What to eat and drink on race day is a personal thing, but one thing is clear... whatever your nutrition strategy is, have one! You can be the Tasmanian Devil at aid stations if you want, but the result of “winging” your nutrition is often less than ideal.
With two fast approaching half Ironmans on my schedule (St. George 70.3 May 3 and Boise 70.3 Jun 7), I thought it might be helpful to share my specific nutrition plan as an example.
As a change from prior years, I’ll be racing primarily with EFS (Electrolyte Fuel System) products from First Endurance. I interviewed Robert Kunz, head of R&D, in September and was extremely impressed. He wasn't trying to "sell" me on anything and I wasn't asking for anything... frankly, I was simply looking for an interesting interview for the blog.
First Endurance triathlete Jordan Rapp
However, I came away from our discussion sold on the company's core value of being a research-based company as opposed to a market-based company. A market-based company looks at products that people are buying and says “we need to come up with a similar product, these things sell!!” As an example, just look at how many copycat “gummy” type products are on the market right now.
On the other hand, a research-based company takes the unbeaten path, creating products based on empirical studies alone. For example, my “secret weapon,” EFS Liquid Shot, is unique in that it doesn’t contain any gumming agents, driven by research showing that such ingredients slow down absorption. Liquid Shot goes down much smoother due to its liquid nature.
My EFS drink review is also very positive. It has a much higher electrolyte profile than other drinks, also driven by research, and tastes great to boot. Everyone thinks about sodium when it comes to racing, but according to Robert, all five electrolytes work together in tandem (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride). With EFS drink and Liquid Shot, there’s no need to supplement with electrolyte pills or anything else.
Last year’s plan (product names removed):
This year’s plan:
Between EFS drink and Liquid Shot, I'm planning on up to 800 calories on the bike - give or take 3 hours on two very hilly courses = ~264 calories/hour (could be up or down depending on how I’m feeling).
On the run will rely on one Liquid Shot (400 calories); will take hits as needed and drink water on the course.
Here are the upgrades I see compared to last year:
As mentioned, a lot more electrolytes, which will be especially beneficial if it’s hot on race day.
The addition of malic acid (from EFS drink), a powerful ingredient incorporated in the latest upgrade of the EFS formula.
I like the taste… I think this matters! I have two flavors: mild grape and orange, with grape being my favorite.