Ironman Training and Race Day


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I am going to start the Whole30 January 1st. I have been playing around with the diet the past few months but have not 100% committed because of business trips, vacations and holidays. I also start training for an Ironman January 1st. I will be 30 weeks out so I am not too concerned with fueling my workouts in the first 30 days but my question is how do you fuel using a diet like this for long training. I have read "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" but still can not fully understand how to fuell for a 6 hour training ride followed by an hour transition run or a 12 hour race. The is a race not a stop and chew on some food or get something out of a saddle bag, I need to be able to perform and also not have gut issues! I need advice, I have used Hammer Endurolytes and Perpetum in past half ironmanr and it worked but I could not maintain my lean race weight training with this stuff. Any advice would be great!

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I'm starting my first Whole30 in January too. My husband, the Ironman, is doing it with me. He had stomach issues at the beginning of his training last year (who wants to suck down packets of gel every 45-60 minutes?) and finally talked to one of his coaches. She is an ultramarathoner and told him to try UCAN. He loved it and on race day he mixed up 5 packets and used 4. His time was 12:25:22.

UCAN is a superstarch and it's gluten-free but I don't know if it's Whole30 approved. It's a carb that doesn't spike your insulin, burns fat stores, and supposedly you don't crash. There's different flavors and I think there is a unflavored one. it's a liquid so you'll have to plan how to use your waterbottles carefully.

After my husband started using it, his stomach issues went away. If you google Generation UCAN, you'll be able to get to the website and I believe you can buy it on Amazon.

During your first month of training, you might not need anything, but I know natural applesauce comes in squeeze packets although it might spike your blood sugar.

I hope that helps and good luck with your training and with the Ironman! It's an awesome experience!

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Also, read some of the threads in beginnertriathlete.com. The mentor group I am part of is talking about this very issue because we are doing Whole30/Whole100. Here's a post:

I know the whole notion of carb loading before a race is a misnomer but it does reflect the same idea (like eating a bagel or English muffin with pb before a race). So the energy that sustains us during a race comes from fat? Protein? What about the use of gels, drinks etc during races?

Let's unpack, there are a lot of questions here.

"We need carbs for energy" -- Yes. Carbs come in lots of different forms. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of carbs, those carbs don't affect blood sugar the way that grains and sugar do because the carbs are packaged with lots of fiber, water and nutrients. For a person with normal activity level, you can get more than enough carbs with fruits and vegetables.

"carb loading before a race" -- You're not actually loading carbs before a race, you're actually topping off glycogen stores, which is slightly different. Glycogen is a secondary energy source for the body that is stored in the liver (fat is the primary energy source) and when competing in endurance events, the body inevitably uses some glycogen. Training can deplete glycogen stores and the point of eating more carbs than usual prior to a race is to top off glycogen stores.

"eating a bagel or English muffin with pb before a race" -- I really dislike peanutbutter as a pre-race food. It has a really high fat content and it takes your body a long time to digest peanutbutter. My pre-race breakfast of choice is unsweetened applesauce (high in water content and lots of carbs), a scoop of whey protein (the BCAAs help with fatigue), a banana and sports drink. All things that provide water, carbs and electrolytes, no fat or fiber and are easily digestable.

"So the energy that sustains us during a race comes from fat? Protein?" -- This is a beig IT DEPENDS. Your body will metabolize fat during the course of a race. The longer the race (and this the lower intensity you race out) the higher the percentage of energy from fat metabolization. There are sports nutritionists out there (Bob Seebohar is the big one) that feel you can essentially race an Ironman on 100 calories/hour if you train your body to effectively metabolize fat. As a total aside your body generally doesn't use protein for energy in a race situation -- except in really rare circumstances. For most triathlons your body will metabolize fat and glycogen to provide energy.

"What about the use of gels, drinks etc during races?" -- Once again, it depends. For a really short race (less than an hour) you don't need anything calorie wise (you made need fluids and electrolytes particularly if its really hot outside). As the race gets longer, your body isn't super effective at metabolizing fat to provide energy so you need to supplement with additional calories, this is where sports nutrition products come in. It should also be noted that the use of sports nutrition products during training / racing does not adversely affect blood sugar because your body is immeadiately using the sugars you consume. I generally like a product that combines low and short chain sugars, electrolytes and fluid (so a good sports drink). During an IM I also use PowerBars and Gels on the bike and Clif Shot Bloks on the run. The thing to remember when using sports nutrition products is that they have a time and place. You really don't need a gel for a 60 minute easy bike, but you probably do need something for a 4 hour bike.

How are you handling gels for this diet? The two gels I use are HoneyStinger which is organic honey but sugar nonetheless and Iginte Naturals which are made from figs. Both are supposed to control blood sugar spikes and I do notice that I maintain a more steady level with them. I cannot stand GU, Hammer, etc.

