Raff'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.
Raff spent considerable time training his gut to be able to tolerate large amounts of carb during the race which he knew could facilitate increased performance. This was clearly a worthwhile investment of his time as he managed to consume above and beyond the top end of the recommended carb intake, with no GI distress. Mixing between a couple of different energy sources helped keep his intake diverse and avoid any taste fatigue setting in. As he was "looking forward” to his last couple of gels, it’s safe to say he executed this well.
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.
Whilst Raff’s losses are on the low side, getting his hydration strategy right is still important if he wants to perform at his best.Learn more
As a ‘low-salty’ sweater, Raff doesn’t need to focus too heavily on his sodium replacement during races of this duration. But by preloading and popping a PH 1000 packet into the Soft Flask which he carried, he likely replaced a high proportion of his sweat losses. Having done some sweat rate testing in similar conditions to Valencia, he knew how much fluid he would lose on an hourly basis at his intended race pace, so aimed to drink enough to avoid dropping more than ~2% of his bodyweight. It’s likely that he just achieved this, so his hydration strategy was spot on for this type of race intensity and duration.
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.
Having had a couple of double espressos with his breakfast, Raff will have had some caffeine circulating in his blood building up to the race. Then, to hit the recommended guidelines for performance enhancement he made sure more than half the gels he carried were caffeinated. He nailed it by hitting the recommendations perfectly, and experiencing the race of his life.
How Raff hit his numbers
Here's everything that Raff ate and drank on the day...
Raff's weapons of choice
Raff'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).