Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When 8 weeks seems like 8 days

I'm a planner so I'm usually looking ahead to big events like my 70.3 at Door County in July.  It's good in that I'll be prepared, not so good in that it feels so close already.  

Since I failed taking in nutrition at New Orleans, I decided for this 70.3 I'm going to do some real nutrition testing. It's hard for me to practice race nutrition since I'm usually not hungry for the first couple of hours of training and I jave trouble eating if I'm pushing hard.

I need to go back and re-read the nutrition propaganda I read while preparing for NOLA, but if I recall correctly, I need about 250-300 calories/hour on the bike.  My training plan this weekend called for a four hour ride so I figured I might as well get started practicing. I mixed a three hour bottle of Infinit ride formula, that's six scoops in a 20 ounce bottle for a total of 840 calories.  Loaded another bottle of ice water, grabbed some honey waffle stingers, put on some sun screen and headed out about 8:30 am on Memorial Day.  I also wore my heart rate strap for the first time in forever. My goal was to keep my hr under 150 since I know when it's above 160 or so, any calories I take in just sit there.

It was already starting to get warm at 8:30 in the morning and it was a bit windy, but that's pretty typical for the St. Louis area and I was really glad it wasn't raining.  I've done 4 hour trainer rides before and they are mind numbing.  I have a nice 26.4 mile loop that goes right past my house so the plan was to do two of those loops plus a 15.4 mile loop.

I took a decent size sip about every 15 minutes and followed it immediately with water. It was very strong and didn't sit well for a few seconds but that feeling went away pretty quickly.  So I just rode on and on, taking in nutrition like clock work, enjoying the day, saying good morning a bazillion times and letting my mind wander aimlessly.  I finished the bottle about 2 hours and 45 minutes in and was glad to be done with it.  That's the most calories I've taken in on the bike by far and I didn't barf so success!

After two laps I was still feeling pretty good, even though it was over 90 degrees, so I decided to do another 26.4 mile loop and go for 80 miles, my longest ride yet.  I ate a honey waffle stinger during hour 4 for another 180 calories then I was done eating even though I had a ways to go.  The last loop and a half, I stopped and poured water over my head a couple times to cool off.  After the ride I had salt caked all over me but felt pretty good.  Even my knees and butt felt pretty good considering what I had just done.

just a little salt
That was a successful test though I need to push a little harder in the next test.  My hr average was only 139.  I would also like to try some other nutrition. Any suggestions?



RockStarTri said...

I had lots of issues dialing nutrition but was able to ultimately get it. A few things that worked for me:

1) Get used to eating and drinking what they offer on the course in case something goes wrong (lose your nutrition, etc. Hey, it happens). For official ironman events that is Ironman Perform (aka Ironcrap). Definitely an acquired taste.

2) Real food early helped me. I did salty baked potatoes and sandwiches.

3) I put myself on the clock for eating and drinking.

When I did my ironman I drank 8 bottles, 2 sandwiches, 4 potatoes, 6 gels and a bag of fritos. All on the bike. It takes a lot of practice to eat that much.

Good luck experimentign. Ping me offline if you have any specific questions.

TriMOEngr said...

Maybe I will just have to indefinitely stick to short races. The thought of eating or drinking that much on the fly makes me a little queasy to just think about. Glad you had some luck this time though. I tend to think I'd do better with actual food, but I also know sometimes I just don't feel like eating when I really should.

Mike said...

I suggest straight maltodextrin. You can buy it from home brewing stores. I've had trouble with Infinit and Hammer products and am having great success with straight maltodextrin. It sits well even when I ride hard. And the best part is that it sells for a couple dollars per pound rather than $20. I add in a little bit of powdered gatorade or propel for flavor.

I've done Door County twice. It's a great race.

TriMOEngr said...

FYI - My experience with crackers (and I tried just about every kind through 18 months of pregnancy nausea) is that they tend to feel like glue in your mouth even with the peanut butter a lot of the time. I'd suggest regular ole' white bread (w/ or w/o crust) or even try the frozen "Uncrustables" pocket sandwiches (I've read other triathletes that use them). You might also try fig newtons. If eaten early enough - a banana might be good. Again, all things I've seen other endurance folks try. So far, except for the one crazy ride with the Virtus group a couple weekends ago, I've never really gone long enough to worry about it.

Raina said...

Wow that is a LOT of calories on the go. You did very well to ingest all that! All this rehearsal early on will be of great help later.
Nutrition- still learning about it, but I like the cliff bars a lot- if you can handle a solid. If not, go for the gels. I don't know if you have issues with caffeine, but the research I have done says that it REALLY helps endurance on the bike- more than in running.

Laughing about the crackers comment above :))

Jill said...

