy with the results of this test.

The added benefit of this plan is that Ironman events, as well as many others, serve Gatorade Perform on the race courses. So when I hit the run course I only need to take a cup of perform at every station until about mile 6 when I switch over to coke. I couldn’t have made it any simpler. And for me, the easier the plan is, the more likely I am to succeed at it.

I cannot take any real credit for this “plan”. It is essentially stolen from Slowtwitch/Jordan Rapp/Brian at Personal Best Nutrition/other. Once Racine 70.3 is over, I will continue to tweak this a little bit in an effort to get things perfect.

Onto the upcoming race.
This coming weekend is the Racine 70.3. I’ve done this race in the past, and the course is flat and fast. The swim tends to be a little bit slow with currents and a long transition run, the bike is dead flat except the hill coming out of transition, and the run is flat except for a minor bump about a mile into the course.

Right now the forecast is for a high of 89 degrees. My wave starts essentially last at about 8:15. If all goes well I should be finishing a little before 12:45.

As far as my plan is concerned. Everything about this race is to set myself up for a strong run. Ideally, assuming it doesn’t get too hot too fast, I’d like to run a personal best half marathon. If I do that, I set myself up to go under a 4:30. That depends on a host of other things, but in order to make it happen I need to put myself in position to make it happen. We’ll see what race day brings.

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