Now we are talking! To be successful at the Ironman distance, we must be ‘trainers.’ If you don’t love training and remain committed to it, this distance will be very challenging. And we know that years of cumulative training is key to this successfully conquering this distance. Nice work making the most of this season, Megan!
So let’s dive into all of the golden nuggets in your training (and practice racing) thus far!
Practice Half Ironman – Unless someone hasn’t shared their experience, I think you are the only participant to take on a virtual or practice half Ironman. Anyone else? And you learned some very important lessons! Typically cramping is a result of improper pacing (ie asking your body to do something it is not trained to do). Nutrition can play a hand in the equation but usually it’s pacing so I decided to investigate.
Looking at your tune up race data, you spent over 75% of your time in zone 4 or 5. So that’s over an hour in zone 4 and over another hour in zone 5. Given that zone 5 is anaerobic, this tells me that your zones are incorrect. However even if 5 minutes was in zone 5, anaerobic means that your body/muscles are not getting oxygen. What happens when your muscles don’t get energy? Yes, they cramp.
It’s almost impossible for your body to intake and digest nutrition at this pacing. So add in that you were then also probably dehydrated (and possibly low on calories, which is your energy), this is likely what lead to your DNF. In the end, why not learn these valuable lessons during a tune up race instead of come race day!?
Nutrition – One of the benefits of learning some important lessons with practice races is how your nutrition plan is working. You found that you need extra hydration and found a great option to remedy this. Great work!
While I won’t comment on Red Bull, as I recognize that some race settings provide it, Rebecca Mohning, sports nutritionist, does not recommend it’s use due to how it impacts your blood vessels, etc.
What she does recommend is using whole food options for part of your on-bike nutrition. While most of the options that you are using are very sugar heavy, this is a perfect opportunity to intake options that are savory or salty. This will help cut the sugar so you haven’t reached your sugar quota on the run, when you do need the simple sugars.
Whole food options include boiled, salted potatoes, peanut butter pretzel nuggets, pretzels, chips, etc. Many triathletes have found success with recipes from the book, Portables by Andrew Lim. Thankfully potatoes are inexpensive and pack a salty, energy punch!
Your bar recipe sounds amazing (and I have printed it off myself to give it a try). Thank you for sharing!
Has anyone else been able to dial in their nutrition plan this season? It’s a great season to work on it since it takes a lot of trial and erroring as Megan is finding…and she already has IM experience! Has anyone else taken on a tune up race?
Thank you Megan for sharing your experience and lots of lessons we can all learn from! Proud of you for taking on the tune up race experience!