Nutrition during Ironman and other endurance competitions

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IRONMAN competition for tough guys 

Because I do not have to update knowledge because the situation in the city is not too interesting (read: Flood), I decided to write art. about nutrition during the Ironman competition. Of course, you can model it if someone will, participated in longer races such as “butcher’s run”, katorżnik, or all kinds of long-lasting endurance efforts (whether running or roller-skating). It is true that there is a similar article, but I think that I will give you some new information that you will be able to use at the competition, and help you enter the higher level and take the best place. 

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What is Ironman? 

I will describe very briefly, probably because many have not heard or know little about these professions. Well, there are competitions in which there is a distance of 3.8km, to cross the 180km road bike, and then we have to “run only 42.2km. Many will think about the sick too. I thought so too. However, colleagues from work inspired me to learn more about the recommended supplementation and the best choice of meals in this type of effort. As you can see, you have to have a lot of willpower and self-denial to do it, but the satisfaction must be amazing. Will you take 13 hours or 9 hours The fact that certain barriers are exceeded is more important. I am skipping the fact of hard training, which is obviously necessary for such a feat, and I will focus on the very question of nutrition. Let me turn to the particulars. 

 

 

Nutrition 

At the beginning, we must know that the basic energy component will be here carbohydrates, as a source of quickly absorbed energy. This is necessary due to the very fast depletion of glycogen stores from our muscles and then liver. It is necessary to start with the fact that our organisms react differently to stress before competition, therefore meals should be properly digestible and not cause any stomach problems and thus do not burden the digestive system. When starting in such a venture, you should know what foods make you feel better and after which the workout is more efficient and which makes you feel lumberier and have digestive problems. All these issues should be checked in pre-competition training and experimenting. Sometimes for a few years we come to what is perfect for us. It would be useful to determine how much we really need to consume calories. What do you think? Considering the intensity of the effort, it may turn out that the losses may vary from approx. 6000 – 9000kcal. A lot of truth? How much of this will be derived from glycogen? You must enter here a number about half of the total. After all, glycogen is used all the time, so it means that most of this source would be useful to be constantly replenished during running and driving. The digestive system is one of the most often refusing to obey mechanisms that causes non-completion of Ironman. Why is this happening? There are several reasons for this. You could have given yourself too much (you overestimated your abilities, instead of sticking to a steady pace), poor replenishment of liquids, too much solid food intake, or falling into a hyponatine (lack of sodium in your blood). 

 

 

In front of 

It is known that before the competition should limit the amount of training, so as not to proceed to the tired race and be able to give everything. As for the amount of food you eat, you should not overeat and stuff yourself innumerable calories. Let us focus on products that we have always consumed and which have never caused a revolution in Poland. Of course, you can try to store glycogen in order to overcompensate it. The method of glycogen depletion for several days and then the charging phase is certainly known to most of you. I can suggest here another method of carbohydrate loading. After endurance training lasting about 1 hour, we lower the glycogen level. The next 3 days we use less intensive training and diet with an average supply of about 5-7g / kg. The last 3 days before intentional effort, we increase the above-mentioned up to 8-10 g / kg body weight. The memory of proper irrigation in this matter is very important because for every 1g of glycogen it is needed for 3g of water. This method is less aggravating and the results of its use are similar to the classical method with low-day days. As you know, an individual issue and everyone should check on their own skin how they react to a given method / plan, whether in training or on a smaller level of competition. On the eve of the race it is known that we should be based on meals with low and medium glycemic index. Ensure proper fluid delivery and eat regularly. Be careful with the addition of fiber especially in the evening. A typical morning before the competition I recommend eating a solid breakfast about 4 hours before consisting mainly of low or medium-sized Ig carbohydrates with a portion of protein, either nutrient or solid food as well as sources of fat tested by us. If we are nervous, the best solution will be liquid or mixed foods. It would be good to consume about 200kcal every hour to supplement glycogen as much as possible. However, you should not overdo it, and I would not increase my calories. And those 200kcal only in the form of liquids. The breakfast I mentioned earlier should be solid in terms of calories about 1500kcal. Of course, irrigation is also very important here, before the start you should drink some isotonic drink before jumping into the water. 

 

Swimming

We will not come up with anything special here, drinking the right beverages before the start and eating the right meals should guarantee the energy and protection for this stage. You should not be in a hurry, it is best to start calmly, so as not to create an oxygen debt. 

 

Bike 

After leaving the water, we are waiting for a quick download of the foam and a 180km section of the ride. It’s best to divide this stage into several smaller ones. After exhausting swimming, we must properly supplement losses, hydrate and take the right number of calories. Therefore, do not give everything. I recommend that at first I start to drink isotonic drinks, only after some time to put more caloric liquid foods. Maybe we will have a weaker result, but it will pay off in further stages, and our digestive system will be in good shape. Two-time Ironman winner in Hawaii recommends about 300-400kcal every hour. I think that sometimes it is not enough, observing friends sometimes needed 500-700 kcal per hour to make them feel good. Therefore, this is one more reason not to throw in deep water, but to test everything beforehand. Of course, it’s best to use carbo or vitargo. Bars and any solid foods may cause further problems (but not necessarily). Isotonic fluids are best taken at the designated points, and with each other we need the energy charge for the race. After completing the losses, make a good episode in which we will keep a constant pace so that the body gets used to the effort, continuing of course the previously described feeding plan. In the second half, we can try to accelerate and maintain faster driving. The best determinant in road cycling will be the power with which we drive. Again, continuous refueling. It often happens that you forget to drink. All you have to do is set the watch, and they make special ones that notify us when we have something to eat or drink. After the signal, always add calories to the oven regardless of whether we feel hunger and exhaustion or not. 

 

Run 

Last for some of the most tiring crossing. I would not suggest here any parameters of our heart rate only our general well-being. In the 1st phase, we replenish the losses again, drink and pick up energy gels. You have to remember about drinking bars or just the gels mentioned earlier. I recommend drinking about 300ml of water for such pleasure. Calories consumed for 1 hour should be arranged in the same pattern as when cycling, unless you need a 100 kcal or 200 supply. In the next stages of the race, we try to increase the speed slightly all the time, being careful not to get into the proverbial way. So that at the end (about 15km to the finish line) be able to give everything. I do not mention the continuous supply of fuel because it is almost the most important factor thanks to which we can reach the end and improve our record. 

 

After the competition 

For about 10 minutes, do not sit down if you can. Walk complement your carbohydrates, proteins and sodium. Drink (not water) because it can disrupt the sodium balance. Eat the meal you like, but if it is lightly digestible and be proud of yourself. 

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You can read also: What to drink during workout?

Posted on: February 13, 2019

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