Fueling Your Ironman
How I fueled for the Ironman Chattanooga Bike and Endurance Training/Race!
Let me start by saying that I am not a coach or a nutritionist, and what works for me might not work for you. I only know what’s worked for me and want to share my experience of how I fueled for the 116-mile bike portion of Ironman Chattanooga and all my training rides. I’ve been doing long distance triathlons and cross country skiing endurance races for over a decade so I’ve many years of trial and error with feeding myself!
First, for breakfast, I would always eat the same thing before races and my long training sessions. My favorite things are peanut butter toast with sliced bananas or making overnight oats with a little protein powder and sliced bananas. There are lots of recipes online or packaged oatmeal can also be used to make overnight oats! Oatmeal is easy to travel with too. I usually try to eat about two hours before the workout/race. Also coffee!
As for fueling during the bike, there are SO many options for gels, gummies, or real food. My former coach told me to eat between 100-150 calories per half hour on the bike but you really have to practice what works for you! I’ve done two half Ironman triathlons where I didn’t take in enough liquid or salt and ended up sick with stomach cramps for most of the run (not fun).
Because I will forget to drink on the bike, I tend to like the high-calorie endurance powders like Infinit Nutrition for Women or Tailwind in water bottles (I carry one bottle of just water as well). Each bottle is about 200-250 calories. I usually supplement this with pretzels and maybe some kind of gel or gummy/chew. For Ironman Chattanooga, I had two bottles of Inifinit to start on the bike and then had two bottles in my special needs bag to swap out. My nutrition box on the front tube of my bag held 1.5 packs of gummy/chews and about 15 pretzel bites. I refilled the pretzels and chews at the Special Needs stop as well. I also had some electrolyte tabs in the front bag that I drank with water every hour. After 4-5 hour rides for many many weekends, I learned this combo works best for me.
I hope you find what works for you! Happy Training!
by Lisa Ackerman, Siren Luminary
Follow Lisa on Instagram @lisasackerman