This past Saturday represented the next phase of race-day nutrition and pacing for the upcoming Ironman Triathlon event in early May. It began with a 2+ mile (1 hr) Vasa swim at 6 AM and wrapped up with a 16 mile (2+ hr) run with a 112 mile (approx 6 hr) ride of the St. George Ironman course on the Computrainer (which mimics the hills of the course). While this sort of workout isn’t typically found in most Ironman training schedules (it was 10 miles short of a full Ironman), it’s been incredibly valuable so far. This time around, it became obvious that I’m attempting to hold my power on the bike too high for the first 80 miles. This not only results in a drop-off the last 30 miles, but also leaves the legs in rough shape to run the marathon after the bike. Next month, when the schedule calls for the same swim/bike followed by a 20 mile run, I’ll dial down the power about 5% throughout and monitor the results. I also made a decision to avoid all caffeine leading up to the run (I’m not a coffee drinker, but have tried multiple times to integrate caffeine into my races – usually with stomach cramps resulting as they did this past go-around). And finally, I was reminded that the concentration levels of the run fueling is critical as well to avoid stomach distress. I tried concentrating 40 oz of fuel into 2 x 8 oz bottles for the Fuel Belt on the run. This (along with the caffeine) did not produce good results.
On the positive side, I’m close to dialing in my pre-race meal, which is taken in about 3 hrs prior to event. The current plan consists of a sweet potato with 1/2 cup of raisins, a bowl of applesauce with protein powder, and a banana with water. I’ve experimented with various options over the past few months and this provides the calories without the excessive sweetness of some of the other options tried.
Bottom line – the test session didn’t go as well as planned. But I learned multiple lessons that can now be further fine-tuned leading up to the event. Just 2 more of these test sessions remain (one in Feb and one in March) and then it’s time to put the tests to the test!