Ironman and Nutrition

As an endurance athlete following paleo nutrition I know the question always comes up regarding nutrition. I also know that I have searched and searched and haven’t really found any solid answer other than, do what works for you…. The challenge with this is you don’t know what works for you until you try, but here is what worked for me (and it wasn’t at all paleo….)

2 weeks before I increased my fruit intake to 2-4 pieces a day

1 week before I made paleo waffles and also had 1-2 of these each day

The day before I had:

  • a regular breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana and some coffee
  • a big lunch with lots of protein(I had a chopped salad with grilled chicken and split a bunless burger with Steve) and some sweet potato fries.
  • I munched on a lot of  freeze dried fruit all day.
  • I sipped Nuun.
  • For dinner I had a salad and Veal Marsala with a few bites of broiled potatoes- we ate early at 5pm. I also had my regular glass of red wine(no point in changing things up right before the race…)

On race day:

  • @4am I had two hard boiled eggs, a banana and an almond butter packet
  • @6am I had an SFH Chocolate protein shake made with coconut water
  • @swim start I was going to take a honey stinger but I forgot too- I don’t think this was catastrophic but if I had the choice to do it over I would have taken it
  • @Bike transition I had a honey stinger

On Bike course:

  • I sipped Perpeteum(this is NOT Paleo- it is soy protein),
  • ate a half of a banana(or a portion of that half) at most water stops, I consistently drank water as the course was incredibly hot.
  • @ mile 90 I also had a peanut butter and jelly Bonk Breaker bar- This also was NOT Paleo. I wanted an apple pie one which would have been but they were all gone. I should have had a bar or some honey stingers before this as after I ate the bar I realized I had been pretty depleted for quite some time.

On Run Course

  • I brought honey stingers but only had one at the very beginning.
  • I sipped (only a couple of sips- not the whole portion they give you) coke and water.
  • Once they started offering chicken broth I sipped this as well.
  • I had Nuun in my water bottle that I carried. I drank two entire bottles of this at the beginning portion of the race (first 9 miles probably) but after that didn’t touch it again.
  • @Special Needs I had stashed a box of hot tamales, a pack of twizzlers and some M&M’s- NOT Paleo but come on folks- I was in the midst of an IM. I ended up dropping the twizzlers before they were open(yes I teared up a little bit), eating about 20 of the hot tamales before putting them down and saving the M&M’s for after mile 20 at which time I had only a few.

After the Race:

  • Upon completion of the race they had pizza or subway sandwiches. I asked the guy slinging sandwiches for an extra one and I peeled the ham and veggies off of them to eat and pitched the bread. Nothing ever tasted so good- the salt was perfect!
  • After getting back to the hotel room and showering I ate a bunch of beef jerky we had made and brought up as well as more M&M’s- they were the only carbs in the room…… Not the finest recovery meal in the world, but it was midnight, I had just finished Lake Placid Iron Man and my baby was waiting for me to come sleep by him…

Figure out what works for you. This is no way to be considered dietary or medical advice- it’s just what I did on race day.

Have you ever done and Ironman? How about other endurance event? What was your nutrition?

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