IM 70.3 Bahrain
Ellie'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.
Ellie has iterated her pre-race fueling plan a lot throughout the 2023 season, and seems to have struck gold with a menu focused on simple carbs: toast with Nutella and banana, plus another banana closer to the race. She maintained control of her fuel intake during the race by carrying everything she needed from the start of the bike. As a result, she nailed her carb intake, averaging just under 100g per hour and successfully front-loading her energy levels ahead of the fast-paced run. As we’ve seen Ellie do at most of her previous races, her aim during the run was to ‘limit her losses’, taking in just enough to sustain her for ~80 minutes, usually by consuming ~40% less carb than she does on the bike. The trend for carb intake to drop off on the run is something we’ve seen in other triathlon Case Studies, especially if the athlete can prioritise a higher intake on the bike. Ellie may wish to try and increase her run intake slightly to avoid any performance drop offs due to diminishing energy levels.
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 Ellie’s losses are on the low side, getting her hydration strategy right is still crucial when it’s hot and/or humid as her higher sweat rate in these conditions can result in significant net losses over the duration of a race.Learn more
Unlike in Ellie’s previous race in Fortaleza, where her bottles were ejected from their bottle cages within the first 10km, she was able to keep them in place for the whole race in Bahrain. As a result, she executed her hydration plan perfectly. As someone with a low sweat sodium concentration, she balanced her fluid and sodium ratio with some PH 1000 and plain water, likely replacing a high proportion of her sweat and electrolyte losses and achieving a relative concentration close to what she loses in her sweat. During the run, it’s often difficult for professionals to access the aid stations, especially as the three-lap course filled up with age-group athletes also fighting for the same cups of fluids. As a result, Ellie’s sodium intake fell dramatically, so in future races, she may choose to copy marathon runner Floris Gierman’s technique of taping some Electrolyte Capsules to her gels to ensure she can control this aspect of her strategy.
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.
The four PF 30 Caffeine Gels that Ellie always takes in total, including immediately pre- and mid-race, provided her with the optimal dose to reap the associated benefits. Despite averaging slightly above the scientifically optimal recommendations, Ellie’s tried and tested strategy has consistently worked well for her, and her high tolerance for caffeine means we wouldn’t recommend changing this.
How Ellie hit her numbers
Here's everything that Ellie ate and drank on the day...
Ellie's weapons of choice
Ellie's full stats
There is an adequate level of accuracy in the data collected and the numbers reported. The athlete manages to recall what they ate and drank including most specifics (brands flavours quantities plausible estimations of volumes). However there are estimations made within the data which affect the overall confidence level in the data reported.