Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or new to the 140.6 scene, nailing your IRONMAN bike fueling/hydration plan can be tricky, with a lot riding on getting it right. With the numerous sports nutrition products on the market today, figuring out how to fuel for 5-7 hours can be daunting, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one athlete doesn’t necessarily work for another, and no matter how appealing it might sound, the “rolling buffet” approach—eating and drinking everything in sight along the race route—will do more harm than good.
Triathlons are easy . . . said no one ever! For one thing, race day can be full of surprises: the weather can turn, your goggles can get kicked off, your big toe can sprout a painful blister. All that to say, you’ve got enough going on, so why not take one big variable out of the equation? Your fuel plan. After all, your body is your most important piece of equipment, and if it’s not fueled properly, then all the training in the world won’t help you.
With so many sports nutrition products and fueling guidelines on the market today, it can be confusing to know what’s best for the long haul. And while endurance athletes thrive on raw data when it comes to aerodynamics, professional bike fits, and training zones, it’s all too common to let a data-supported endurance fuel plan fall by the wayside until race day is imminent. Then we scramble to find the perfect blend of sports nutrition to keep us going until we charge across the finish line. But often it’s a case of too little planning, too late, with a disappointing finish, or worse, a DNF (did not finish).