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Sam Appleton's scorecard


Sunday 12th June, 2022

Within recommended ranges

Just outside recommended ranges

Significantly outside recommended ranges

  • 71g

    Carb per hour
  • 464mg

    Sodium per hour
  • 894ml

    Fluid per hour
  • 519mg/L

    Relative sodium concentration
  • 5.07mg/kg

    Caffeine per bodyweight
  • How Sam hit those numbers

    1 x Espresso
    300ml x Plain water
    1 x Raspberry muffin with butter
    2 x Hard boiled eggs
    1 x PF 30 Gel
    *** Try to avoid drinking too much at this point in the race!
    1.5L x PH 1000 (Tablets)
    5 x PH Electrolyte Capsule
    12 x PF 30 Gel
    2 x PF 30 Caffeine Gel
    3.03L x Plain water
    300ml x PH 1000 (Tablets)
    1 x PF 30 Gel
    1 x PF 30 Caffeine Gel
    2L x Plain water
    500ml x Cola

    How Sam's hydration and fueling went...

      • Sam put out a great performance in his second ever full distance IRONMAN event in Cairns. In the heat (~24℃/75℉), he claimed a podium spot in a very quick time alongside some more experienced long course competitors
      • He adjusted a tried and tested 70.3 hydration and fueling strategy and built on this prior IRONMAN experience (from which no case study data exists) to suit the forecast conditions and longer duration of the race. He was happy with the plan and his result after the race, rating his race satisfaction 8 (out of 10)


      • On this occasion, Sam chose to prehydrate by sipping on some plain water in the morning of the race. Generally, we would recommend preloading with at least some PH 1500, as we have seen him do previously but understand that this was decided in consultation with his coach. For future hot races we’d like to discuss some element of preloading with the understanding that excess sodium loading is not desirable
      • During the bike leg, Sam’s strategy involved starting out with two 750ml/25oz bottles containing two PH 1000 (Tablets) each and then picking up water on course to top up his bottles and drink alongside Electrolyte Capsules
      • Then on the run, Sam picked up a small flask in T2 containing a PH 1000 (Tablet) and drank a couple of mouthfuls of water at each aid station; and a mouthful of Coca Cola at aid stations during the second half of the marathon
      • In total, this meant Sam drank ~7.2L/243oz over the 8 hour race, which equates to an average of ~894ml fluid per hour (~30oz/h), higher than we have seen him drink in his 70.3 races. This worked out to be ~1L/32oz per hour on the bike and ~931ml/h (31oz/h) on the run. We expected to see this, as it’s easier to hydrate on the bike than the run, logistically speaking
      • Sam said “I drank a lot more than I had anticipated and I was consciously trying to drink more than I do in a 70.3”. This reasonably aggressive strategy to hit ~1L/h (~32oz/h) over the bike and run proved effective in the hot conditions to make sure he was replacing a decent amount of his net losses over the IRONMAN
      • Despite drinking this volume of fluid during the race, Sam didn’t pee. We would often expect an athlete to pee a couple of times in a race of this duration which can indicate they have not under hydrated. But, we have seen a few high level athletes, and Sam himself, not pee during many successful races so it’s not always a prerequisite for a positive outcome
      • In terms of sodium, using PH 1000 and Electrolyte Capsules throughout the race meant that Sam took on ~464mg/h, which meant the relative sodium concentration of his intake was ~519mg/L. Sam’s sweat sodium losses are on the lower side so this would likely have replaced an appropriate proportion of his sodium losses
      • On the run, Sam’s sodium concentration was a lower ~185mg/L due to picking up more plain water. He could consider having some further Electrolyte Capsules to replace a greater proportion of his sodium losses on the run, especially during even hotter races (e.g. Kona), to avoid any performance decline that can result from building up a deficit
      • Very positively, he didn’t experience any cramping over the course of the race (usual for Sam) and was happy with his overall hydration strategy


