Back to racing nutrition.
I could probably write six columns on this subject and just be scratching the surface of the information out there about nutrition planning for an Ironman race — and I am in no way an expert on this.
It’s just that this is the big, scary part of the race for me.
The 2.4 mile swim in the not-so-clean Ohio River? No big deal. 112 miles of giant hills to ride? Fine. I’ll make it up them. Marathon to run? I’ve done one before.
But the nutrition part is very easy to mess up and can honestly just end your race if not executed well.
Poor nutrition execution can lead to headaches, stomach aches, vomiting, leg cramps, stomach cramps, dehydration, etc.
There are so many aspects to consider for my nutrition plan during Ironman Louisville.
In all of the research that I’ve read on this subject, every one suggests something different.
I’m guessing that it’s really because everyone’s body, taste preferences and digestion are so different.
I also think that’s why I haven’t found a combination that works exactly right for me yet.
To give you an idea of all of the aspects to consider… your body can only digest so many calories per hour when biking or running.
Each of those is different though, since your heart rate tends to be higher during the run.
There’s the loss of sodium that needs to be addressed as well as taking in an adequate amount of water: and that’s just the very tip of the iceberg, folks.
There’s the timing of nutrition and hydration.
Often, triathletes will set alarms on their watches to beep every 10 to 15 minutes or so to remind them to eat or drink. It’s just so much to remember!
There’s also the issue of storage. How much can I comfortably stuff in the back of my jersey and in my packs on my bike? What if I accidentally drop some of my nutrition while riding my bike? What will I be able to put in a racing belt around my waist during the run? How much will I be able to get from aid stations?
So many questions are swirling around in my head.
I am anxious to start getting ideas for my nutrition plan as my formal training is just starting with my coach, Greg Reasoner.
I can’t wait for the weather to improve so I can get out there and do some longer rides and runs to start to plan this all out.
Stacey Parisi is a Seymour native and resident. Her columns will appear regularly in The Tribune as she trains to compete in the Ironman Louisville 2015.