The IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 10th, isn’t just extremely challenging physically and psychologically, but also in relation to the management and planning of nutrition. Conditions such as the extreme heat in Kona make the competition even tougher, and strongly influence the nutrition plan during one of the most grueling long distance events in the world.
In an interview with Triathlete Europe last year's winner, Sebastian Kienle discusses how he ensures he is properly hydrated before the big race. "I purposely buy water in the supermarket to allow for consistent water quality and hygiene. However, in most Hawaiian shops you can only buy distilled water. This can be problematic for athletes, especially in the heat, as this lacks the important minerals. Therefore I always dissolved 5 electrolytes tabs in the water so that I could start the event with sufficient electrolytes in my system."
In a recent interview with Men's Fitness, Andy Potts, who finished 4th overall in last years IRONMAN World Championship race, discussed his focus on nutrition. "Focus has a lot to do with your physical preparation, but it also has a lot to do with your nutrition. If you can stay in the moment over the course of an all day endurance event then that tells me that you are on top of your nutrition and hydration."
Andy says he focuses more now on his nutrition and recovery than he did in the past. "My diet has been refined throughout the years. I used to eat a bag of pretzels and pizza pie after a big training session. Now, I try to eat as clean as possible." He incorporates micronutrients to help supplement what his body isn't getting from natural foods to help stay healthy and recover properly.
Who will win the 2015 IRONMAN World Championships? Well, one thing is for sure, it will be someone who has been able to maintain a high level of performance under some grueling conditions. That person will certainly need to pay close attention to what he or she consumes before and during the event to perform at peak levels.
We need to hydrate. But how can you hydrate and replace electrolytes without the harmful additives like sweeteners and artificial flavoring common in sports drinks that are harsh on your stomach?