Nutrition is a key component to Ironman training that is often not given the attention it needs. Recognize that you are burning 800 plus calories per hour during the race but your body can only process between 250-350 calories per hour at race effort. Make sure you are consuming calories in this range. Too little and you’ll bonk. Too much and you could have digestive tract issues. Here are a few tips to remember:
1. Sodium is so important. Generally speaking women need 800mg. and males need 1000mg. per hour. This isn’t perfect science though.
2. Consume immedietly after the swim. We tend to forget that we sweat and burn a ton of calories in the swim because it’s a cool and more comfortable environment than the rest of the race. The transition from swim to bike is a great place to start making up for the calories burned in the last 2.4 miles.
3. Keep an extra watch for nutrition countdown. Set a timer with a recurring countdown as a reminder of key intervals of when you are supposed to consume the most important pieces of your nutrition plan.
4. Wear a fuel belt on the run.
5. Plan for the unexpected. Have a variety of foods in your special needs bag that you can go to in case your stomach just isn’t right during the race. Snickers, Fig Newton’s, pretzels and even some extra solid food choices should be in the bag along with extra salt tabs, in case you drop a few on the course.
Susanne Davis is a member of the Timex Multisport Team, a group of dynamic athletes who travel the world competing in endurance events and truly embrace the core values and passion for the sport. Davis is a very accomplished Ironman triathlete, who shocked the field at the 2010 Ironman World Championships, by breaking the 35-39 Age Group world record and placed second overall among all amateur athletes. Davis also served as Jennie Finch’s personal marathon coach in preparation for the 2011 New York City Marathon.