Competitive Triathlon

Caloric Intake During a Triathlon

posted over 6 years ago | Report

I just filled out a calculator dealy and this was the result:

Triathlon Estimate for a Iron Full (140.6) race
Start intake at: 00:43
Stop intake at: 09:21
Swim time: 01:00; calories needed: 924
Bike time: 05:20; calories needed: 5,885
Run time: 03:23; calories needed: 3,931
T1 + T2 time: 00:10
Total race time: 09:53: calories needed: 10,740
Caloric deficit: 9,540
Report created on: 2012-11-12 13:54:17

Is that normal? That's a lot of grub... and how on earth do you take in calories while swimming? And otherwise how do you take in that much while racing? I mean I've gu'ed on my marathon, but that would be 40 gu's while running... I know some people do Clif Bars and what not on the bike.

What is the balance between taking in enough calories to fuel you to do your best and feeling like you need to map out the nearest Golden Corral on your bike route?

Yes I'm new to this :)

  • 10K calories seems likea lot but isn't outside the realm of possibilities
    here's an article on IM nutrition

    you take the calories in thru fluids or food. gels are very common. some folks go w/ all fluid and have a very caloric rich bottle stuff like infinit or hammer nutrition. most folks don't eat during the swim.

    posted over 6 years ago

  • in reply to what Joe H. said:10K calories seems likea lot but isn't outside the realm of possibilities here's an article on IM nutrition you take the calories in thru fluids or food. gels are very commo... read more

    This is great, thank you

    posted over 6 years ago

  • That's the total number of calories that you'll burn- not the total number that you'll need to eat. You'll end up in a deficit, but that's fine. You've got an unlimited supply of fat to burn, so the only thing you need to eat for is to replace your glycogen. The lower your exercise intensity level, the higher % fat and lower % glycogen you use- which is why you cannot do an IM at threshold- you'll bonk.

    A HIM can generally be done on sports drink and gels. For a full IM, you'll need some food to take in enough calories. Most of your eating will be during the bike ride. Your cycle leg will be at ~70% threshold, so low enough to allow you to eat plenty on the ride. You need to practice with what kinds of food you can easily digest (and like) during a long ride. I do well with cliff bars and bananas. Most find that you can down food early in the ride, but it gets harder and harder as the day goes on. So get it in while your body lets you.

    Some train for this on their long rides. do a 6hr ride on only water and completely deplete yourself to train your body to increase its glycogen storage capacity. Then do an eating fest ride at IM pace and see what you can stomach and how much.

    what I can tolerate at 70% LT/FTP is very different than what I can eat at 85% (pretty much blocks, gels, sports drink). At 100% LT for me- not much goes down well. Water. 1/2 and 1/2 sports drink/water. But- that's enough for a half mary.

    So- you're planning on a sub 10hr IM? cool. Good luck- that's blazing.

    posted over 6 years ago | edited over 6 years ago

  • Training goals and actual races are completely different, lol. I put into the calculator, if things are ideal what would. These are the numbers I'm going to train for, but I plan on referring to a coach and other experienced Ironmen that I know when the time is right. It could just be a pipe dream, but I train best when I set lofty goals. I can feel your eyes rolling, lol. I'm still new at all this, so I'm half dreaming, half setting up training goals.

    Thank you for your insight, it certainly helps and the threshold info makes a lot of sense.

    posted over 6 years ago

  • What are you basing your swim, bike and run times on?
    If you are thinking you'll do a sub 3.5 hour marathon because you did an open marathon in around the same time, you can absolutely throw that out the window and anticipate finishing in 4+ hours.
    If you did a century ride in less than 5.5 hours, again you can throw that out the window for an IM performance, unless you want to be walking the last 13 miles of the marathon.
    A total T1+T2 time in an IM of 10 minutes? Forget it. Plan on 20, although that does depend on the IM venue.

    Sorry to be harsh - but believe me, the latter portion of an IM marathon is littered with the bodies of people who chased after a time, completely bonked, and are left walking huge portions of the marathon. Remember, you can coast @ 15 mph on the bike - if you stop running, even a slow run of 12 min/miles is 8 minutes faster than average walking pace.

    As Morey said, a sub 10 hr Ironman is blazing fast. It's getting close to Kona qualifying, and the only people who go to Kona their first time around are typically those who end up lucky enough to be in an age group where there are very few competitors, and those that are there are happy to just finish (in other words, ages 60+).

    The average times for an IM are in the 12-13 hour range, and probably 14-15 hours for peoples first IM. The finish time is about 30% based on fitness, 70% based on execution and not blowing yourself up. He who runs @ 11 min/miles after mile 15 of the IM marathon is a stud and will pass literally hundreds of people before the end of the race.

    FWIW - I went virtually all sports drink for my first IM and it was fine. All on course nutrition. A couple GU chomps at the beginning of the marathon, a half a banana on the bike course, a couple cups of cola and a couple cups of chicken broth towards the end of the marathon. Keep it simple.

    posted over 6 years ago

  • Well put.

    posted over 6 years ago

  • If you're doing a full IM then just always be eating. I did my first IM in Lake Placid this summer on a hot day and just tried to keep eating and drinking the whole time. There are aid stations every 25km or so on the bike and every mile on the run. Always be eating and drinking--until your stomach tells you to stop. There are limits to what you can absorb through the gut while you're out there so you will definitely be in deficit. I had a little sandwich in the special needs bag for the second lap on the bike because I wanted something with substance to it.

    posted about 6 years ago

  • Thanks Blake, that makes a lot of sense

    posted about 6 years ago

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