What do you eat for Ironman Training?
I've been living primally for the past few months and am really enjoying the renewed energy & weight loss! I just signed up for Ironman Texas in 2014. Over the past few years I've completed 3 Ironman races. During training and racing I fueled primarily with simple carbs. Hammer gel, Honey Stinger Chews, Bars, Carbo Pro/cytomax etc. I'm working on base building right now, and find myself wondering if it's possible to stay primal and train for Ironman. I'd love to hear anyone's experiences training and racing longer distance races: half or full IMs. What do you eat prior, during and after training?
First question would be, do you feel you are fat adapted? If not then you may need 3 or even 4 weeks to adjust. If you are currently eating low carb and are able to do your base endurance work that's great. But although its important to be fat adapted, eating Primal is not necessarily low carb. Keep in mind this is a personal journey and each person will have to adapt to what works best for them through trial and error. Once you are fat adapted then a strategic eating of yams, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beets, potatoes, nuts, fruit, white rice and even gluten free spaghetti will probably be necessary.
Thanks for the response. How would I know if I am "fat adapted"? Right now I'm eating between 60-150g carbs/day of fruit / vegetables and training only around an hour a day, light to moderate intensity. It's working fine for me now. But I wonder how I'll need to fuel to allow for 5-6 hour bike rides and 2+ hour runs? Yams, rice etc. will work well for the pre/postTjh loading, but what exactly are people doing on the bike? Rice would be a little hard to hear on a 80+ mile ride
Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
during a long ride/run, people sometimes use things like dates and possibly other dried fruits. you could also use a gatorade/water mix in your waterbottles to keep the carbs up. I don't compete in triathalons, but before my long mountain bike rides, I make a point of getting a good meal in me, full of proteins, fats, and lots of carbs from potatoes or sweet potatoes. I then usually do the gatorade/water mix in my bottles.
I trained for and completed an Ironman while eating primal. However, I did make the concession during long rides and runs by using Infinite because solid food gave me GI issues.
I will say that eating primal allowed me to work harder and recover faster. I noticed a distinct reduction in joint pain and swelling when I ditched the grains. If I cheat now, I feel it in my knees after a run.
I was definitely fat adapted, and could go for quite some distance without needing fuel, however I feel like once fat adapted, it was easier for my body to accommodate carbs for quick fuel, as well as access body fat stores. It felt like the best of both worlds for me.
Here's a link to a description of what it means to be fat adapted - What Does it Mean to Be Fat-Adapted? | Mark's Daily Apple
Originally Posted by HeatherW
And here's another link regarding Primal eating and Endurance sports - Can You Be an Endurance Athlete and Primal? | Mark's Daily Apple
Hope these help!
Interesting post. What about the ketogenic or VLC version of primal in distance performance. I have a friend / Iron Man competitor that is going to try the primal approach, after tracking my progress. He is not currently happy with his performance levels as well as extreme recovery times (age 47). I realize that as with most things he will have to be his own experiment but if any of you have thoughts or ideas I will pass them along.
I completed Ironman Texas (my first) this last May, plan to go back in 2014, and started Primal about 36 days ago. I am fat-adapted according to the questions in the article link above. From my experience, I am able to ride 3 hours on water alone with intense hill climbs and I am not starving or bonked (I feel like I could run a off the bike). I have seen my performance increase in that I am running faster (7:30-8:00 avg.), riding faster (20-22 avg.), and recovering quicker. I am 204 lbs. with a ways to go and I am consuming around 100-150 grams of carbs daily. The carbs are coming from only Primal sources like nuts, vegetables, and fruit. I have found that the fat from Macadamia nuts, Almonds, and Cashews is enough to keep my body burning fat on the longer workouts. I am definitely still in the testing phase of how far I can push my body on fat alone, but so far so good. I have not had any grains since I started.
I did my first Ironman on Inifinit alone with water to supplement because of the heat. But honestly feel so much stronger now than when I was training before and wish I had discovered this before. I realize now that I had been short circuiting my body's fat burning ability the entire time and limiting my performance potential.
I agree that it is a very personal thing and I hope my experience hopes to add to the spectrum of data. I look forward to hearing other's experiences with Long Distance Triathlon training and Primal lifestyle.
you should listen to ben greenfield podcast. He does this stuff.