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2013-06-26 10:03 AM

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Subject: Nutrition Advice for First HIM

I've done a number of olys and next month will take on my first HIM. I could use some nutrition advice please. I now have my oly nutrition plan pretty well dialed in but not sure where to start with the HIM.

Some background - I'd normally complete an oly in around 3 hours and am anticipating my HIM to take me around 6 hours.

So should i just plan to eat/drink twice as much? Or is that too simplistic?

And *when* should I do it? I'm wary of eating/drinking anything more before the race than I do already so I'm thinking I will need to stuff it down primarily on the bike yes?

Also, on olys, I eat nothing but gels during the race and that works well for me. Given the longer nature of the HIM, should I be taking on something more "substantial" (complex carbs) e.g Clif Bars?

Thanks for your help.


2013-06-26 10:36 AM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM

Nutrition is highly individual and needs to be practiced and experimented with in training.  Generally what I do is go on a long bike ride at HIM effort that simulates how long you plan to be out on the HIM bike course then run about 30-50 minutes.  During this time you test how many calories and hydration you can take in, you test your pacing, and you see how you feel when you start running.  I don't feel that I need to run more than 40ish minutes to know whether or not I nailed my pacing and nutrition.

A few other notes though.

1.  Don't underestimate the swim first.  If you can get in a brick that starts with a swim, that would be very useful.  I personally don't do it, but it would be a good idea if you could make it work logistically.  One thing you also want to note is that you probably shouldn't take in any calories within the first 15-20 minutes after the swim.  This is because your HR is going to be elevated as your body acclimates from a horizontal position in the water where most of the blood is going to your arms, to now a vertical position where most of your blood is going to your legs.  During this transition phase, you don't want your body to also have to send blood to your stomach for digestion.  That will just complicate things.

2.  Know that pacing affects how much you can digest.  The harder we work on the swim, bike, or run, the less we can digest.  Most people will take in most of their calories during the bike because our HR tends to be lower than the run.

3.  Too little is much easier to recover from than too much.  If you take in too little and start to fade, you just have to slow down for a little while, take in calories, and allow it to pass through your system and you should get close to normal.  If you take in too much, your body's reaction may be to simply hit the purge button and you normally don't recover from that in a short period of time.

4.  You mentioned your normal Oly takes 3 hours and you expect your HIM to take 6 hours.  Most people take a little longer than double their Oly time.  Unless you've drastically improved your fitness since your last Oly, I would plan on being out on the course a bit longer...thus your nutrition plan needs to be extended as well. 

2013-06-26 10:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM

I totally agree with Jason's advice.

In addition, to answer some specific questions:

1.  The body can only get through so many calories in an hour.  Practice 250-350/hour on the bike and 200-300/hour on the run.  This seems to be the average range.

2.   You can get by with gels, etc, if you want.  It's A LOT of gels!  I prefer to use a combo of gels and sports drink when I race.  For my HIM bike, I had 700-something calories in sports drink and then I had gel chews for variety.   I did gels and water for the run.  It's really a tolerance issue and if you are ok with gels it's very easy.  The hard part about a CLIF bar is that's just hard to chew while you're exerting yourself, I think.    That might be a great thing to have for breakfast, though.

Practice Practice Practice! 



Edited by BikerGrrrl 2013-06-26 10:50 AM
2013-06-26 12:13 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
I just completed my 4th HIM...during the run of the first two, I had severe cramps...like laying on the ground for minutes at a time cramps (but I finished)...anyway, I don't think all of this was due to nutrition, but part of it was. So first, don't over bike it and stay within your fitness level.

After my first two disasters, I used an excel spreadsheet and essentially mapped out the amount of time it would take me, and then after doing a bunch of reading etc, tried to figure out the target amount of fluids, sodium, electrolytes, sugars etc. per hour. Then I looked at my nutrition (Gu, water/sports drink, salt tablets, and PB&J) to see what I was getting. It was really eye opening. While I was getting enough fluid, my calorie intake was way below what the reading said my body could process.

I'm not sure how my body type / time compare to you but I'm 6'2 and 180-190, and my PR was 6 hours with the others being substantially longer. If you want my spreadsheet, just send me an e-mail and I'll send it over to you, I tried to attach it here, but couldn't figure out how.

bradyfinney@hotmail.com is my e-mail address...good luck
2013-06-26 12:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM

Oly I only used gels. For my 1st & only HIM (6:03) I had a late dinner and had my usual race breakfast 2.5 hours beforehand (banana, bagel/PB, coffee) then did the following for the race:

  • A gel before swim start
  • A gel in T1
  • Bike; every ~ every 20 minutes I rotated 1-2 electrolyte tablets+3hr mix of Perpetuem then 1-2 electrolyte tablets+1 gel. 2 gels total on bike. Sipped water throughout and as needed for proper Gel and Perp digestion.
  • A gel in T2
  • Run; I used only gels, at mile 4 and 8. At the even mile water stations I took 2 electrolyte tablets

As for the gels, I used Cranksports e-gels, they're 150 calories per packet so ~50% bigger and have more sodium & potassium than other gels.

