Nutrition Plan – Ironman World Championships, Kona, Hawaii

By Mirinda Carfrae 

This plan was given to me by a good friend and sports nutritionist from the Australian Institute of Sport Greg Cox.  I have used it for the past 3 years with great success and plan to use it again this year in Kona.

Early morning pre-race – I aim to consume 1 1/2 – 2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (I weigh 52kg) with about 500-600ml of fluid.  The aim is to try and get this down 2 to 2 1/2 hrs before the race start but I usually only get the solids down and then I just sip on the fluids up until an hour before the race.- 2 slices of rice bread + peanut butter or jam & butter- 600ml of GU Roctane drink plus 8 thermolyte tablets. After this I just sip on water (as dictated by my thirst) up until the race start.  If I start to feel hungry before the race I take a Chocolate GU about 20 minutes before the start with some water.

Swim Start to Transition (2.4 miles) – This year the pro women will start 5 minutes behind the pro men giving the women a much cleaner start and in my opinion a fairer race.  The race typically starts off at a pretty crazy pace and doesn’t really settle down until the turn around.  I usually swim as fast as I can and do my best to stay calm and focused on the feet in front of me.

Nutrition Plan – It’s not feasible to take in any nutrition during the swim leg

Estimated Swim Duration – 56 to 58 minutes

Cycling Nutrition (First 2 hrs) – The pace in the first 30 minutes is usually pretty fast it really only starts to settle down when we are out on the queen K heading toward the airport.  I make sure I am mentally prepared to be out of my comfort zone for this section then once on the queen K try to settle into my rhythm.

Nutrition Plan – I plan to consume around 70g of carbohydrate per hour (about 1.4g of Carbohydrate per Kg of body weight). Since I have not been able to eat during the swim I try to get in some calories right away.  I view the bike leg as a rolling buffet for my fluid and food intake.- 600ml Sports Drink Mix (sports drink mix, 1 scoop CarboPro, 750mg sodium)

– 2 x Chocolate GU

– 1 x Pineapple Roctane

– 600 to 1 liter of water depending on tolerance and temperature

– 6 x thermolyte tabs

Cycling Nutrition (Hours 2 – 4) – This part of the race will include the Hawi climb and decent.

Nutrition Plan -At this point I am listening to my body and looking for any signs of bloating or discomfort in my stomach.  You need to be sure the carbohydrates you are putting in are being absorbed.  With the temperature rising I make sure I increase my water intake.- 600ml sports drink mix (sports drink, 1 scoop Carbopro, 750mg sodium)- 2 x Pineapple Roctane

– 1 x Chocolate GU

– 1.5 liters of water (estimation – I drink to thirst)

– 6 x thermolyte tabs

Cycling Nutrition (Hour 4 to T2) – In the last hour I need to be sure that my stomach isn’t bloating – because running with a bloated tummy isn’t fun.  I want to continue to get the carbs in but need to make sure I am taking on enough water so that the carbs are absorbed ready to be used in the run.- 600ml coca cola- water (again drink to thirst & depending on temperature)- 4 x thermolyte tabs

Estimated Bike Duration – 5 hours

Run Nutrition (26.2 miles) – The first half of the run is usually really hot and humid, running along Ali’i Drive can feel like an oven because there really isn’t much breeze along that road.  I always seem to start out pretty quick then settle down after around 2 miles.  That’s when I am really just trying to get into my own rhythm and focus on keeping good form and run as efficiently as possible. Once out onto the Queen K it really starts to get hard, there are not that many people out there and you really need to look within to find the strength to push through the dark patches which sometimes seem to go on forever.

Nutrition Plan – I hit every aid station on the run, I alternate between taking on water and coke.  I carry gel flasks and take a sip of Roctane right before the start of every 2nd station and wash it down with water as I run through.  I take ice at each station and try my best to keep my core body temperature in check.- 2 x gel flasks each with 3 x Pineapple Roctane- as much water as I can get down

– coke every other aid station

– ice ice baby

Estimated Run Duration – 2:50

Finish Line Recovery – I am pretty much rubbish at recovery after the race is over and we usually get pulled straight into drug testing.

Nutrition Plan – If I can grab a chocolate milk I do but once in drug testing I just sit around and drink water and whatever sports drink they put in front of me so that I can produce my sample and get out of there as quickly as possible so I can be with my family and friends.

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