Sunday, September 20, 2009

the great debate

I got a question from The Iron Curtains about my nutrition on my 3 hour ride yesterday...

Personally, I have different nutrition tactics for racing different distances. In prep for IM on long rides, I can handle pretty much anything in my tummy on the bike. I eat pb&j, bars, gels, gatorade, shot bloks, beef jerky...and the occassional Diet Mt Dew (if, say, on a 6 hour ride and we stop to refuel at a gas station). My coach and some fellow (very fast) athletes eat things like oatmeal cream pies, combos, fig newtons, coke... In prep for shorter races (HIM or Oly), I try to stick with what I'll consume when racing. For me, at a higher heart rate, it's more difficult to stomach solids. With the blood diverted to the legs, it's more difficult to digest bars and bread. (Think about when you do track'd probably rather have calories from fluid/gatorate/heed than from a pb sandwich, right?)

Nutrition is really one of those things that is debatable. And a lot of it comes down to personal preference and trial and error. Right now, I'm training for Long Course Worlds, which is 2x Oly distance - 3k swim, 80k bike, 20k run. I have shorter workouts with more intensity than I did when training for IM, so I've also adjusted my diet for those hours when i'm not training, to contain fewer carbs and a bit more protein.

Yesterday's ride was straight from my apartment and first thing in the morning, so I had water and coffee and about 15 mins before i left, I had one slice of whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter, honey and half a banana. I took a package of Clif Shot blocks, which I took 2 at a time, at about 1:15, 1:40 and 2:05. I also had a Powergel at 2.30. I sipped on grape Gatorage G2 and water throughout. If it were any hotter, I'd have needed more fluids. If my run after were any longer, I'd have needed more calories, but as it worked, my pre-ride food and consumption during the ride had me feeling great. Some may think this isn't enough calories, and I've been on rides where I've needed far more calories than this, but it worked for me yesterday perfectly. I had another gel and a bar (and cash) on me in case i needed more.

Obviously, the rest of the day I didn't want much sugar, and after my run, I had tuna and chopped carrots in a whole wheat tortilla. The rest of the day, I loaded up on veggies, more protein and some fruit. And I drank lots of water and some green tea (staying well hydrated helps fight muscle soreness). 
I did get up this morning and run for 90 mins at about an 8 min pace and had no issues with fatigue or hunger. I had water and a slice of bread with pb and honey (again. it tends to digest easily and i had no intervals for this workout). I didn't consume any calories during the run, but I made sure my route went through a park with water fountains. And again, refueled upon my return home...because I still have a 2x1000 time trial swim this afternoon!
The supplements I got were a fish oil/flaxseed/borage Omega complex, time-release Vitamin C, spirullina (which is plant food chock full of amino acids) and another one i already take for a specific medical condition. I'll let you know if I can tell a difference in anything.
Obviously, I'm no dietitian, but I do pay attention to what I put in my mouth (even when it's cake and cookies). And I know a few of you guys over at the Iron Curtains are very tuned into your diet and consumption. You'll figure it out. You have plenty of time to dial it all in! Happy training!
Also, Marni is on her way to becoming an RD, so her blog is full of useful info.


The Iron Curtains said...

Thank you, Amanda! This post was just what I was looking for. Very helpful. I'm checking out right now as well. Good stuff.

All the best....and thanks for the link to our site!


Marni said...

Thanks for the plug!! Email me if you want to perfect that nutrition plan :)
I also don't take in a lot during my workouts but training experience has a lot to do with it. The more you train at different intervals (as you do) the more you improve your thresholds and thus you are able to work harder through fat metabolism and preserve those glycogen stores so you don't need as many calories during the workout. Good luck at your big race..when is it?

TRI-james said...

Before this year I did not give a second thought to workout nutrition – I didn’t care. Then, low and behold, when I started looking at it I noticed my performance improved when I took a formal approach. For long distance stuff I think that nutrition is the forth discipline.

The Iron Curtains said...

Amanda, I keep going back to this post. I tried your whole wheat/PB/banana idea before a ride yesterday. Delicious! And it worked well. I went with the double portion: two slices and the entire banana. You and I are perhaps lucky, as I share your iron stomach and can handle anything before and during rides, from trail mix to lug nuts, from sandwiches to small animals. The food your fast friends feed on during training appears to be considerably simpler: oatmeal cream pies and coke. Are these simple glucose sources preferable during workouts, do you think? Maybe we don't need the extra protein, fiber, and fur from the sandwiches and small animals? In general, and not just during workouts, I think a couple teammates (James comes readily to mind) and I tend to eat a lot more protein, fiber, and milk products than what I've heard discussed in tri forums. (Kind of bluffing here; I am only just now getting my food in the door of the tri forums!) Thanks for taking the time to write this post and help us out!