Definitely experiment in training...

 

 



Edited by Donto 2013-06-26 12:31 PM
2013-06-26 1:16 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
Ditto that you need to experiment but for what it's worth, here's my plan after 4 HIMs. I'm 5'10" and 165.

Breakfast 2.5 hours before race
Sip water until about an hour before the race (I hate having to stop to pee so I keep this moderate)
1 gel 15 minutes before the swim
1 gel every 30-40 minutes on the bike
50-60 ounces of sports drink on the bike
A couple of swallows of sports drink at aid stations about every other mile on the run until about halfway and then usually switch to water as the digestive process slows down. I'll eat a gel or two depending on how I feel.

I experimented with salt tabs during the last race and took in about 1 per hour. No negative effects but couldn't tell if it helped either.

I finish in 5 hours +/- so I am out on the course for less time so factor that in as well.

I have carried Clif bars during races and found that I wanted no part of them because they were too heavy.


2013-06-26 1:24 PM
in reply to: smoom

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
Originally posted by smoom

I have carried Clif bars during races and found that I wanted no part of them because they were too heavy.


What do you mean by "heavy"? Weight or calories?

I eat Clif bars on my bike, coz I like it better than gels.
2013-06-26 1:30 PM
in reply to: Donto

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM

Disclaimer - I'm approaching my first HIM in August, so can only comment based on training.

I've been trying the following for bike/run nutrition and hydration:

- 2 fig newtons (~110 cal) every 30' on the bike.

- 1 bottle of poweraid (getting used to it, as it's what they'll have on course at my HIM) per hour, with water added to thirst (I tend to go through more than one bottle per hour in all but the coolest weather, so this hasn't been a problem from a "too many calories for fluid needed for just hydration standpoint" - might be if you routinely take less than 1 bottle/hour)

- GU every 30' on the run, or out to 45' if my gut gets at all sloshy/bloaty.  Will supplement with poweraid as tolerated...

- Water at aid stations if not getting a poweraid, or in training runs I have a 10oz "butt bottle" that I start with electrolyte drink and then fill with water as I go (or two of them for longer bricks in a belt).

For ME, I like the more solid newtons on the bike, as it lets me take Gu or other gel on the run without already be totally sick of sucking down foil packs of frosting...

Won't know if it works until August!!

Good luck!

Matt

2013-06-26 1:38 PM
in reply to: Lynn00

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
Originally posted by Lynn00

Originally posted by smoom

I have carried Clif bars during races and found that I wanted no part of them because they were too heavy.


What do you mean by "heavy"? Weight or calories?

I eat Clif bars on my bike, coz I like it better than gels.



They never appeal to me because they seem to heavy taste-wise. Like it would just sit in my stomach. I even cut them up into squares but after one or two squares I didn't want any more. Probably just a personal preference thing.
2013-06-26 4:27 PM
in reply to: smoom

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
if the weather is warm Cliff Bars will melt if they have any chocolate in them and become a bit squishy if they don't - I race a Half Ironman with a 3 hour bottle of Perpetuem , water and Honey stinger waffles on the bike. gels and perform on the run.
2013-06-27 12:11 PM
in reply to: smoom

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM


They never appeal to me because they seem to heavy taste-wise. Like it would just sit in my stomach. I even cut them up into squares but after one or two squares I didn't want any more. Probably just a personal preference thing.


I see. I like blueberry crisp and oatmeal walnut (my favorite cookie flavor).
They taste lighter than peanut butter or chocolate fudge ones.
And they get too much sticky as weather gets hotter.


2013-06-27 1:11 PM
in reply to: Lynn00

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Subject: RE: Nutrition Advice for First HIM
Lots of good advice, and I will echo that you need to practice to figure out what works for you. Also, for me, what tastes ok and my body tolerates changes throughout the race. Early on, I do GUs and Nuuns in my water, but later, I can just do water. The GU flavors I'll be able to eat changes too as the race progresses. So, something else to think about as you practice. Another reason why doing a long bike of how long you think you'll be on the bike plus a run after is a good idea. That should help you understand what you need and will be able to take in.
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