Nutrition IRONMAN Tallin Maurten / Supersapiens, by Yannick Antoine
After 12 Ironman, I must admit that I had not yet found the formula for perfect nutrition. I'm starting to know myself in terms of physical training, and I know what I'm able to do “in theory” on Ironman, but I had never been able to do it in practice before. Nutrition has always been the weak point: gastric worries, loss of energy and drowsiness on the marathon (or even sometimes on a bicycle!), Hypoglycemia, I have already experienced everything ... several times 😊
This time, to prepare the Ironman of Tallin (Estonia), I made a particular focus on nutrition; tested and measured in training my needs and my ability to assimilate the energy necessary to last on an Ironman.
Here are some keys that guided my thinking:
- Pre-race nutrition / carbo loading
I often arrived on the morning of the race having probably eaten too much the previous days and having succumbed to the sirens of brand marketing (eat a lot = buy a lot). Result: bloating, water retention, and sometimes gastric concerns even before the start of swimming!
For this Ironman, I ate "normally" for 3 days but primarily starchy foods (pasta / rice), but without trying to "stock up". I completed these 3 days with 1 can of 500ml of Maurten Drink Mix 320 per day.
- Running: energy needs
The recommendations are to assimilate 1g of carbohydrate per kg of body per hour of running.
It is possible to go beyond that by combining the types of carbohydrates (glucose, maltodextrin, fructose), but it has to be tested.
In the past, the energy drinks I used were often too low in carbohydrates. It was therefore necessary to complete. Either with gels or bars. In practice, I was unable to assimilate the necessary calories without again encountering gastric problems which strongly penalized me on foot.
In addition, the strongly sweet taste (orange, lemon?) Of the drinks on the market creates in me a distaste for sweetness which strongly impacts my ability to continue to refuel with the organization's drinks during the marathon.
- Cycling nutrition management:
Impossible to take on my bike more than 2,5l of drink. It is therefore necessary to find the calories as concentrated as possible in the energy drink, and possibly supplement with some gels / bars while preserving digestive comfort.
In practice :
For all these reasons, and having tested their drink in the past, I chose to focus on the drink Maurten Drink Mix 320 : a sachet diluted in a 500ml can provides 80g of various carbohydrates. For 5 hours of cycling, you therefore need "only" 5 cans of 500ml, and by increasing the size of the cans I can take almost all my nutrition on the bike (or possibly provide a single personal supply point to retrieve a can on the course if it is authorized).
So no more need to slow down with each refueling and try to take cans in flight.
I complete this by 2 bars CLIF which suit me well, but which can be difficult to chew while rolling due to their texture. Limiting myself to 2 bars over ~ 5h allows me to take about ¼ of a bar every 30 ', which is easier to chew and assimilate while avoiding the feeling of an empty stomach.
In parallel, I usually consume mineral salt lozenges as a supplement. The quantity may vary depending on weather conditions. In Tallinn, with 18 ° C and rain throughout the race, my needs were limited (3-4 tablets in all).
- Validate during training:
On Ironman, the goal is to arrive at the half marathon with a good level of freshness and having filled up on calories without any problem. In order to validate my protocol on the bike, I used the Supersapiens blood glucose monitor.
In real life, and also afterwards, I could see how my blood glucose level varied thanks to a patch stuck to the arm and an application on the mobile phone.
On long outings (5-6h and up to 200 km), this allowed me to validate and refine the Maurten Drink Mix 320 + CLIF bars protocol by ensuring that my glucose level did not drop, but on the contrary remained stable thanks to regular consumption.
Once the cycling protocol has been tested and validated, all that remains is to “manage” the nutrition on the run. Difficult here to take 1,5l of drink for 3 hours of racing. I therefore relied on gels Maurten 100 for having successfully tested them in the Ironman 70.3 Les Sables d'Olonne. These are also very digestible despite their particular texture and do not create an insulin spike or disgust with sweetness.
So I went on the marathon with 5 gels that I took withwater refueling, and that I alternated with the organization energy drink. Once my Maurten gels were finished, I had already reached the half marathon and only then did I switch to gels and drinks organisation so qu'to coca to complete. At this moment, the mind comes to the fore, and the fact of being able to swallow what I wanted without gastric concerns or disgust at the end of the race, made it much "easier". In the end, I beat my Ironman marathon record by running an average of 4'27 '' / km (every km between 4'10 '' and 4'40 ').
Better yet: I feel tired but not destroyed on arrival. Good hydration throughout the race and a good calorie intake allowed me to last longer but also to recover more vite.
Of course, this protocol is the one that worked for me and may not be suitable for everyone, but it can serve as a basis for reflection to allow you to create your own plan with the help of Nutri-bay experts 😉