Race Recap: Half Ironman Nutrition Week Before Race

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The craziest thing I think I’ve ever done so far is sign up for a half iron man… That’s just CRAZY! So while training for that all year, in addition to the other races, I made sure to try to find a nutrition plan that was going to work well, as after some of the longer races I’ve done in the past, I haven’t felt the best.

NUTRITION BEFORE HALF IRONMAN: 

I found an Ironman Taper Nutrition Basics 3 Week Plan here, which is what I went with and made a ton of sense. Basically, 3 weeks out you start eating less than you have been, to cut back on working out as well. 2 weeks out, start eating higher protein packed but well balanced meals, with fruits & veggies, cutting out desserts and alcohol ( I cut out alcohol like a month beforehand). What a followed to a T was the below: 

  1.  7 to 4 days out: Eat well, stick to foods your body knows, and don’t overdo it on carbs. Avoid caffeine after 11:00 a.m. to ensure a quality sleep. Manage stress by doing 10 to 20 minutes of meditation each day

  2.  3 days out: If you plan to use caffeinated gels or supplements during the race, decrease your caffeine intake by 25 percent now to ensure you get the boost you’ll need on race day. Increase carb intake to 60 percent, avoid uncooked meats and reduce fiber and spicy foods.

  3.  1 day out: Increase your sodium intake by seasoning your meals, eating salty foods like pretzels, and supplementing with salt tabs at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the night before the race. (Test-drive this during training.) 

The morning of, I found a list of foods to eat for breakfast, and I chose the applesauce, rice krispies, peanut butter and honey and felt great a few hours beforehand!

NUTRITION DURING THE HALF IRONMAN: 

During was another part I was a bit nervous about. I knew that the race would provide gus and gatorades and whatnot, but I wanted to have the brand I was used to and comfortable with. So, I probably overloaded on bringing Vanilla Gu’s and salt tabs but I felt great during and after so it was worth it.

SWIM: 

I cut out caffeine a week beforehand, and didn’t take a gu before the swim. In transition, I grabbed some caffeine jelly beans and started on the bike!

BIKE: 

I started cracking the vanilla gu packets about 15 minutes into the race, from then on finished 1 gu every 45 minutes. I killed both water bottles and grabbed a third in the last hour of the bike ride, since I don’t like drinking water right before running. I also took about a salt tablet every hour, except for 1.5 hours in, my stomach started hurting, I popped a salt tablet and felt so much better.

RUN: 

During the run, I started timing my gu packet and salt tablet consumption with the aid stations, which started showing up every mile at mile 3. I’d try to continue taking a gu every 40 ish minutes, so every few aid stations, and then take a salt tab at every other station when I was not taking a gu. I’d use some gatorade to get it down, while pouring water all over. These aid stations had everything from cookies to coke, but that was not about to happen.

AFTER: 

Afterwards, I felt great. We stopped by the post-race party to carb up and had a slice of pizza, some salad, and a diet coke, which was a great amount of food. We had a 2 hour drive home after the race, and all I had around myself were pretzels and gatorade, but that did the trick.

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