Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Half Ironman Nutrition

My Half Ironman Nutrition

!!I love how he guards his apple!!

After six half 70.3s I think I may have finally gotten my race nutrition correct.  At Ironman FL 70.3 I finally did not bonk or hit the wall once.  Maybe it was dumb luck or maybe I got something correct this time.  Either way I thought maybe one of the four people who read this blog would find this useful. :-)

I am about 173 lbs and this is what I do for nutrition.  It may not work for you but it seems to work for me.  Do what works for you.

Race Week
  • No new or spicy food.
  • Every morning I have a glass of Heed (high energy electrolyte). One scoop
  • Constantly drink water all day, every day.  I stop hydrating an hour before I go to bed the day before the race.  I live in Florida and races are known to be in REALLY high heat and humidity.  Drinking this much before the race gets by body ultra hydrated.  This way I can worry less about getting dehydrated for the race.  Most people are under hydrated and do not know it.
  • I go to bed around 9:00 PM - 9:30 PM.
Day Before The Race
  • I have a glass of Heed (high energy electrolyte) in the morning.  Two Scoops
  • Keep hydrating throughout the day
  • Make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is easy to forget to do this in all the excitement.
Dinner Before The Race
  • I try to eat dinner around 5:00 PM.  That way the food as time to digest and I have time to get back to the hotel relax and do any last minute things. 
  • Nothing new or spicy!!
  • Nothing high in fiber!!
  • I normally eat something lite like fish, salad and vegetables.  (no potatos they take to long to digest)
  • I avoid the normal pasta meal.  Pasta takes a long time to digest.  Those carbs will not be in your body by race morning.  It will just feel like a rock in your stomach
  • If I get hungry before bed time I eat an apple or banana.
  • Go to bed around 8:00 PM
Race Morning
  • I eat two Smuckers Crustables sandwiches and sometimes a banana.  I usually at this around 4:00 AM.
  • I sip some water
  • I eat a Stinger Waffle about 30 minutes before the swim.  These things are awesome and help my stomach settle down because they are solid food.
  • I shove down a Powerbar gel.  I have switched to these because they are much thinner than Gu and I can get them down quickly.  They also do not have that thick Gu consistency.
  • Sometimes I swallow two Advil.  Many people will say this is not good for you (which it is probably not) but this is just what I do.  I have a feeling I will die of something other than two Advil.  I like living on the edge. :-)
  • Swallow plain H2O from a spare water bottle
Bike: (The bike portion is around 3 hours for me)
  • I consume most of my nutrition on the bike. That way I do not have to do much on the run.  By the time the run comes I am sick of all things sugar and I do not want to eat anymore
  • I carry two nutrition bottles.  Each bottle has 2 scoops of CarboPro, 1 scoop of ELoad and one Salt Stick cap.  I drink a bottle of hydration each hour.  I drink a nutrition bottle on the first hour.  Then grab a water bottle at the first water stop and fill up the empty bottle while I ride (practice this first).  I drink the plain water bottle the next hour.  Then I drink the other nutrition bottle for the last hour.  I use the other two water stops to drink sips of normal water and pour it on my legs and head.  Do not drink any of the Gatoraid, Poweraid, etc they give out unless you trained with it.
  • I consume a Powerbar gel about every hour on the bike so about three.
  • I shove down a Powerbar gel.
  • Swallow plain H2O from a spare water bottle.  End up wearing any remaining water
  • Sometimes I swallow two Advil. Many people will say this is not good for you (which it is probably not) but this is just what I do. I have a feeling I will die of something other than two Advil. I like living on the edge. :-)
Run: (The bike portion is around 2 hours for me)
  • Drink only water.  Do not drink any of the Gatoraid, Poweraid, etc they give out unless you trained with it.
  • Sometimes I will shallow a Salt Stick if needed.
  • Sometimes I will eat a banana piece if I feel a cramp coming on.
  • I shallow a gel around 45 minutes into the run.
  • I shallow another gel (if needed) around mile 10.
  • Loads of ice down the front and back of the shirt, in the hat, in the pant legs, carries in my hands, etc.  Most of my races are in the high 90s and feels like 100s (seriously).  Ice is NEVER turned down and is taken at all stops.
Race Day Summary
  • 2 Smuckers Crustables
  • Sometimes a banana
  • 1 Stinger Waffle
  • 7 Gels (watch out how much caffeine you are consuming and when you are consuming it)
  • 2 nutrition bottles (each has 2 scoops of CarboPro, 1 scoop of ELoad and one Salt Stick cap).
  • 4 Advil (again I am living on the edge)
  • Optional banana pieces 


  1. Thanks for sharing. I have only done one 1/2 IM but nutrition is always a concern for me.

    1. I think your nutrition plan needs to vary per person and race condition. No two races are alike.


  2. I'm soooooo not used to racing in the heat....... I try and schedule my races in spring/ fall. I've got a 50 miler in August this year. Yipes!

  3. Thanks for the info. I really struggle taking in nutrition while racing. Did you add up how many calories each of those items is?

    1. No but I just did.

      There are 338 calories per bottle so 676.
      Each gel has about 110 so 770.
      A Stinger has 160.

      That would be 1606 calories durning the race and it take me about 6 hours. That would be ~268 calories per hour.

      Crustables have 210 calories a piece. So thats a 420 pre-race meal.

      Who does that sound? Does it sound correct for a 70.3 or am I eating to much or too little?

  4. Great tips! Do you have Endura gels over there? Its thinner than Gu or Powerbar and I don't get any tummy upsets from it.

    How much water do you drink on a regular day?

    1. I have never seen an Endura gel in the US. I'm all confused at the nutrition numbers. It's been a while since I have had to convert kJ to calories. LOL. 444kj is about 106 calories per gel so they are about them same. I may try ordering some but I bet the s/h will kill the

      I probably do not drink enough water throughout the day. The doctor always tells me to drink more. But why drink water when god made coffee. LOL


  5. Thanks for sharing your strategy for nutrition, Kevin. Agree that the usual pasta dinner is not necessarily a good thing. Never thought about PB&J!

  6. This is great info! I'm doing my first half in just over 6 weeks, and I've been practicing differnt things for nutrition. I have heard so many horro stories of people who were trained for the race, but hadn't trained for nutrition and totally bonk. I don't want that to happen!

  7. Great info, Kevin... Thanks for sharing. This Texan in Perth, Australia will be doing his first 1/2 in just 8 days and I am ever so curious about ideas for nutrition! I can swing an Olympic without having to think it through too much, but the idea of a 1/2 I-M is a bit daunting. I DON'T WANT TO BONK! So thanks again for the ideas....

  8. Doing some last minute research for my HIM this weekend.

    Your intake of 1606 sounds about right based on the 'science' I'm piecing together elsewhere (25%-35% of calories burned), but they say everything is too individual to generalize!

    Good tip on the Uncrustables. A friend put me onto them

  9. This is incredibly helpful! Thank you for posting this!!!