Neil'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.
Neil front-loaded his carb intake on the bike like he normally does in IRONMAN races, although to a slightly lesser extent than we’ve seen him do previously (~99g/h in Kona, ~104g/h in Roth). Amongst the athlete intakes we’ve analysed, 83% dropped their carb consumption on the run compared to the bike, and by ~22% on average. Neil’s intake dropped by ~33% from bike-to-run, but was likely due to learning that he’d been disqualified for a course infringement 30 minutes into the run. This meant his usual high-carb strategy was reduced, and despite his position being reinstated post-race, his fuel intake had already fallen dramatically to just ~62g/h on the run, meaning his overall average fell to ~74g/h, below the 90g/h+ scientific recommendations.
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 Neil’s losses are Very High (1,492mg/L), nailing his hydration strategy becomes especially crucial when it’s hot and/or humid.Learn more
Similarly to his fueling strategy, Neil executed his hydration on the bike as planned, frontloading both his sodium and fluid to prepare himself for the run where fluid is usually more difficult to access and consume. By running out of T2 with a Soft Flask of PH 1500, Neil controlled his hydration better than most, and kept on top of his sweat losses as temperatures peaked at ~29℃ / 84ºF. Neil later mentioned that his fluid intake dropped in the latter stages of the run, likely mimicking his dropping motivation following the confusion about his disqualification.
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.
By utilising a drip-feed caffeine strategy to meet the recommended guidelines, Neil will have utilised the performance enhancing benefits of the stimulant throughout the entire race.
How Neil hit his numbers
Here's everything that Neil ate and drank on the day...
Neil's weapons of choice
Neil'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.