Choose a free gift when you spend over £100!
< Back to case studies
Pro
7th

Sarah Crowley's scorecard

IRONMAN World Championships

Thursday 6th October, 2022

Within recommended ranges

Just outside recommended ranges

Significantly outside recommended ranges

  • 70g

    Carb per hour
  • 230mg

    Sodium per hour
  • 593ml

    Fluid per hour
  • 387mg/L

    Relative sodium concentration
  • 8.44mg/kg

    Caffeine per bodyweight
  • How Sarah hit those numbers

    finish
    star
    bottle
     
    1 x Cup of Instant Oatmeal
    1 x Banana
    1 x Large table spoon of chocolate spread
    1 x Cup of Coffee
     
     
    *** Tip: For sea swims, put a bottle of water at T1 to rinse your mouth out
     
     
    3 x PF 30 Energy Gel
    1.35L x Plain water
    2 x Energy gel with caffeine (25g carb, 100mg caffeine)
    500ml x Energy drink mix (79g carb)
    600ml x Energy drink (22g carb)
    700ml x Energy drink (48g carb)
     
     
    2 x PF 30 Energy Gel
    1.1L x Plain water
    2 x Energy gel with caffeine (25g carb, 100mg caffeine)
    1 x Energy gel (40g carb)
    700ml x Energy drink (22g carb)
    300ml x Coca Cola Original
    100ml x Red Bull
     

    How Sarah's hydration and fueling went...

      • Sarah enhanced her strong record at the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii by securing a fourth top-ten finish from five visits to the 'Big Island'
      • A big focus for Sarah going into this 2022 edition had been on increasing her carbohydrate intake and she hit a solid ~70g of carb per hour on average, which is a big increase on the ~50g/h we saw her consume during her races in 2021
      • Despite incurring a frustrating time penalty for drafting while on the bike, Sarah reaped the rewards of her enhanced fuel intake as she came back strongly to run a 3:06:56 marathon and came out on top in a sprint finish with Daniela Ryf to secure 7th place

    Hydration

      • This was the fifth time that the 39-year-old has raced Kona and she recognised the importance of starting on the right foot, so she started optimally hydrated by preloading with a PH 1500 (Tablet) in ~500ml (16oz) of water ahead of the race
      • After emerging in one of the middle packs from the swim, Sarah went into the bike leg in eighth place before suffering a penalty for drafting after 40km. Despite this setback, she stuck to her strategy by utilising a mix of plain water and energy drinks as her main source of electrolytes and fluids on the bike so that she didn’t suffer any ‘palate fatigue’
      • We know from her Sweat Test that Sarah has a low sweat sodium concentration and sweat rate testing indicates that she has a moderate sweat rate. Armed with this information and the strategy she’s refined during her previous races, Sarah knew that she didn’t need to consume as much fluid or sodium as a lot of the other athletes on the course to maintain her levels of hydration
      • This graphic compares Sarah’s strategy with Fenella Langridge, who finished one place and just a few minutes ahead of Sarah, and it perfectly illustrates the individual hydration requirements of different athletes in the same conditions
      • With her relatively low sodium and fluid requirements in mind, Sarah drank ~593ml (20oz) of fluid per hour (while some of the other women were drinking >1.2L/h (42oz/h)). And she maintained a low, but appropriate, relative sodium concentration of ~387mg/L (mg/32oz)
      • Sarah said, “out of all the races I’ve done, this was probably the hottest” - the average temperature was ~27℃/ 81°F, with ~70% humidity - but she was happy to report no cramping and she rated her hydration strategy as a 9 (out of 10)

    Fueling

    Quick Carb Calculator Recommendation

    30g

    carb 30 mins before

    60-90g

    carb per hour during
      • Sarah ate a carb-rich dinner the night before and on the morning of the race, which will have helped top up her glycogen stores before she got to the start line for the swim
      • The Aussie utilised PF 30 Gels, on-course gels, and energy drink mix in her bottle and built-in bike bladder. Combined, this ensured her average intake was ~81g of carb per hour for the bike leg and ~76g/h while on the run, which is well within the Quick Carb Calculator’s 60-90g/h recommendation for an event of this length and intensity
      • Sarah has benefited from implementing gut training during her training sessions in the past 12 months and she’s been successfully increasing her carb intake. We can see that she was hitting ~50g/h during her races in 2021, but that intake has consistently been 70g/h or higher during her 2022 races (~79g/h at IM Australia, ~74g/h at IM Cairns and ~70g/h at IM Worlds)
      • Sarah also utilised caffeine well throughout the race, particularly on the run as she looked to increase her energy levels and work her way back up through the field after the drafting penalty left her in 13th place coming out of Transition 2
      • She consumed ~8.44mg/kg of caffeine, which lies just above the general performance recommendation of 3-6mg/kg. It’s worth noting that an athlete’s caffeine intake will be down to individual tolerance and Sarah regularly uses caffeine, so this elevated intake wasn’t risky for her on the day and it helped enhance her perceived energy levels as she overhauled several rivals during the marathon and ultimately claimed 7th place
      • Sarah was happy to report “literally no GI distress” throughout the race and is pleased with how she managed her energy levels, which will have helped support a sprint finish at the end of the run

    Conclusions

      • Sarah did extremely well to come back from her penalty setback on the bike and secure her fourth top-ten finish from five visits to Kona. This, in part, was helped by what she described as a “well oiled” fuel and hydration strategy, with Sarah saying she felt like she “nailed” her hydration on what was an extremely hot day
      • Sarah said that “it was the most happy, disappointing race of my life”, as the penalty overshadowed a battling performance that ensures she’s looking forward to getting back on a start line again in 2023 (“I’m excited to race again!”)

    Key info

    Sarah Crowley

    Female
    54kg

    Result

    Position
    7th
    Overall Time
    9:01:58
    Swim Time
    0:54:50
    Bike Time
    4:55:03
    Run Time
    3:06:56

    Event information

    Sport
    Triathlon
    Discipline
    Full distance
    Event
    IRONMAN World Championships
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Date
    6th October, 2022
    Website
    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
    1,772m / 5,814ft
    Run Elevation
    307m / 1,007ft
    Total Elevation
    2,079m / 6,821ft

    Race conditions

    Weather Conditions
    Very Hot and Humid
    Precipitation
    No Rain
    Min Temp
    25°C / 77°F
    Max Temp
    31°C / 88°F
    Avg Temp
    29°C / 84°F
    Humidity
    73%

    Athlete feedback

    Race satisfaction
    7/10
    Hydration rating
    9/10
    Nailed it! The best I've ever done it...
    Energy levels
    8/10
    Toilet stops
    No
    GI comfort
    10/10
    Cramping
    No cramping

    Sarah's Thoughts

     Making a simple mistake meant it was the most happy, disappointing race of my life

    Sarah's full stats

     Carbohydrate (g)Sodium (mg)Fluid (ml)Caffeine (mg)Relative sodium concentration (mg/L)
    Overall
    Total intake6332,0715,350456387
    Per hour7023059351
    Bike and Run
    Total intake6332,0715,350456387
    Per hour7925866757
    Bike
    Total intake3971,3753,150200436
    Per hour8128064141
    Run
    Total intake2366962,200256317
    Per hour7622571083

    Data Confidence

    marker-icon

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    There is some confidence in the quantities and brands of products consumed but the data may lack specifics (e.g. volumes, specific flavours). A high number of estimations have been made and the room for error is moderate-high. There may also be the possibility that some intake has been grossly over- or under-estimated.

    Sarah's recent case studies

    see all

    Related case studies

    Nail your next event with a FREE Fuel & Hydration Plan
    Get started