If you are using gels while training / racing, the training/racing should control the blood sugar spikes. Sugar is sugar whether its organic, from honey, from figs, etc. If the Honey Stingers and Ignites work for you, go with them. Part of the reason why I like Clif Shot Bloks so much on the run is because they are about 30 calories / blok so I can ake one blok every other mile and control, which helps with digestion and contorlling the sugar tap (its an even stream as compared to a bigger calorie bomb less frequently).

The other big thing to look at with gels / drinks is the electrolyte content. Most triathletes are loosing about 600mg of sodium per hour and that needs to be replaced (this is one reason I don't like Hammer products -- because the electrolyte profile is pretty poor and because they contain sorbitol, which is a diuretic).

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Ive competed in several IM races along with multiple endurance Mountain Bike races. All of my racing has been done before I've started the Whole 30/Paleo so I'm still experimenting and looking for some good insight.

I think the first step is weighing yourself Pre/Post workout to see your sweat rate to see how much fluids/ectrolytes your losing and how much needs to be replaced.

Prior to starting the Whole 30 I used a product called Infinate during my races and it worked very well. You can custom order it to add how much Protein, Carbs, Sodium, etc you want which makes it convenient. However, since transitioning to the Whole 30, I've had some stomach issues with it.

I've also been turned onto Succeed S caps. I've used them along with water on several training rides and I'm still trying to come up with the correct formula on how many to take. Alot of the Ultra Runners swear by them and so far I like them.

Another product I have been using is called Vespa. It is supposed to help the body metabolize fat as fuel. I used it on several shorter training rides (2 hours) and it seemed to have helped me with recovery and feeling better the next day.

Nutrition is specific to the individual so this might or might not work for everyone.

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Hi guys, none of the products folks are listing are compliant. This is all good conversation for Post Whole 30, but it extends passed the scope of this forum.

OP, since you're so far out from your race, you luckily have a lot of time to tinker with this. I would do your best during these 30 days and EAT. Just focus on that. you're going to need a lot of food and it's going to take effort to get the calories from quality sources. Ensuring adequate intake is going to minimize your performance dip.

I know an ultra runner that mostly slants Paleo. Google his training log for ways he's fueled his long races and what's worked for him. His name is Shane.

I think that once your body gets used to not having an abundant source of carbs around to burn, you're just going to feel better/more secure in experimenting with race day fueling while you train.

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Hi guys, none of the products folks are listing are compliant. This is all good conversation for Post Whole 30, but it extends passed the scope of this forum.

OP, since you're so far out from your race, you luckily have a lot of time to tinker with this. I would do your best during these 30 days and EAT. Just focus on that. you're going to need a lot of food and it's going to take effort to get the calories from quality sources. Ensuring adequate intake is going to minimize your performance dip.

I know an ultra runner that mostly slants Paleo. Google his training log for ways he's fueled his long races and what's worked for him. His name is Shane.

I think that once your body gets used to not having an abundant source of carbs around to burn, you're just going to feel better/more secure in experimenting with race day fueling while you train.

Thanks Renee for addressing its not Whole 30 approved.

I'm a newbie, on 3rd day. I struggle to eat a boiled egg Pre WO &

no appetite to eat chicken breast Post WO, any suggestions? or will it get easier? I'm training for my first ultra marathon & my next race Surf City Half Marathon is Feb 3rd. I saw GU, Stingers, & my electrolyte Ultima Replenish may not be Whole 30 approved (unless they are?) Do you have any ideas that would be easy to digest & fuel me for a long run?

Thanks for your help everyone http://forum.whole9life.com/public/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/smile.png

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Mistie--How exciting to be training for an Ironman! Which one are you doing?

I discussed some of my experience with Whole30 and endurance training in the 100M nutrition thread also in the Whole30 For Athletes forum, so here I'll just expand on my ironman experiences.

I've done 3 so far, the first one on Paleo and two in a *modified* Whole30. While base training was easy enough on Whole30, once I switched into more intense and longer sessions, my body did not have the energy or recovery capacities needed. So I was Whole30 until about 3-4 months from the race. At that point, I used those fake food gels and bars and powders as needed in training, then good Whole30 foods outside of training to give my body the best opportunity to build and heal that I could.

You mentioned starting a Whole30 in January along with your training? From my experience (and yours might differ), you should be OK staying compliant in January and a few months after that. You won't be doing 6hr rides this early and you don't need sporty fake foods for the short 1-2 training sessions.

These first months will give your body time to adapt to the Whole30 and start learning to burn fat. But you will have to listen to your body and pay attention to yourself if you continue training on Whole30-only foods. And that's the great thing about Whole30, why it's been such a benefit for me, and why I continue doing it--The Whole30 will help you learn to listen to what your body is saying and puts you in tune with each other. I have never felt better, never recovered faster, and never thought I'd be this happy with food. Our bodies are amazing when treated right :)

Best of luck as you prep, I'd enjoy hearing how it goes for you!

