Wednesday 4 January 2012

The Forth Event

There is a popular belief that triathlons have a forth event and it is the transition. I don’t subscribe to this, not yet, and not if your goal it to just finish the damned race (lol).  I do, however, believe there is a forth: swim, bike, run,… nutrition.

On smaller tri’s, like the Sprint or the Olympic, you can most likely get away with little to no food (not advisable but doable).  However, within a Ironman race, I have read that you will burn around 10,000 calories (yikes!!!). So if you wish to finish, you need to have a game plan.

Apparently, it is impossible to replenish what you lose during the race, so the trick will be to consume enough calories to keep your body moving.  It is a constant battle between using it and replacing it. 

I wish I had spent more time and energy listening to my coach and reading-up on this subject before I attempted the ½ Iron distance in Ottawa last Sept.  The fact is, the bike leg is the most important time to eat. It sets you up for the long run. In my race I absolutely failed to consume enough nutrients and salt during the ride.  On top of that, Ottawa had a heat wave, reaching 40 degrees with the humidity – so salt replacement would have been paramount. 

That's me...walking....Arrrrrrgh!!!!!
During the run I was dizzy, my legs cramped, and I felt liked vomiting for most of the 21k. Like myself, many runners were reduced to walking, but there were some that just seemed to float by (it was a looped course, so seeing them float by over and over made me want to vomit all the more). I beat myself up that day, telling myself that I did not train enough for this event, when in fact I did. I just did not train enough for the forth event.

I will need to learn to eat while I ride and run. I will have to practice with all kinds of foods to see what works and what doesn’t. I will need to pay more attention to seasoned athletes, and to listen to their advice. I will lastly need to remember that what works for someone else, may not work for me, so I will therefore need to make this my event.

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