Thank you, Ryan for sharing your experiences! Very insightful. However I do just want to make a few comments regarding Ryan’s plan (hope you don’t mind Ryan!).
I know participants are not aware of exactly who is posting, their experience level and how fast they are. Thus I want to make sure that you all understand that typically a gel only fueling plan is best for very fast, elite-level athletes. Yes, some athletes are doing the IM distance in half of the time as the rest of us. If you are doing a 9-10 hour Ironman, perhaps you can get away this type of nutrition plan. However if we are adding a good 4-7 hours to our race, this is likely not a realistic plan.
As I shared in a previous post, I have done the IM distance fueling with solid food options and the gel approach. The gel approach worked for the bike and then I completely blew up my running nutrition plan (and therefore my run) due maxing out my sugar quota. Thus this race ended up being a slower, more miserable experience for me even though I was much more seasoned and conditioned.
Just like there is no ‘good bike, bad run,’ what you do in the on-bike nutrition will end up affecting your run nutrition plan. So be sure to consider your experience level and the amount of time you are going to be out on the course.
Not sure if Jason will add his experience with an all-gel nutrition plan on the bike. However I think he would tell you that he won’t be doing that again!