For some athletes, determining their nutrition plan for racing comes quite easily to them.; I have had the opposite experience. I’ve made so many mistakes, so I thought I’d share some of them with you as well as what has worked in hopes that this may help you find you determine your perfect nutrition plan! I use Base Performance products for my hydration and bars, and then Honey Stinger for my chews and gels.
OLYMPIC/ SHORT COURSE
This might sound a little insane but it took me a long time to perfect my race nutrition for Olympic distance racing. I have a bit of a sensitive stomach and when I finally found a solution that allowed me to go hard and race to my potential, I stuck to it. Little did I know how difficult mastering my long course nutrition was going to be! This one is very simple.
3 bottles of Base Performance Rocket Fuel the day before the race.
Plain chicken and rice the night before for dinner.
Wake up on race morning and have oatmeal and banana about 2.5 hours out from race start.
1.5 hours out from race start a natural energy bar like LARA bar, but now I’ve switched to Base Performance Bars. My favorite is the date, cocoa, chia, quinoa and honey flavor. Sipping on Base Performance Rocket Fuel all morning leading into start.
17oz of water as close as possible to the start, usually before my swim warm up, along with a gel.
On the bike just water, and another gel. But I don’t take the gel all at once. I nurse it and keep it stashed in the top of my race suit.
On the run, again, just water and nurse another gel.
For whatever reason, when I’m doing a very short, sharp effort like Olympic distance my stomach does not like electrolyte mix. So I really focus on getting that in pre race.
I feel like I only really figured it out this year! The hard part about race nutrition is you can practice it all you like in training, but for some reason race day is just different. Things that went perfectly for months in training would result me throwing up on race day. Obviously this often resulted in me being underserved calorically and I would bonk badly on the run. So when I switched to Base Performance in 2018 I told Matt this was #1 most important thing to me: help me not throw up. Probably the biggest edit was really putting a focused effort on the day before electrolyte intake.
the day before the race consume 3 bottles of Base Performance Rocket Fuel.
Plain chicken and rice the night before for dinner.
On race day I eat oatmeal and a banana 2.5 hours out and then a Base Performance Bar 1.5 hours out.
All morning sipping on Rocket Fuel
Right before the start 17oz of plain water and a gel.
On the bike 30oz of Rocket Fuel with 3 Honey Stinger gels mixed in, plus water as needed. I would approximate 48oz of water- a little less if it’s a cool race and a little more if it’s a hot/ dry race.
2 packages of honey stinger chomps and another gel if I feel like I need it.
Onto the run 3 gels, one of every 30min. Water at every aid station.
Over the past few years I have played around with just about everything. I tried bars on the bike, but that made me need to use the toilet on the run. I tried no fiber for 3 days leading into race day. That made me feel very low energy leading into race day. I love fruits and vegetables. I tried tons of salt to curb the sloshy stomach- but that gave me a huge headache. I tried liquid only calories but this always left me feeling energetically low. Here is my lesson learned: if something is making you sick, it doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sponsor of your team, or what works for all your friends or the world champion, if it doesn’t work for you it doesn’t work for you. It’s that simple. I emailed back and forth with Matt multiple times before racing Roth this past summer. While I wasn’t able to finish the race due to horrible insomnia induced by jet lag, the nutrition plan felt great. If you read my race report you would know that I woke up and threw up. I was severely overtired, scared shitless that I was about to attempt an iron distance race on virtually no sleep in 3 days. So instead of my usual oatmeal, I switched over to Base Performance Bars and was able to keep two of those down prior to the start. I’m not usually nervous on race morning, so this was great to learn about myself for the future- if I’m ever really nervous I can keep down Base Bars!
3 bottles of rocket fuel the day before the race.
Plain chicken and rice the night before
Usually I would do oatmeal and banana on race morning.
Base bar 90min out
17oz of water and gel right before swim warm up.
On the bike my 30oz aero bottle has rocket fuel and 3 honey stinger gels. Another bottle is just water. Bento box is holding 5 packages of honey stinger chews. **At Challenge Roth you are allowed outside aid within 100m after every aid station so I was able to refill my aero bottle with perfectly mixed rocket fuel. However, at most iron distance events this isn’t possible so I make a concentrate bottle and keep it in the bottle cage behind my saddle. I put marks on that bottle with a sharpie to make sure I put the right amount in the aero bottle and then fill up the rest with water. In a hot and humid race like Kona or Cozumel I would like to get in 4 bottles of Rocket Fuel, but I only did 3 in Roth and that felt right. I ate almost all my chews and came off the bike calorically feeling okay but global fatigue was off the charts.
This is what works for me. It took me a bloody long time to figure it out and every race is different. You have to listen to your body and have a contingency plan in case your body feels a little different than usual- especially in Iron distance racing. I carry what I can but really make sure I use my special needs bags to cover all my bases.
If you have any questions please reach out on Instagram and I’ll do my best to answer them. If you'd like to try Base Performance products please use code 'AK19' to get 35% off Hydro products.
Thanks for reading!