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Lessons from a rookie Ironman Athlete #1

I’ve made many mistakes on my Ironman and other Ultra distance races, but one thing I pride myself on is getting my Nutrition right. Thought I may share my picnic basket ideas with you!

I find that this is mostly the thing that pulls me through a race – What I do:

Breakfast – I swear by a FutureLife shake before I leave my hotel. Then after getting my gear into transition and getting my Transition area ready, I eat a banana. I also have a bottle of a Carb-based liquid that I drink whilst racking and even right up to the swim. 15 Minutes before my swim I take a GU gel with the last of my liquid.

Going into T1 – I make sure I rinse my mouth from all the salt water. I keep a 500ml bottle of water in all my transition bags. Before I get onto the bike I drink all the water, eat another banana and another GU.

On the Bike – I make sure I space my GU gels every 45 minutes, I also take baby potatoes on the bike and this is my secret weapon! When I feel flat and about to flat-line, I eat one. I eat two potatoes every hour. Remember – you are eating not for immediate fuel, but for fueling your body after the next two hours. So what this means is that you eat on the bike to that your body gets enough fuel for your run 😉 I also take the following on the bike to supplement my nutrition:

GU Gels
Carb-based liquid fuel
Jelly Babies
Energy bars (Racefood Nougat bars)
Water in my bottles
Electrolite drinks
Baby potatoes
Muffins (Bran)
Hot-cross buns

Into T2 – Again I drink a 500ml water to make sure I stay hydrated, another banana (I hear bananas help you NOT wanting a pee-pee break so many times on a run) Grab a hot-cross bun, scoff down a GU gel and off I go. I also make sure I grab water at the first point just to set the old motor in motion. For shorter runs I will stay on the water and maybe an electrolite drink, but for ultra distance events I make sure I take water at all the points, a GU gel every 45 minutes (unless you use GU Roctane, then only one every 1 hour and 30 minutes). I try to stay clear of the Coca Cola until I hit the last 8 to 5km of the run section.

Out the Run over the finish line – This is the last transition point in my mind, so lets call it T3. This is where I drink at least a litre of water and supplement this with LOADS of REAL food. You do not want to feel flat after the race, because this is celebration time. Maybe even a beer 😉

The week after the race – This is my problem area. I want to eat EVERYTHING, so this is my cheat week. I have to curb the carb cravings because it’s burgers, waffles with ice cream, ribs and everything that’s super bad for you. Try to stay away from all these and replace it with real, good, hearty food. Especcially in winter. Feed your body and your soul and make sure you get your strength levels back to normal if you want to start training again.

I have Ironman 70.3 Pula, Croatia on the 20th of September, so I am taking it easy this week to get rid of the flu and to start building up to a 4 week heavy block training before I set off to Europe! After that I take a a week break and then we gear up for the Cape Town Ultra-Trail run!

TIP: Taking your food to the streets before race day

Practicing the nutrition part of your race must be one of the most important factors of your race. Ask me, I spent more time eating on a race than doing the actual race. This is one of the top things on my list when I train. To make sure I train my nutritional and my body requirements as well.

If you want your best performance in any distance events (especially Ultra distance events), you have to make sure your body gets used to the feeding plan of the day.

Experience with Breakfast, this is a very important component of your race. Have the same breakfast you would have on the morning of your race and a similar time to when you would do for the race, then head off on your run or your bike for a training session. Ride for the same amount of time you would do on race day before you start taking in any other liquids or nutrition. This will prepare your body to perform on a consistent level each time.

Stick to your nutrition plan for the rest of the ride. This is a fantastic way to see what works for you, what you can stomach, and what’s not for you.

We are launching a very exciting campaign with the Drug Free Sport and I Play Fair ZA teams this month! Keep a look out for interesting facts and information!!