IM 70.3 Augusta
Mika'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.
It was great to see Mika back out on course after breaking his leg earlier in 2023, and he was back to crushing his fuel intake which he’s become well known for in the triathlon community. Mika showed us once again that he can comfortably tolerate over 90g of carb per hour on the bike. On the run, he felt the gap to second place was sufficient that he could comfortably coast to the finish, and didn’t want to risk taking on-course gels that his body hasn’t specifically been trained to tolerate. This meant his run intake dropped to ~61g/h, but he still felt great as he crossed the finish line.
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 Mika’s losses are on the moderate side, getting his hydration strategy right is still crucial when it’s hot and/or humid as his higher sweat rate in these conditions can result in significant net losses over the duration of a race.Learn more
With an average hourly fluid intake of just over 1.5L on the bike on a mild to warm day, it’s unsurprising that Mika felt ‘overhydrated’. He was likely drinking more than he was losing in his sweat, meaning his body wanted to offload the excess and made him need to pee. He did well to combat this overhydration by reducing his intake significantly on the run, and finished this race at a good level of hydration. In the future, Mika may wish to reduce the amount he drinks on the bike, perhaps by switching to a more solid fuel source (e.g. gels, chews), rather than only taking liquid carbs. This may then allow him to increase his run intake slightly and minimise discomfort, all while still maintaining a relative sodium concentration which closely resembles his own sweat sodium losses.
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.
Mika may have missed an opportunity to get all the available ergogenic benefits from caffeine during this race. He did take two PF 30 Caffeine Gels, which will have helped reduce his perception of effort and increase his focus somewhat. However, the general scientific recommendations for optimal performance enhancement suggest he could have taken another ~250mg of caffeine and gained even more of an advantage. It’s important to note that Mika tolerates caffeine well in his day-to-day training, so this increase likely wouldn’t have caused any adverse side effects.
How Mika hit his numbers
Here's everything that Mika ate and drank on the day...
Mika's weapons of choice
Mika'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.