Osmo athlete, Emma-Kate Lidbury, kicked off her triathlon season with Ironman 70.3 in Monterrey, Mexico last weekend. Lidbury placed 4th amongst a stellar field. Here she shares her nutrition “highs and lows,” and some input from Osmo CRO/Co-Founder, Dr. Stacy Sims.
Pre-race jitters? Nah, just clowning around;-)
I kicked off my 2015 season at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey this weekend, finishing fourth. It was my first race back after five months and I definitely felt a little race rusty! I have to hold my hands up and admit I made a few silly mistakes, some of which I’ll share here (with the expert input of Osmo’s Dr Stacy Sims) in the hope it helps others in the future. We all make fueling mistakes at some point – even us seasoned pros! Here we go…
Eccles: When racing, I typically carry a Bonkbreaker bar and a packet of Clif Shot Bloks in the built-in bento on my Felt IA. At the start of the race, I also stash a second packet of Bloks in the back pocket of my race top.
My Sunday “brunch.”
However, halfway through the 56-mile bike course in Monterrey, I lost about half of the nutrition from my bento. “OK, let’s not panic,” I thought, reaching for the second pack of Bloks from the back of my vest. Uh oh. It was empty. They’d fallen out – or I’d been pickpocketed at 25mph ☺. I calculated I’d probably had about 250-300Kcals of fuel and in the past have purposely trained on minimal fuel, so thought I’d *probably* be OK. I planned to try to grab something from an aid station on lap two of the bike if I needed it, but with rain and high volumes of racers all passing through aid stations on the second lap, it never seemed like a smart move. What are your thoughts, Stacy? What is happening physiologically if you’ve begun feeding the body sugar for an hour or so and then stop?
Stacy: When you are under exercise stress, your body is using a mix of glucose (CHO), and fat/fatty acids (under severe stress or long duration, amino acids can also contribute). Part of our goal of scoping some of your training sessions to be with minimal fuel was to prepare, in part, for something like this: to “teach” the body to be more efficient at carbohydrate sparing and fat utilization. (Caveat: This protocol is NOT for everyone!) When you have been taking in fuel/sugar and then you stop, a few things happen- first, the external source of sugar you were taking in was actually helping preserve your body’s own stored carbohydrate- but note: you can’t access fat without a bit of carbohydrate. Thus when you stopped taking in the sugar, your body had a metabolic “shift” to tap into more of your stored glycogen to keep you at pace- at the same time, you may have felt like someone threw lead in your tyres- with reduced access to sugar, fat metabolism will increase, but since fat is such a long molecule, it takes a bit longer to break it down for fuel- which is translated to a slowdown in pace. By the nature of having you do your strategic lower fueling training sessions, we “taught” the body to be ready for this scenario, and be able to tap into more fatty acid use, without the slow-down.
Eccles: I also have another mistake to own up to…I usually drink 24oz Osmo Active Hydration per hour when racing, a little less if cool, more if hot. On Sunday, I started with two bottles of Osmo, approximately 36 oz in total, and would usually pick up at least one more 24oz bottle of water during the latter half of the bike leg. I got through these slower than usual as it was fairly cold, but then failed to pick up any more (see above re: aid stations) so only drank ~36oz over the course of the bike (2 hours 17 mins). I don’t think this had much impact on me on the bike (but correct me if I’m wrong, Stacy!) but where I think it might have bitten me on the butt is the run. Like most people, I struggle to get much fluid of significance down when running, so by the back end of the run was definitely feeling sub par. For reference, I usually take on water for the first half of the run and eat a packet of Clif Bloks then switch to Coke, water and glucose tabs for the business end. I probably got a few sips of water and Coke down, plus my usual Clif Bloks, but not much else on Sunday. What’s your take, Stacy?
Stacy: A common mistake of many triathletes, from newbies to pros… what you do on the bike will directly affect what happens on the run. If you are low on fluid intake, you will experience a significant drop in blood volume. Why does this matter? Blood needs to circulate to the muscles, the skin, and the gut (although 60-80% blood flow diversion occurs during exercise). With a drop in blood volume, the is compromised blood flow to the skin, muscles, and gut- thus you experience a faster rate of muscle fatigue (muscles can’t dissipate enough heat, the muscle temperature rises to a point where contractile proteins denature, which is perceived as flat, dead legs and loss of speed/power), increased GI distress (the increased blood flow diversion will also increase the temperature of the intestinal cells as well as invoke hypoxia [lack of oxygen]. This combination will allow the tight junctions of the intestinal cells to “open up” releasing bacteria into circulation- causing an inflammation response (increased heat production) and “leaky gut”- often felt as bloating, diarrhea, gas… Hello PortaPotty!). And the reduced blood flow to the skin means less ability to thermoregulate (e.g. dissipate heat). The body’s response to a heat threat is to slow down…
Well, now I know! I’m racing again on March 28 at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside and will definitely be race ready, not race rusty* (*catchphrase courtesy of Gerry Rodrigues @ Tower 26). I’ll be back on the Osmo blog post-Oceanside. See you then!