My Ironman results and the nutrition strategies used.
2011 IM Frankfurt
My first IM was in Frankfurt, 2011. Swim went well, and likewise the first loop of the rainy bike. The second lap was quite a struggle, as I got passed by frequently. Consuming approx. 433 g of carbs on the bike, in the form of sugar + gel + water solution, I was feeling quite fine in the first half of the run. I was drinking coke and pushing down gels for a total of 217 g of carbs, but my energy levels were going down while feeling quite bloated. I ran second half 7 minutes slower (+8%) than the first for a total time of 9:18:47. Very relieved that it was over and disappointed the next day, as I failed to qualify for Hawaii for 5 seconds (yes, seconds, 13th in my AG, there were 12 slots, and all were taken!).
2011 IM Florida
Having failed to qualify for Hawaii, I did IM Florida that fall. Both swim and bike went well this time, again consuming watery solution of sugar and gels (450g carbs). I also felt reasonably fine on the first half of the run, consuming mainly gels and coke. It was the last 16 km that I really fell apart, struggling to get any nutrition in. I could hardly get a sip or two of coke at each station, gels were a no-option. The second half was 9 minutes slower (+10%), so my dreams of finishing sub-9 remained dreams. Nevertheless, I qualified for Hawaii, so goal #1 accomplished.
2012 IM Austria
Having secured a slot for 2012 Hawaii, I was very relaxed at IM Austria. The conditions were crazy hot, with temperatures over 35°C and it was a non-wetsuit swim. Ideal training race for Hawaii! Using power meter on the bike for the first IM race, I could now more precisely quantify my struggles on the second half of the bike. Consuming 527 g of carbs couldn’t prevent a substantial 20% drop in power on second loop. The run in such heat was hard as well, but I still managed to get in 195 g of carbs, mainly in the form of gels. The second half was 7 minutes slower (+8%) this time.
2012 IM World Championship Hawaii
First time in Hawaii I again struggled in the later stages of bike portion. Power went down 11% in the second half as I was having hard time battling the winds on the way back to Kona. Nutrition was standard, water sugar solution with two gels on top for a total of 404 g carbs. On the run I paid the price for starting too quickly, as my second half was 9 minutes slower (+10%). I took 190 g of carbs on the run, without major problems, so I was happy with my first finish in Hawaii.
2013 IM Lanzarote
IM Lanzarote in 2013 was the first IM race on “train low race high” carb approach. Swimming went well, but the major difference came on the hard, hilly bike course. Unfortunately racing without power meter after the first hour, I felt stronger and stronger as the race progressed. I literally never felt better on the bike before, in race or in training. By feel I managed to finish even stronger than I started, while consuming the least amount of carbs so far, only 330 g. I also felt good on the run, with second half being only 4 minutes slower (+5%) than the first. I even forced myself to consume excess amount of gels (108 g of carbs) as I was having second doubts on my nutrition strategy. Coming 9th overall, I was of course very satisfied with the result.
2013 IM World Championship Hawaii
Coming into 2013 Hawaii, I was quite confident of my nutrition plan. Once more unfortunately racing without power meter in the second half due to battery problems, I was again feeling excellent on the bike. I consumed even less carbs on the bike than in Lanzarote, only 238 g. And this time, I wasn’t having any problems with winds on the way back to Kona, as I was stronger and stronger coming into T2. Once on the run, I felt good as well. I only took one gel and then drank coke according to feel, as I knew that I don’t need to force down sugar just for backup. Consuming 104 g of carbs I managed the most even run split, with second half being only 3 minutes slower (+3%) than the first. By coming 2nd in AG and 29th overall, I exceeded my far-fetched seasonal goal. Finishing time of 8:48 for a first sub-9 result was a nice bonus as well!