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Carbo loading

25 September 2007 No Comment

 Coach’s Comments

Coomera Half in a couple of weeks and everybody is getting excited. We have lots of veteran Half Ironman competitors but a few are going to do their first. For the first timers and for those who may have done one, but not really put it together as well as they’d like, I’m going to lay out a plan. Use it as a guide, there are many right ways and many wrong ways, this is one of the right ways.

Start with carbo loading. For a race of this length 41/2hrs to 6hrs, a great benefit can be gained by being fully loaded before you start.(squad member David Flack ran from 6th place into 3rd in the last 3km of the Hawaii Ironman because he carbo loaded well and fed well during his race) it’s not over till the line.

* Thursday – train in the morning and start refuelling right away. as you normally would. 750ml of water with 6 scoops of Opti. Within an hour a breakfast of cereal, pancakes, muesli with banana. Three hours later a sandwich with chicken or egg filling and a glass of Endura 2 scoops. Mid afternoon, a snack of one handfull of almonds with dried fruit, peaches, apricots, sultanas or dates. Fresh bread with peanut butter and/or jam is nice for a change. Dinner stir fry veges with chicken or fish served on rice. Glass of Endura 2 scoops before bed.

* Friday – same as Thursday

* Saturday – Train lightly in each sport to stimulate the body to want to refuel (you’ve spent the last six months training and immediately refuelling, the body is trained to refuel after training) Follow a similar diet to Thurs and Fri, with the evening meal lighter and earlier. We often have a Tuna and rice salad with fresh shallots, corianda, tomatoes and avocado the night before a major race. It’s light, easy to make and it doesn’t need heating. Avoid eating out, dinner’s often too late, too full of saturated fat and why risk delhi belly.

* Sunday – race morning if race starts at 6.30am –  5am – 6 scoops of opti in water, with supplements Q10, flax seed oil, multi vit, gin-seng, vitC, sea salt and whatever else you’re on. (some like toast with peanut butter and/or honey) Drink water only for the next 75min – 15min before race start, one can of “V” or red bull (not compulsory but it does help some of us get fired up and focussed in the swim.

*On the bike – start with 2 x 750ml of Endura 2 scoops per bottle with 1/3 tsp of celtic sea salt each, 1 x 750ml with 4-5 scoops of Opti and sea salt. Pick up 1 x 750ml of water as well IT’S IMPORTANT TO DRINK 4 X 750ML OF FLUID ON THE BIKE, if you’re bigger than average or slower than average, you will need more than this. Most squad members will not need GUs or other gels on the bike but if you do use them make sure they’re washed down with lots of water, not sports drink, as sports drink is already mixed to a 6% concentration and adding GU to that will only concentrate it too much to absorb. The body can only absorb a weaker than 6% concentration of sugars when racing. When in doubt, take more water.

* On the run – Many of our members have had good results by carrying concentrated Endura with added sea salt (8-10 teaspoons in a small flask with water) taken when approaching an aid station then washed down with water. Use the same strategy if using GUs. For an average 1hr 40min run an athlete might take 4-5 GUs or 2 flasks of concentrated Endura. If you take coke from aid stations, dilute it with water, coke is 12% sugar and needs to be 6% to be absorbed.

The plan I suggest for most athletes is swim flat out, concentrating on fast arm turnover. Warm into the bike but building to 75-80%HR within 15min. Often we have to hold ourselves back for the first 15min because the excitment and the fresh legs want to go too fast. Holding back early will pay off later, especially if this is the first or second attempt at this distance. Thoughts should be kept in your own square metre, what happens in that square metre will have more bearing on the outcome than anything else you may focus on.

Limit yourself to one coffee per day and no alcohol in the week before. Both are diuretics and you need to stand at the start line fully hydrated. Drink water as often as you think of it in the days leading into the race and use extra sea salt on your food.

The plan laid out above can simply be doubled for the full Ironman.

Yeppoon experience, Emma Weitnauer shared accomodation with us at Yeppoon. I noted everything Emma ate or drank in the days leading into her race. Carbo loading is incredibly important and many of our members don’t do it well enough. Emma would have eaten 50% more than some of our age group athletes in the days before the Yeppoon Half Ironman, and she didn’t gain a gram. I have gotten tired of the sound of my own voice trying to convince the “diet conscious” athletes amongst us, that they will perform better in training and racing if they increase their fuel intake. Spending time with Emma shows she is professional in every way. She understands the importance of giving a thoroughbred the fuel it needs.

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