    Quick Carb Calculator Recommendation


    carb 30 mins before


    carb per hour during
      • The morning of the race, Sam had a raspberry muffin and a couple of hard boiled eggs. Despite being on the light side, this is Sam’s routine pre-race meal which we have seen him do on multiple occasions
      • An athlete's breakfast ultimately comes down to what they are happy and comfortable to eat on race day, and Sam usually has a small breakfast. But the science does illustrate that consuming between 1-4g of carbohydrate per kg bodyweight 1-4 hours out from the race can enhance endurance performance. It is worth a discussion as to if/how Sam could consider tweaking total energy intake up at breakfast in future races
      • Sam predominantly used gels to fuel his performance, having a total of 14 gels on the bike and two gels on the run alongside some Coca Cola. This allowed him to hit an average of ~71g of carb per hour over the course of the race; the highest we have seen him consume yet and within the Quick Carb Calculator’s recommendations for this race (60-90g/h) but slightly below what we are often seeing for elite men racing as fast as he was
      • This carb intake broke down into a higher ~99g/h on the bike and ~40g/h on the run. This ‘frontloading’ is to be expected in triathlons to a certain extent, but this level of drop off is more common in 70.3s, like we have seen from Sam before. We are consistently seeing more and more elite level athletes sustain high carb intakes on the run and staying within or exceeding the recommended 60-90g/h range to ensure optimal performance until they have crossed the line
      • In line with his lower run intake, Sam did experience a drop off in energy levels and struggled with possible low blood sugar throughout the last 10km of the run. We would recommend in future full distance races, Sam tries to maintain a higher run carb intake (over 60g/h) to avoid the energy dip he experienced. To be able to achieve this, Sam will likely need to undergo further gut training where he regularly implements this high carb consumption in simulation sessions to push up his level of comfortable absorption over time
      • Sam reached the top end of the general recommended caffeine dose for a race of this duration (3-6mg/kg of bodyweight), hitting 5.07mg/kg. He started his day with an espresso and then during the race had two PF 30 Caffeine Gels on the bike and one caffeine gel and Coca Cola on the run. This was a great caffeine strategy for Sam who regularly uses it on race day, getting regular moderate doses on board to keep the caffeine high in his system to reap the proven benefits


      • Sam executed a well adapted hydration and fueling plan at IM Cairns to support his fantastic performance. Adjusting to the longer duration, high intensity and warm conditions of the race, we saw Sam impressively hit higher carb and fluid numbers than in any of his 70.3’s that we have analysed, albeit there is ‘headroom’ to push carb intake up further on the run specifically
      • Ahead of further full distance races in the future, Sam should continue trialling his race fueling strategy in simulation training sessions to be able to tolerate a high carb intake on the run leg, as we are seeing more professional athletes achieve, and to avoid the dip he experienced at the end of the race
      • Some specific workouts in ‘Kona specific’ conditions will be incredibly helpful in dialling in both hydration and fuelling for the Big Dance in October

    Key info

    Sam Appleton

    Sweat sodium concentration
    Sweat sodium classification
    * determined by a PH Advanced Sweat Test


    Overall Time
    Swim Time
    Bike Time
    Run Time

    Event information

    Full distance
    IRONMAN Cairns
    Cairns, Australia
    12th June, 2022
    Swim Distance
    3.8km / 2.4mi
    Bike Distance
    180.2km / 112.0mi
    Run Distance
    42.2km / 26.2mi
    Total Distance
    226.2km / 140.6mi
    Bike Elevation
    1,135m / 3,724ft

    Race conditions

    Weather Conditions
    No Rain
    Min Temp
    24°C / 75°F
    Max Temp
    26°C / 79°F
    Avg Temp
    25°C / 77°F

    Athlete feedback

    Race Satisfaction
    Energy levels
    Felt great and in control all day, until the last 10km of the run
    Toilet stops
    GI comfort
    Nothing too bad for the whole race
    No cramping

    Sam's full stats

     Carbohydrate (g)Sodium (mg)Fluid (ml)Caffeine (mg)Relative sodium concentration (mg/L)
    Total intake5743,7507,230340519
    Per hour7146489442
    Bike and Run
    Total intake5443,7507,230340519
    Per hour755181,00047
    Total intake4293,2504,530200717
    Per hour997501,04546
    Total intake1155002,700140185
    Per hour4017293148

    Data Confidence







    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.

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