Is that your shoulder covered with salt? How does a shoulder sweat? I guess when it's 90 degrees. I shouldn't tell you that it was a balmy 27 degrees for the start of my son's 25k yesterday, right? :)

I think nutrition is the hardest thing to nail when training for endurance events. I really struggle with any gels and for awhile was consuming smashed pb&j marathon training. Just became a huge issue during a race when most don't hand out such delicacies at aid stations. I've had a bit of success with Perpetuem, but I have to really be clever and plan shirts with pockets of some sort. Royal pain, but better than barfing, as you know. Nice job on the experimentation and really great job on the extra bike mileage.

Unknown said...

I prefer solid foods like fig newtons and PB&J, but I always struggle with how to carry that stuff on long rides. I also carry a bottle of gatorade and a bottle of water for long rides. I have been trying to get used taking gels although they have given me tummy troubles in the past.

Teamarcia said...

Sounds like a successful ride--salt, nutrition and all!
I cannot fathom eating that much on a bike of all places. Hell I'm still challenged reaching for my water bottle. Love Door County. We used to camp there every Columbus Day weekend. Fun!

KovasP said...

Nice ride! I'm a whole foods kind of guy, so I'd suggest finding things you can make yourself (date-based gels, etc) or buy that will fit inyour jersey pocket. I know Levi Leipheimer eats bean burritos on his training rides!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Such a tough question, since we are all different and our stomaches handle different foods in different ways. I like gel bites, the little gummi type for fuel along with the waffles

Kate Geisen said...

Wow, that's a lot of salt!

I don't have any good nutrition input since that tends to be my Achilles heel. My only real long race experience was LBL, and I found that by the end it just felt like too much effort to chew. I like Ensure-type drinks for easy calories, but I'm not sure how that would translate to high-effort situations. You're smart to be working this out now, though.

I have a good friend who does the Door County half every year and loves it. Are you guys making this a family vacation? I hear it's a beautiful area!

ajh said...

That's a serious training ride. And you extended it. I don't think I would do that. I always complete what I intend but I don't add.
Sometime, no hurry, would you tell me how to taper for a sprint tri. I am doing 4 runs, 3 bikes and had been doing 2 swims a week. I can start swimming again tomorrow.

Anne B said...

That picture tells it all. It was crazy hot this weekend, good job getting out there and working on nutrition! Crackers are good but as the poster above pointed out, they can somewhat gob up and make it feel like you are choking. At Racine I had a small turkey sandwich (crazy I know but it worked) and some fig newtons, and those went down pretty well. I wish I had the Infinit, but used Ironman Perform and took a small sip every mile, alternating with plain water.

Kate Geisen said...

I may try the Aquaphor, and will at least use the Chamois Buttr. Hopefully that helps.

My seat isn't super padded at all. More so than the brick that is my road bike seat, but not by a whole lot. I did realize (after 1 1/2 years of riding it) that it's a men's seat, and the new one I bought is womens-specific, so maybe that'll make a difference? I'm bringing the old one to DK, so if need be I'll swap them out at a CP. Can't believe it's practically here!

Unknown said...

I've recently started using pretzels. I don't even like pretzels that much normally, but they sit really well in my stomach while training (haven't actually raced with them yet). I think sometimes I just get tired of all the sweet stuff.

Theia said...

I don't do any workouts long enough to require actual food, but I've heard from VERY accomplished triathletes that PB&J works well.

And a four-hour trainer ride? Ooof.

ajh said...


Now I am doing 4 runs a week. Three of them tend to be 4ish miles and one anywhere from 8 to 12 miles. Then I bike 3 days. The rides range from 12 - 25 for the most part with a rare longer one thrown in. Swimming was twice a week for the slowest mile anyone ever swam. I have only swum once since dental stuff. Plan to swim twice a week still and get to the lake twice. So tapering? I am guessing just the last week.

And I have a race question. How hard do I push on the bike? The most I can or do I ease up some because I still have to run. I am expecting to be the last out of the water although I don't know the order of the waves.

AMcConn said...

I am not doing nearly the mileage that you are but I carb up the night before, eat oatmeal with brown sugar for breakfast, have a Gatorade before the race and then...I love my Gu Chomps. The Blueberry flavour is awesome and they never upset my stomach.
Good luck with finding something that works for you and please keep us all updated on what you try!

Doreen said...

I've been stalking your blog for awhile and thought I'd finally say hi!
YOu should try reading the book by Bob Seebohar called Metabolic Efficiency.
It might be too late in this season to change but I'd highly suggest switching to it during the off season!
I previously had my nutrition dialed in and never had issues. With these changes though my performance is up! And I'm much more effeciant.
Just a thought!
Thanks for all you share! I always enjoy your writing!

Kathy said...

Ahh, the human salt lick!! You certainly took that to an extreme - but I think that says a lot about your nutrition on the ride.
Isn't it nice to know that you have the capacity to push it harder! Great job!

Ali Mc said...

I have no nutrition suggestions - unhealthy skinny/fat chick here ;) and WOW that's a lot of salt. I wonder why my sweat isn't salty.