Golden Trail Series Grand Final
Chelsea's headline numbers
Carbohydrate is the main fuel you burn when racing. Failing to fuel properly is a leading cause of underperformance in longer races.
After struggling with gastrointestinal-related issues in previous races, Chelsea refined both her in-race strategy and her pre-race intake to improve her gut tolerance and limit the chances of any GI problems occuring on race day. She achieved this by limiting her fibre intake pre race. The later race start time of 10:00 also gave Chelsea longer than usual to digest her breakfast, naturally favouring her pre-race meal timing. During the race, Chelsea opted for one PF 30 Gel every 30 minutes helping her maintain a consistent intake throughout the race.
Taking on board an appropriate amount of fluid and sodium is essential to maintaining blood volume and supporting the cardiovascular effort needed to perform on race day.
Whilst the absolute amount of sodium and fluid consumed per hour is important, it’s critical to consider these in relation to each other. This is known as 'relative sodium concentration' and it’s expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L). How much sodium you’re taking in per litre of fluid is more important than the absolute amount taken in per hour.
Sweat sodium concentration (mg/L) is largely genetically determined and remains relatively stable. Knowing how salty your sweat is enables you to replace a good proportion of your sweat losses, which can range from 200-2,000mg/L.
Given Chelsea’s losses are High (1,126mg/L), nailing her hydration strategy becomes especially crucial when it’s hot and/or humid.Learn more
Due to limited crew access and the relentless pace of the field, Chelsea opted for just plain water at the aid stations rather than spending time emptying her PH 1000 (Drink Mixes) into her soft flasks in order to stay with the main pack. As a result, this resulted in a lower than normal relative sodium concentration (286mg/L) for Chelsea. In similar fast paced trail races going forwards, using a more fitting way to meet her sodium needs, such as Electrolyte Capsules, would be worth consideration. Two days before the main race, Chelsea had a shorter 8.6km prologue race as part of the finals. As part of her recovery routine, she focused on replenishing ~150% of her fluid losses in the prologue using PH 1500 to ensure her recovery speed was not impaired.
Beyond the Three Levers of Performance (carb, sodium and fluid), caffeine is one of only a few substances that is proven to improve performance for most endurance athletes as it can help stave off mental and physical fatigue.
Chelsea chose not to include caffeine in her nutrition plan after having experienced stomach issues in the past. The risk vs reward was not in favour of caffeine inclusion due to the relatively short nature of the event for Chelsea. The decision on whether to use caffeine or not should be based on an individual’s tolerance, habitual use of the stimulant and personal preference.
How Chelsea hit her numbers
Here's everything that Chelsea ate and drank on the day...
Chelsea's weapons of choice
Chelsea's full stats
There is good confidence in the accuracy of the data reported. An athlete feels that the numbers closely reflect what they consumed despite a couple of estimations which may carry some degree of error. The majority of what was consumed is recorded to a high level of specificity (most volumes are known through the use of bottles brands quantities flavours). The numbers are very plausible and align with previous data recordings (if an athlete has collected data previously).