And Here’s What I Eat During Ironman!

Hey Nell,

Congrats on the recent race; I was wondering of you could go over your during-race fueling/hydration protocol, and perhaps offer some experienced tips and suggestions. 

Of course!  This is something I've written about many times.  Perfect timing, too, as it complements the post I did yesterday about what I eat the day before the race.

Here's what race day looks like for me, for a 7AM race start:

4:15 wake up & prep breakfast in order to be eating by 4:30 AM.

-Breakfast is ALWAYS my signature smoothie:  banana, egg protein powder, 8 oz water and raw almond butter.   I bring an immersion blender when I travel if I'm staying in a hotel that doesn't have a blender.  I also have leftover roasted  yam or sweet potato that I've brought home from dinner the night before if I'm traveling, or prepared if I'm at home.  Also, a black coffee. And, of course, plenty of water.  I eat as I'm getting my race kit ready and so on, and am usually done eating by about 5 or 5:15 am.  Depending on logistics, I'll leave the house (or hotel) in order to get to transition in a timely manner and sip water along the way as needed.

-10 minutes before the race start, I'll have my first PowerBar gel.  For those of you who are regular readers, you already know that this is the one non Paleo food in my diet that I use for endurance training and racing.  I adhere stringently to the 4kcal/kg body weight/ hr of endurance training & racing for bouts lasting longer than 90'.  For me, at 116 pounds, (52 kg) that equals 208 kcals or 2 gels per hour.  That's all I eat for the entire race, whether it's a marathon, a 1/2 Ironman or full Ironman.

-HOMEBREW as per The Paleo Diet for Athletes is a must do for recovery. It's a formula based on body weight of a high glycemic fruit, like banana, glucose egg protein powder and a pinch of salt.

-Then, it's a gradual shift back to Paleo eating, keeping in mind that recovery time = length of workout time.

Hope that helps!