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For me--Lara bars are great energy, I'll slowly eat one over a long run at a slower pace. Anything fast (the pace or the eating) and they upset my stomach, probably due to the fat and/or fiber. And I can't eat them outside of training, they set off my sugar cravings.

They are super easy to make too, but I can't because then I'll eat too much!!

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While not Whole30 specifically, try googling Nell Stephenson to see her blog. She is very clean/strict paleo and a highly successful ironman triathlete. If I remember correctly, her only non-Whole30 approved supplements would be the gels or liquids she uses DURING an event or long training session. Pre and post races/workouts, she eats only what would be acceptable by Whole30.

If you are still 30 weeks out, my guess is that you'll be able to be 100% compliant for at least 30 days still (as your sessions shouldn't be *that* long yet, right?).

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Thank you akk! Just finished week 1, had good run, yoga and swim sessions and felt a little stronger! My race is Lake Placid so I do have plenty of time and January sessions are not so long that I need any nutrition or fake food. I have looked into many products you have all listed and will check them out! I have always has a very clean diet and happy I just took the next step.

I am having a hard time figuring out how to eat PReWork Out and post when I have multiple sessions over the course of the am. Today I ran at 4:45am and then did yoga, finished up at 6:15ish. Then I swam at 9:30am for 45 minutes. How many times should I have eaten today?

I had breakfast at 6:30 am

Post Swim snack 10:45

Lunch 1:30

I knew I was going to have to eat late with crazy kid schedule so snack 4:30

Dinner 8pm

Curious how does this look? I can not pre and post workout eat plus meals I think that is too much?

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Sorry, it was late should have waited to post:

5am Run - 4 miles followed by 20 minutes of light yoga

Breakfast at 6:30 am - 2 Eggs, Coffee w 2 T coconut milk, left over veggies beats, sweet potatoes(1/8 cup), spinach, green beans, peppers, mushrooms cooked in coconut oil

Swam - 45 Mintues

Post Swim snack 10:45 - 2 Beets, 1.5 Hard Boiled Eggs

Lunch 1:30 - Homemade Waldorf Chicken Salad (Mayo, Grapes, Apples, Celery, Chicken, Walnuts), Over Romain, Carrots and Snap Peas

Snack 4:30 - Paleo Pack, 2 pieces of Lunch Meat Wrapped in Romain plus Tea with Coconut Milk

Dinner 8pm - Chile and 1/2 of Orange

Today

5am with 30 minute Bike and 15 Minute Run

6:30 Coffee with Coconut Milk, 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup brussel sprouts, 1/2 Cup Butternut Squash with Ghee, Cinnamon, 1T Crushed Walnuts

Actually not really feeling hungry so that is good, it is 11:30.

I am one of those people that is SO scared of gaining weight! I am up 5 pounds form super ideal weight, 3 from normal weight. Body fat is about 1-2% higher than I like to compete. I am crazy about weighing myself etc but am sticking to the program but just feel like if I don't add the sweet potato and squash in diet at least 1-2 times a day I crash and have no energy. Energy crash mid say is why I am doing the Whole 30 plus feeling like I have to have 6 meals a day! But this seems like a lot of carbs to me. This is Day 8!

Mistie

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What you're eating looks good, and you are ACTIVE. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO EAT SWEET POTATOES AND SQUASH!!!

I'd really try to free yourself from the confines of the magical number on the scale. The number doesn't actually tell you anything! How you look/feel/perform are much better markers. If you start PRing your race times, does it _really_ matter what your BF% is?

I have a post on here with a series of pics of my friend Tamara. She consciously went from 170 to 123 and then tried to GAIN weight back to 165ish over the course of a year or so. It illustrates how meaningless that number is.

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Mistie,

Congrats!! I did Lake Placid last year as my 2nd IM. What's your screen name on BT?

I started the year with a Whole 30 then was pretty strict paleo through the entire training period which, like you, started January 1st. I also was a big fan of Hammer products prior to going paleo. Generally, I only strayed from paleo foods during long runs and rides. I tried so hard to find paleo options for long training days but no luck. I tried sweet potatoes, lara bars, raisins, the organic baby foods, etc. Nothing worked but I was determined to find something. What I did find is that, as I became more fat adapted, I only needed to bring fuel for weekend training. Weekday training was fine with a pre and/or post training meal.

This is not Whole 30 approved but I understand needing to fuel 18 mile runs and 100 mile bike rides. Check out UCAN. It is a starch but there are very few ingredients and it is designed for athletes who are fat adapted. I was already fat adapted by the time I tried it and suspect it would have been a bit of a transition if I had not been because it is designed for you to need a minimal amount of calories. Check out the website. I only know one other person who uses their product but neither of us would consider their claims to be hype. I'll say this, it doesn't taste fantastic b/c it is not sweet and it is a bit chalky. Both were sacrifices I was willing to make to stay as close to paelo as possible while training for an IM. UCAN is a powder that I mixed as a drink for long rides and mixed as a gel for long runs.

Lake Placid is a GREAT race! You are going to have a great time.

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