Sunday, July 31, 2011

The 4th Discipline: NUTRITION

Hey guess what! I'm training for something!! Just wanted to be sure we all knew that. (more for me than you!) I realized the other day that I need to really spend some time dialing my nutrition. I've been swimming and riding (and have started running), but I haven't done any bricks.. no running off the bike. So what? Well I don't do a very good job of fueling on the bike. I've dropped some 60 - 70 mile rides over the last 8 weeks and for each of those rides here's what I've eaten on the bike (usually w/ breakfast in my belly, but sometimes just w/ a banana to start it off)... ONE bottle of EFS (mix per directions), ONE Gel, and maybe some dried fruit and almonds.... Did you know you burn anywhere from 3000 to 4000 calories on a ride like that.... uh, hey Laura, that's a lot. You should maybe consider EATING SOMETHING!! Especially if you plan to run - um - a HALF MARATHON afterward.

So my first point of contact was COACH. He instructed 350 - 500 calories/hour MINIMUM! HUH? Uh, seriously? OK. (I tried.. really I did.. more on that) That's a 'few' more than I had been having. Let's see I had been averaging about 170/hour.. and that's being generous.

Next point of contact was of course TWITTER and my TEAM TRAKKERS. I got a lot of great advice.

I have two bottle cages on my bike so I decided to do one bottle of DOUBLE CONCENTRATED First Endurance EFS (Grape happens to be my favorite) and one bottle of water to (hopefully) be refilled out in the world somewhere. (Note my awesome pre-planning... I won't even tell you about how we got lost TWICE while following a pre-marked course or about how I registered for a race thinking I was registering for an Olympic only to realize (after paying) that it was indeed a sprint. I. AM. A. GENIUS.) I took one flask of First Endurance Liquid Shot. This stuff is GREAT! I love the flask and it's a bit thinner than other gels so it's easier to get 1. out of the flask and 2. down the hatch.

I knew from previous experiments (though I was running then) that mixing the EFS And LS didn't work too well for me. My plan was to start w/ the EFS about 30 mins in.. then 45 mins later to have some LS... continue with the LS every 45 mins and drink some EFS in between - with at least a 15 min space between the LS and the EFS.

This worked great. I had no issues at all. I also brought a banana to eat half way through. For what it's worth I had a boiled egg and a banana for breakfast... I did have a VERY big dinner and wasn't so hungry in the a.m. When I know I'm going to have a big workout in the morning I make sure to eat a decent sized dinner so that I'm not too hungry in the a.m. and can have just something small to top things off.

So all told I ended up with a total of about 900 calories for the ride which gave me just under the 350 basement number I got from coach, but comparatively to my previous nutrition I'd say this is a good step in the right direction.

I'm happy to report that I felt strong through the whole ride. Which is significant because we had an overall elevation LOSS the first half and a significant GAIN on the way home. It's always good to save the killer climbs for your return trip. The last 50 miler I did (very similar route) left me feeling pretty spent by the end. This one was much better. Probably largely due to the fact that I, um, ATE SOMETHING! :)

When I got home I fired up the blender and had a First Endurance Ultragen Smoothie (Cappuccino). Ice cold and so refreshing. I've gotten away from taking the recovery (Ultragen) shakes because I didn't feel my shorter workouts warranted it, but I gotta say with the nutrition on the bike and the recovery smoothie (w/ BOTH scoops ... sometimes I chintz out and have just ONE scoop after a shorter workout) I recovered much better. I wasn't EXHAUSTED and landed on the couch an hour after my ride. I carried on with my day as usual....

If you've never tried the First Endurance stuff... it's worth a try. Yes, I am sponsored by them, but believe me when I say they have received a good chunk of my cash on their products because they ARE good. Their website has a lot of great resources about endurance nutrition as well as information about how to use their products. You should check it out!

I'll be testing out their PreRace product at my Olympic, er Sprint, race at Niantic Tri on 8/7/2011... first race of the season. Shut up... yes, I realize that it is AUGUST!!!


  1. OH man, that Pre-race stuff is awesome, it is kind of like..ZZZZzzzziiinnnGGGG!!! I recommend trying half a dose to start! I LOVE FE!

  2. Nutrition is SO hard and I think nutrition for a half is probably the hardest of all. You need a lot of calories, but just when you get settled and in a groove, it's hard to eat! :) Sounds like you are moving in the right direction!

    Good luck this weekend. And I can't wait to see you in CP!

  3. Ah, yes, nutrition. As I quickly approach Cedar Point, my coach is reminding me to be mindful of that as well.

    I had a friend who could have easily done an hour better at IMCA if she had just nailed her nutrition plan. What happens to people at triathlons that causes their I.Q.'s to drop by 20 points as soon as they get into transition? You can deduct another 20 at the swim start. With all the oxygen deprivation to the brain, you are lucky if you can pass kindergarten when you are finished.

    That smoothie looks AMAZING!

  4. Interesting read. Thanks for sharing. I need to take the recovery nutrition more seriously.

  5. Hey Fran.... good luck w/ your ironman!