It is no secret, we are less than two weeks away from Rev3 Cedar Point Half. My first half. My focus has been on shorter distances. While I could go into a long post (note to self, this may be a good topic for a future post) I am aiming to keep this specific to nutrition strategy for longer distances.
For a sprint distance, hydration is helpful, but spending just around an hour going balls to the wall, you will be hard pressed to fully drain your energy stores. Some would argue that a 2ish hour Olympic distance falls into the same category. I would beg to differ. After losing a bottle at Rev3 Knoxville Olympic this year… I fought to keep hydrated in the hot humid weather. I lost my bottle which consisted of Powerbar Perform mixed with a few Power Gels (Vanilla and Tangerine.) This bottle gave me calories, electrolytes, and hydration. Losing it at mile 4, caused my body to start cramping and responding properly about half way through the run.
Going into this half, I have been taking a look at what my body needs and how to carry it with me. I will go into my “Race Nutrition Plan” and also include morning meal plans.
Race Morning: I plan on packing my blender and either bringing stuff or hitting the store for food since I am staying in a house. My breakfast shake normally consists of the following: 2 frozen bananas, peanut butter, a few tablespoons of ground chia seed, and chocolate almond milk. This meal has worked really well for me on race mornings. It is filling and has protein to keep me full, but not stuffed. It also provides me a good dose of potassium to help keep the cramps at bay.
Pre-Race: I aim to take a package of Powerbar Energy Blasts with water about 20 minutes before my start. This gets them loaded into my system without being at the top of my gut for pushing the swim.
T1: I load up my jersey pockets with a pre-packed baggie containing 4 packages (4×190 calories) of the Powerbar Energy Blasts in cola flavor. These were my first experience with Energy Blasts a few years ago, and I have been hooked since! I am not normally a cola/pop/soda person, but since they are not carbonated, I really enjoy them. I empty the retail packages into a ziploc so I do not have to mess with opening individual packages.
Bike: After a lot of testing on long rides and some advise from a few people, I have tried a different approach than I had initially started with. I used to combine bottles of Powerbar Perform and Gels. My biggest concern was that I would not be able to carry enough calories without making it overly sweet (Something I do not tolerate well.) I take in 3 Energy Blasts every 15 minutes. This helps to space out the calories in and not shock my system with a spike in intake. This puts me at around 230 calories per hour. Based on a recommendation that you should have around 10 oz of water per 100 calories for proper digestion, one would say I should be consuming 60-70 ounces while on the bike. I try to take water in every 10 minutes. Training rides do make things a challenge when you do not have aid stations for refills. Luckily this will be easier to manage at the race with bottle hand-ups.
I normally pack an additional 3 or so servings than I should need for worst case scenarios or accidently dropping them during the transfer. At the end of the bike, I hope to have taken in just under 700 calories and 70+ ounces of water. The amount of water intake also greatly depends on the race conditions. Hotter requires more replenishment of water as I will lose more through sweat.
T2: I quickly unload and reload. I ditch the Energy Blasts at this point and switch to Powerbar Gels. For me a combination of Tangerine (2x caffeine) and Vanilla seems to work well. Since there are 2 pockets on my race top, they get separated out (nicely piled in transition, no time to waste sorting.)
Run: Running out of transition, I plan to pop a Tangerine gel and grab a water to wash it down. The plan on the run is to take water at every station, hopefully around 4 ounces every mile, more if heat deems necessary. The Powerbar Gels go down nicely even without water as they are not overly sweet. The plan is to alternate between Tangerine and Vanilla every two miles. Tangerine at Run Out, 4, and 8, and vanilla at 2, 6, 10, and 12. At mile 12, there is not much need for more caffeine.
Each Gel pack contains 110 calories. By the above standards, I should be taking in a little more water than the plan, but on the run, I tend to go lighter to keep my stomach from sloshing around. The plan is to take in 770 calories on the run, and something to the tune of 50 oz of water minimum, but will take it as needed.
About my decision on the products used:
Powerbar Energy Blasts
I have picked the Powerbar Energy Blasts because it is a great way to deliver a significant amount of calories. I like to have something to chew on rather than just taking gel or liquid the entire time. Both from the mental state as well as how it gets digested/absorbed seems to work well for me. The 2:1 glucose:fructose ratio seems to be a great combination that keeps me properly fueled during the ride. As I mentioned above, the Cola flavor ones are a nice treat and break up the typical citrus flavors associated with sports drinks etc.
Powerbar Energy Gel
The combinations of flavors keep my tastebuds entertained, while the 2:1 glucose:fructose ratio stays consistent with the Energy Blasts from the bike. The Gels also pack 200mg of Sodium which is an added bonus as I do not use salt tabs. The sodium helps to keep hydrated during the final critical stages of the race.
A treat at the end of any long workout or race effort. Mixed with some cold water, Powerbar RESTORE is a great way to replenish lost nutrients. Recovery can be easily overlooked, but often noticed when not done properly. This power packed drink quickly replenishes depleted carbohydrates and protein used during the hard efforts.