Nailing nutrition on my long rides is a work in progress. So much about training & racing nutrition is individual - you can get advice from others but what works for one doesn't work for another, so it's a lot of trial and error. Luckily, there's a lot of chances to try things out Ironman training!
Here is what I used on my long ride (7 hours) a few days ago. Bear in mind it was a hot (over 90 degrees F), hilly ride and therefore I needed a lot of calories and fluids. I don't know if I nailed my nutrition - I didn't bonk and had good energy levels - but I never really know if I could do things even better and am always seeking to improve!
I started with three bottles on my bike:
- Vega Pre-workout energizer (70 cal) and 2 scoops of Carbopro (200 cal) in two of the bottles
- 2 scoops of Carbopro (200 cal) and a Nuun tablet (no calories, just electrolytes) in the third.
Every hour (approximately) I try to eat something. I like to have solid food with me, however some things are hard to eat in the heat so I pick things that go down easily.
- 1st hour: "EatMore" chocolate bar (240 cal). These are a Canadian product, they are basically peanuts, chewy toffee and chocolate. They have the same nutritional profile as most energy bars, but are delicious and easy to eat! Tip: put them in the freezer the night before your ride, so when you put them in your jersey pocket they don't turn super-melted-gooey before you eat them. Any American friends who want to try one, just let me know and I'll put one in the mail to you!
- 2nd & 3rd hours: Honey Stinger Organic Waffle (160 cal).
- 4th hour: Lara Bar (190 cal).
- 5th hour: Gu Roctane (100 cal).
- 6th hour: no food.
Thanks to cycling jersey pockets that hold a lot of stuff!
At about 3.5 hours, we stopped to refill bottles. I was drinking about a bottle an hour because of the heat and humidity. I also bought a small bottle of Coke (150 cal) and drank it at the store as we refilled. I brought powder etc with me, so when we refilled our bottles this is what I ended up with:
- two bottles with 2 scoops of Carbopro (200 cal) and a Nuun tablet
- one bottle with just Nuun.
At the 6 hour mark, I stopped for a can of Coke (140 cal) because I only had the bottle with Nuun left. I didn't think I also needed to eat as I just had an hour left. By the time I finished my ride, I finished everything I had! Total was over 2,000 calories, but considering a conservative estimate of calories expended over a 7-hour ride is over 5,000, I don't think I'd say I consumed too much.
As soon as I got back to the house I had a Vega Recovery Accelerator (80 cal) and a Vega Performance Protein (120 cal).
What do you use on long rides? Any advice on things I can try in the future?