IRONMAN World Championships
Ross' headline numbers
Carbohydrate is the main fuel you burn when racing. Failing to fuel properly is a leading cause of underperformance in longer races.
Using the new PF 300 Flow Gel as part of his fueling strategy during the challenging bike course in Nice, Ross consumed over ~130g of carbohydrate per hour. We’re seeing more athletes reaching up to and in excess of 120g/h on the bike leg, but this takes a large amount of gut training in race simulation sessions to tolerate this intake on race day. On the run however, Ross didn’t stick to his fueling plan and his carb intake dropped over 50% per hour from the bike to ~54g/h. A reduction from the bike to the run is expected, but Ross should look to increase his run intake to avoid the energy dip he experienced towards the end of the marathon.
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 Ross’s losses are on the low 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
After chatting with the PF&H Sports Science team pre-race, Ross executed a hydration strategy specific to his sweat losses. By using PH 1000 and PH 1500 in two of his bottles on the bike and proactively picking up water at each aid station, he took on a relative sodium concentration similar to his sweat concentration, and drank a suitable volume per hour to stay hydrated in the warm conditions. Ross may look to take Electrolyte Capsules on the run alongside the water he is picking up to maintain this strategy towards the end of the race.
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.
Ross used caffeine effectively over the course of the day to glean the associated ergogenic effects. By drinking a coffee in the morning, having a PF 30 Caffeine Gel pre-race, three PF 30 Caffeine Gels during the race and caffeinated energy drinks on the run, he will have kept his blood caffeine levels topped up throughout the race. This high intake meant he slightly exceeded the general guidelines, so he could reduce this and still reap the benefits.
How Ross hit his numbers
Here's everything that Ross ate and drank on the day...
Ross' weapons of choice
Ross' 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.