Saturday, December 1, 2012

How I Prepare My Race Day Nutrition For A Half-Ironman

I've received quite a few questions about how I actually prepare my race day nutrition for a Half Ironman. If you read my "Healthy Race Day Nutrition Plan" article, then you know that my race day nutrition for a Half-Ironman looks like this:

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1. UCAN

UCAN is a high molecular weight, corn-derived starch that is metabolized differently than simpler sugars such as fructose or maltodextrin. It is a powder that you mix with water, and it’s metabolism results in far less insulin production and less blood sugar spiking compared to other gels and sports drinks, and as a result of these lower insulin levels, this approach also allows your body to tap into it’s own storage fat as a fuel.

How I use UCAN: I simply consume 2 servings (220 calories) 2 hours before the race, then 2 servings per hour during the entire bike and run. I mix 6 packets (enough for 3 hours) into a water bottle that I keep on the downtube of my bicycle and consumed a mouthful every 15-20 minutes, and put 3 packets into a flask that I guzzle from every 5K on the run.

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One drawback to UCAN is that most of it is flavored with artificial sweeteners, so I choose the plain, unsweetened version. But the plain version tastes a bit “chalky”. So I wanted to figure out a way to add a bit of flavor, and also get some extra energy-boosting compounds. Enter Energy28 Liquid Superfood, which imparts both flavor and also energy enhancement without the caffeine central nervous system overstimulation.

How I use Energy28: I simply consume 1 servings for each serving of UCAN . So I put 6 servings in the water bottle that I have the UCAN in, and 2 servings per hour in a flask of UCAN that I carry on the run. 
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As I’ve written about extensively in this 2 part series on amino acids, high blood levels of amino acids primarily:

1) reduce your rating of perceived exertion, allowing you to work harder without your brain “shutting down” your body;
2) keep your body from cannibalizing your own lean muscle during exercise, thus limiting post-workout or post-race soreness.

But most proteins (the source of amino acids) need to be digested, which can take a long time and shuttle a lot of extra blood away from your muscles and into your stomach. Enter the MAP capsules, which completely digest in 23 minutes, while other protein sources take anywhere from 2-6 hours.

How I use MAP: I consume 10 capsules 30 minutes prior to the race, then simply carry  a small ziplock bag of MAP in my shorts and eat 5 per hour during the entire bike ride (I just chew them, but you could also swallow them with water).

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So how do I practically prepare all this? Here's how, courtesy of my iPhone camera from my hotel bathroom in Thailand before a race...

Run Flask Step 1: Dump 3 packets of UCAN onto a makeshift funnel, in this case, the front page of the race program. 



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Run Flask Step 2:  Fill flask with UCAN powder (this is just a handheld flask holder - companies like NathanSports and FuelBelt make them)


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Run Flask Step 3: Set flask out on floor by bed with 3 packets of Energy28, which I'll add in the morning just before I head to race start. Mixing the night before can cause clumping, so I wait until last possible minute. After adding Energy28, there will be barely any room left for water, but I'll top it off with 2-3oz water. 

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Bike Bottle Step 1 (optional): Toss a bunch of UCAN packets in bathroom sink. No funnel required since bike water bottles have a larger mouth.

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 Bike Bottle Step 2: Dump the UCAN packets one-by-one into bike bottle.


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Bike Bottle Step 3: Set the bike bottle out next to 6 more Energy28 Packets for mixing the next morning. Go to pasta party, sleep, get up, and kick butt. ;)


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No photos of the MAP, but that's pretty straightforward. Just put some capsules in a ziplock bag and carry in your jerseys or up one of your shorts legs.

Rather than you having to go the four corners of the planet to get this stuff, I figured out how to just bundle it all for you in one convenient Low Carb Fueling package:  

http://goo.gl/Yryi5 <–UCAN+MAP+Energy28 Low Carb Fueling Package

Low Carb Fueling Package

The package above is basically 60 packets of UCAN, a full 120 tablet bottle of MAP & a bottle of Energy28 – everything you need to get your low carb fueling  dialed in, and about 1-2 months worth of fueling!

And leave any questions, comments or feedback below...
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