Photo credit: Verena Illmer
5 Ironman nutrition tips for the last few days before the competition
The optimal nutrition during a long distance competition is a big challenge. The needs of the athletes can be very different, so everybody has to find his own strategy on the day of the competition. However, the days before the long race day have a decisive influence on how your regime will ultimately turn out nutritionwise. Here below you find the most important tips of professional triathlete Ruedi Wild and more about optimization possibilities as well as possible stumbling blocks:
Due to the reduced training in the taper phase, the body needs less carbohydrates than during usual training phases. Therefore, the usual intake of carbs already leads to an increased replenishment of glycogen stores. Too large amounts of pasta, rice etc. on the pre-race day additionally burden the stomach for the competition and may lead to a feeling of fullness. Soft drinks are unsuitable because of fructose. Therefore, I use CARBO LOADER, basically after each main meal on the pre-race day to maximally fill up my glycogen stores.
The electrolyte level, in particular salt (or rather sodium), is an elementary factor in race nutrition. It is crucial that the electrolyte balance is optimally prepared on the day of the competition. Except with main meals, for me pure water is taboo the last days prior to the race. Especially during training sessions, as it further dilutes the sodium concentration in the blood. During main meals I generously use salt, while instead of pure water I dissolve ELECTROLYTES TABS in the drinks or take SALT CAPS (approx. 1 salt cap per 0.5l).
Initially known as an insider tip, nitrogen oxide loading (NO loading) has spread widely in recent years, especially among professionals, thanks to broad scientific support. Among other things, it aims at increased oxygen transport and improved blood flow. In the pre-competition week NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE and RED BEET VINITROX belong to my daily supplements.
The last two to three pre-race days I pay attention to a low intake of dietary fibres, because they put additional strain on my stomach during competition. My usually preferred foods such as vegetables, fruits or wholemeal products are practically completely eliminated and replaced by white bread, plaited loaf or rice.
The high content of fructose in soft drinks and most available sports drinks has spoiled many of my long-distance competitions in the beginning. Stomach cramps or flatulence were the most frequent consequences. Even on pre-race days I do not take any soft drinks, fruits or fruit juices, while on race day the ULTRA COMPETITION is my favourite competition drink.
» Graphic overview about triathlon nutrition on race day
Author: Ruedi Wild, professional triathlete