Don't underestimate the importance of race nutrition

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011 at 12:47
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This weekend past, I did my first Sprint triathlon for the season. Last season I raced about 8 sprints, an Olympic Distance, plus a 70.3, I learned a lot during those races and thought I had my race nutrtion pretty much sorted.

But this season I've been experimenting in training with some different brands so decided to give one of them a go for the race. I don't like to blame a brand as it could be my fault for messing up things so won't name it here, but I followed instructions and took a full bottle of carb drink 3 hours before the race, but I did opt for a much lighter breakfast than I would normally before a race (2 pieces of toast with honey, instead of porridge). I also messed up by forgetting to have the carb bar that I had planned to have an hour before the race (got distracted with my kids' race).

I think I totally underestimated the day - "it's just a sprint!". I regularly train for longer with less food!

I got out of the swim feeling surprisingly exhausted, so that's when I knew things weren't right for me. On the bike I sipped another brand of electrolyte drink (no carbs) that I know I tolerate well but I felt flat - and couldn't understand myself - why can't I get going on this bike?? By the time I got to transition I knew I'd lost so much time that there was no "race" left for me but I was keen to put in a good run so was happy just to get off the damn bike! I didn't think I had worked hard enough to bother taking on the gel that I had sitting there so left it but within 1km a terrible stitch started in my right side so I backed off a few times which helped. I walked through the first drink station to allow my system time to absorb the water properly and that helped and I took off again a little better. But the stitch came back with a vengance - it was deep and all down my side and wouldn't go away so in order to finish I literally had to jog very slowly.

A disappointing day. I will say that in training I have had trouble digesting this brand of carb drink when sipping it on the bike (threw up last weekend on the bike), hence I tried the manufacturer's alternative which was to consume before the race and instead sip the electrolyte drink on the bike of a brand I know I can tolerate.

I'm going to send the manufacturer an email to query why I am getting such an adverse reaction to their product and get their feedback.

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Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Dec 23, 2011 at 07:53

Friday, Dec 23, 2011 at 07:53
I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about nutrition being key. I've been trailling different things for the Coast to Coast, and hte last two weekends I have used the Hamer Perpetuem on my 30K bush run, and found it easy to digest, and get my going. The first week I used it with some Gel, and last week on its own.

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Reply By: TriathlonOz - Michelle - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012 at 13:35

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012 at 13:35
Ok so I got some feedback from the Australian supplier. They definately agree that I had an energy dip before the race started and that it was wasted drinking it so early. I should have just had my usual breakfast, minus this, than sipped on this and snacked as I setup transition and waited for the race start. One of their sponsored pro athletes also said drinking a full bottle before the race would have overloaded me and he said if he had done that he would feel nauseas and terrible as the gastric emptying rate of the body is only so much. This wouldn't have happened with any of the usual brands I use and normally, a sprint isn't such a big nutritional issue for me, but given I'd already vomitted up the new brand in my training, and all the info on the box that says its a slow-release energy, I thought I had to get it in early. Well, at least now I know!
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AnswerID: 474563