Reply To: Ironman Bike Nutrition


Thank you Hope for the very helpful post.  I can’t believe you are still feeling under the weather.  Please do what you must to get back on your feet as you know a strong immune system is absolutely required for the training ahead.  Sleep, sleep and sleep some more.  Perhaps some Vit C and D too?

As for your bike nutrition, fantastic!  I am very impressed that you are so in tune with your bike nutrition.  It is very obvious you have been working hard on this since you know how many calories you can intake without GI issues.  This takes a ton of practice and trial and error.  Thus, you have been working hard!

In addition, your transition to more simple sugars for the later half of the bike is fantastic! I typically recommend athletes transition to more easily digestible simple sugars around mile 85-90 miles.  Nice work dialing in this whole process.  Virtual high five to you!

If this on-bike nutrition plan is working for you, it’s best to keep using it.  You are getting in your calories (energy), hydration and electrolytes and (hopefully) finding long lasting energy particularly for the run.  This is the purpose.

If I were to offer a few recommendations that you can take it or leave it since you are in a good place includes:

  1.  While Tailwind is working for you, I might still recommend that you at least try what is being provided on the course (Gatorade Endurance) just to make sure you can handle it in a pinch.  This goes for the other aid stations options as well.
  2. Your on-bike nutrition plan is still pretty ‘sugar’ heavy even with the PB&J.  If your stomach can handle it particularly when you get off to run when you do need the sugar, then no problem.  However, instead of the gels, blocks, waffles for the front end portion of the bike, this is where I would recommend more salty or savory options like boiled, salted potatoes, pretzels, chips, PB pretzel nuggets, Portable (by Andrew Lim) options, etc.  Rebecca also spoke to this on Sunday and recommends salty or savory options to cut the sugar when you can train your stomach to digest more solid foods.  Then when you get off to run and need the simple sugars, you haven’t already hit your sugar quota.

I can share from experience!  My first IM I used solid, salty foods on the bike and had a great race and the fastest marathon I could have asked for (your fastest marathon + 30 minutes).  So I nailed my bike nutrition and pace.  Then two years later when I took on IMLP again, I was that much faster and stronger.  So I went with a less solid food approach and focused more on the easier digestible sugars on the bike because I hoped to actually be faster.  Instead, I hit my sugar quota on the bike and when I got off to run, I couldn’t get ANYTHING down except water in the later half of the marathon.  Needless to say, this simple mistake added significant time to my Ironman (ie much slower on IM #2 than IM #1) when on paper I should have been significantly faster.

Please learn from my mistakes!  Thank you Hope for sharing!  You are on the right path to execute a solid nutrition plan!