Race Report - IRONMAN Austria - Michael Akers - 2017
On July the 2nd I knew I would be going off the line at the sound of the gun sprinting into the Austria lake in Klagenfurt with over 3000 triathletes. I had been clocking around 9-15 hours training a week with the main focus being the bike.
On the Sunday, with one week to go before race day, I carb depleted and virtually avoided anything heavy such as bread or porridge and pasta. By the time Wednesday evening came around I was very low on energy and started to eat normally again plus start taking in electrolyte drinks. I did this as my training had decreased and I wanted to increase my body’s ability to top up glycogen stores (I’m not sure on the science in regards to this but I’ve always had good races when doing this so why break a habit!)
RACE DAY: NUTRITION PLAN
I got up at 4am, sipped a large bottle of Tailwind whilst eating two large slices of bread and a cookie. The bottle was around 75g/300 calories so I guessed around 1000 cals to start the day would leave me in a good place to begin with.
I had a nutrition plan which started from when I got to the event at 5:30am and transition opened for final checks. Everything was already in place, including my bike and run/bike bags so all that I had to do was put nutrition onto the bike and have it all in place.
My plan was to have 1.5 x grams of carbs per kilo of body weight per hour on the bike (roughly 90g to 100g) and 1/1 ratio per hour on the run.
Before I started the swim, I would consume 1 Clif gel that was tucked up inside my swim hat that I could take 1 min before the start time and another gel was ready in my swim bag so I could consume as I was running to my bike after the swim.
On the Bike I started with 2 bottles of Tailwind both with 3 scopes each in which is roughly 300 calories per bottle of 75 grams of carbs. I chose the non-caffeinated version from XMiles so I could have a caffeine gel later and it would hit me harder! From my calculations I could do the first two hours on these bottles with just a Clif bar or a Clif gel as a top up to get around 90-100 grams for the hour.
I did this for the next 2 hours and struggled to eat any solids such as a Clif bar due to a higher heart rate than expected and position on the bike. In the last hour I started to cramp and used the 2 x SaltStick fastchews straight away which seemed to ease my calf cramp whether this was a placebo effect I don’t know but since I’ve started to use these I’ve avoided cramp.
The rest of the bike was fuelled with Clif Bloks that were a god send on a stomach that wouldn’t be able to take in solids, but would rather not stomach another gel. These topped me up to roughly 100g for the last hour which gave me every chance for the marathon.
I started the run with a bottle of Tailwind containing around 300 cals, unfortunately although I stuck to my nutrition plan I’d been slightly less strict on my watts and although the bike split was close to 5:00:00 my legs had paid for it. I knew I’d need a sub 3:40 to go sub 10 hours which on paper would be fine... However I was started to struggle at mile 7.
I had a spare pack of Clif Bloks tucked into my shorts for when I finished the bottle of Tailwind, from then on it was relying on course nutrition which wasn’t ideal but got me through to the finish line as I started to slow whilst taking in as much Coca Cola as humanly possible at every aid station.
If you can give your body the best fuel available, then the rest can be mind over matter sometimes.
I crossed the line in 9:57:02 which met my sub 10 goal, however I feel things could have been slightly better if I’d been able to stick to my planned 3:20 marathon.
Maybe next time!
Swim: 1:01 | Bike: 5:07 | Run: 3:38
The first thing I consumed unfortunately was a beer, two slices of pizza then another beer from the finish line, however, looking back I think it was alcohol free!
NUTRITION \ WHATS NEXT
With my wife expecting a baby early 2018, I’m going to focus on shorter half iron events of around 4 hours and focus on improving across all 3 disciplines before having another crack in 2019 where the aim is to go low mid to low 9 hours.