Monday, October 25, 2010

8 Weeks later it finally makes sense

Timberman was 8 weeks ago this past weekend. Wow how time flies!

So I can't remember if I mentioned this during my race report, but during the bike portion of that race I got REALLY hungry towards the end of the ride and had to resort to eating an emergency Gu and going off of my eating schedule.

This emergency strategy worked and the rest of the race was PR-city.

But this has remained in the back of my mind as to "why" this happened. Why worry about it? Well when you practice something over and over and over again and you keep getting the same results and then suddenly the last time you put it into action and something isn't right, then that is troubling because I don't want to repeat that ever again, because that next time will most likely be during a 140.6 mile Ironman where slight mistakes are reflected exponentially.

I wrote it off as I was cold during the bike because it was raining and my body used up extra fuel to stay warm. That didn't make sense because I put out not that much wattage that day and from training through the winter, I know I don't need much extra fuel when it is cold, and it didn't get THAT cold that day.

So what was it that caused me to become hungry on the bike?

Last night it hit me. The time span between eating breakfast (3:30-4:00 AM) consisting of my usual 3 bowls of Cinnamon Toast crunch and my swim wave going off (7:45 AM) was almost 4 hours. I ate a Gu @ 6AM and 7AM that morning. 200 Calories was NOT enough fuel to keep me held over for a 4 hour wait where nerves do in fact eat up fuel.

Then I ate up a bunch of fuel on the swim and only got down my first Gu 30 mins into the bike. So over a 5 hour span, I only ate 200 calories. No wonder I was playing catch up in regards to nutrition that resulted in emergency eating on the bike!

My lesson learned 8 weeks later? PLAN BETTER  & Eat enough fuel between breakfast and my swim wave to keep the tank topped off. On a long bike training day, I usually pound the cereal and am biking within an hour and am starting the Gu within 30 mins. NO WONDER I am never hungry on the bike during training.

Fortunately for Placid next year, I am a 1 mile walk to the swim start and my wave will be @ 7AM with everyone else.


  1. I had a similar revelation this weekend about my race at the Columbia Triathlon. That was back in May, I guess I'm a little slow on figuring that stuff out. Ha!
    I would have never figured it out if I didn't write my race reports though!

  2. I cannot believe your prerace breakfast is Cinnamon Toast Cruch. I love it as much as the next person however that is a porta-potty break waiting to happen!

  3. Interesting post. I have also noticed that race nerves throw off my nutrition strategy - soemthing that works all the time in training is suddenly not enough on race day, so even though you can't practice it, it's good to be prepared.
    I love that you eat three bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch pre-race! Personally, I'm a Lucky Charms girl...

  4. I am lucky that I do not have any GI issues (or almost none) – but I eat a ton on the bike in half iron distance and longer. I eat a Gu like every 20 minutes – 300+ calories an hour.

    If you can handle it I would suggest eating more.

  5. I am really bad at fueling, I need to work on it for sure. The best thing about you figuring that out is that you know to avoid it in the future! :)

  6. yeah... that is my biggest problem. Olympic distances fine. HIM distances, I am a mess. Need to practice nutrition more than I need to train in my book. Your training is worthless if you can't use it.

  7. Love that you were still thinking about this 8 weeks later! Sign of an endurance athlete...

  8. Though I have not ventured in to long course races yet, I have always wondered why we eat so little before a race. I mean, its seems the average person (through race reports I have read) eats usually a powerbar, or bagel, or toast, and thats about it, That stuff is usally light (depends on the bar, some are light) but its usually hours before the race starts, so we start the race in a hungry state. I know we cant eat in the water, but we are already looking for fuel right after it and it can blow up the "350 calories" that has been said that atheltes can digest in a hour.

  9. Great observation. I got hungry during an Olympic and it makes sense since I was eating at 4am and didn't get in the water until 7:30a or so and I didn't come close to eating the calories you ate.

    Then on the bike I had only 2 GUs and that is certainly not enough.

    Thanks for the insight and that will certainly help for the future.

  10. Great call on the review 8 weeks later
    love this
    especially b/c it now makes me feel normal rehashing why I cramped heavily in my legs in TCM. And I think I have the answer as to what happened...we'll find out in Jan.!
    Also love your analysis regarding amounts and time etc - something that I should be doing!


  11. I'm with DRog -- 8 weeks later - awesome!

    I suck at fueling. Can only imagine how it COULD feel if I did it right. ;)

  12. Congrats on coming to this conclusion! That will definitely help you at IMLP.

    I suck at fueling and I have long way to go with that one. But I am getting better!

  13. Great that you can bring back your experience and learn something to improve on next time.

    I can only imagine about how that would feel after a swim that long. I brought a peanut butter and honey sandwich with me to eat during my 4 hour wait at a sprint race despite being able to get to gels 1o minutes after the start of the race.

  14. Excellent post Jon! Very glad you decided to share this with us as it is very essential. We always practice nutrition while on the bike or on the run but rarely do I think about before the race.

    When training I eat then I ride ... no standing around waiting -- waiting for wave starts needs to be taken into consideration!

  15. So true!! It is different in training because you do get right on the bike an hour or so after eating. When you are waiting that long you need to do an extra 200 per hour you are waiting. I ate at 4:30 for my 70.3 and my wave was 7:20 so I ate a couple powerbars, gel, Boost, and MOJO helped!!

  16. Nice that you figured this out way before race day and have plenty of time to rehearse. Definiely 200 calories within 5 hours is going to put you into the negatives and then to try to play catch up, usually doesn't work so well.

  17. Way to figure it out! And, you're so right. We are told to eat 3 hours before the race, and then have a gu or something 15min. before the start. It's totally not enough for a longer distance race!


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