Let’s talk fueling….. – Part 2

After my rough ride following the sprint, I decided to start looking into a liquid fuel source during my bike rides, but 1000 calories was still overwhelming to me, so once again, I relied on just eating and drinking when I wanted to on the next long ride of 37 miles.  With no plan, my next ride went ok on a flat course on a cool rainy day, but I didn’t feel like I could finish 56 miles on the bike and 13.1 running with no plan since I hardly drank or ate anything much, and I felt like crud for the next 2 days. My body felt tired, run down, and sore, but that was nothing new. I had been feeling like this after every long ride for a while. I had taken in about 25 ounces of water and 300 calories on that ride, and my recovery was bad…again. Something had to change.

After talking to a friend who mentioned Ucan, I went home and looked it up and started reading about it. It intrigued me. People using it were claiming to do Half and Full Ironmans on very few calories during the race. It was supposed to level out the glycogen spikes, keep glycogen levels more consistent, and allow your body to burn fat for energy better. Well now, I have lots of fat to use for energy, so I asked my coach if he’d heard of it or tried it. He had used it last year mainly for long course racing, and he said it worked pretty well, but he said you had to combine it with a lower carb diet & cut out sugar. He’d been telling me I needed to do this for a while anyway, but since I’m an admitted carb addict I had been very slow about cutting these things out. I’d lowered them a lot, but the sugar wasn’t completely gone. I did feel better with less sugar, but I wasn’t sure about totally getting rid of it, so I read more about Ucan. People were talking about using the metabolic efficiency diet (lifestyle) with it, so I looked this up as well and found an article explaining the science behind metabolic efficiency training (MET) at http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/multisport-zone/fuel-station/articles/make-your-body-metabolically-efficient-012412.aspx. If USAT (oh yeah, and my coach for the last couple of months, but remember, I admitted that I’m hard headed and stubborn already) is recommending MET, then maybe I should give it a try, and while I was at it, I’d try to use the Ucan with it.

My next ride was a disaster still. It was the mini-tri training day at Clay’s lake house. I won’t rehash the details from my earlier post, but let’s just say I felt pretty dizzy and lightheaded at the end of the ride and even worse at the end of the run. I had tried using 3 scoops of Ucan with protein before the workout that day and some Ucan during the ride, so I thought perhaps it was a lack of calories. I had brought a couple of gels with me on the ride just in case, so I took one around 30 miles and another around 40. I should have felt something from those if it was a lack of calories, but they didn’t help at all. I seemed to be getting worse. I had also gone through about 60 ounces of water and 24 ounces of water mixed with 2 scoops of Ucan. Have you paid attention to my previous water intake? It usually averages in the 20’s-30’s when I’ve felt ok. No worries, I hadn’t caught onto this yet either. After this ride, I grumbled some (read a lot) to my coach about this, that, and the other. A lot of it included complaining about the HR zones I have to stay in and that I had to walk to stay in them Saturday, and his response was very positive and a bit like talking me off a cliff. I responded still very frustrated, and I think he decided to let me mull things over a day.

After thinking about his response and the heat on Saturday that he’d mentioned, I replied agreeing that he was probably correct about the heat being an issue. Since I had stepped down from the cliff, I could now have a better conversation about what went wrong. He mentioned his ride on Saturday, and the calories and water he took in. I then told him I had taken in plenty of water and didn’t feel dehydrated. I had pretty much doubled my water intake. His response, “that’s good. The only thing I’d like to see more of is an electrolyte. In the heat you have to up your sodium or you’re going to really feel it.” Hmmm…. electrolytes, such a little thing, but oh how it can make a world of difference. Notice, I haven’t mentioned those anywhere in my post about fueling. Fueling is more than water and calories. Electrolytes are an important part too. I KNOW THIS! Why didn’t I think of this before? Now, I looked back at the rides where I’ve really felt horrible.

Remember the first bad ride? I drank 4 bottles of water, so 67 ounces of water just prior to riding. Did I take any electrolytes with that water? Nope! 2nd bad ride, I drank around 80 ounces of liquid on the ride with only the sodium in the 2 packs of Ucan. I only finished about 2/3 of the Ucan over the entire ride, so by mile 30, my sodium intake was even less than 2/3rds, maybe 215mg of the 480mg of sodium in the entire 2 packs. I was behind the 8 ball, feeling like crap, and I tried 2 Gu’s late in the ride which gave me 250mg of sodium on a sweltering hot day finishing the ride around noon. My total intake ended up being around 570mg of sodium by the time I finished the 45 mile ride. Then, I went on to run for 35 minutes without anything but water. Both of these rides had huge increases in water for me because of the heat, but no increase in electrolytes. Coach Chuck said I was probably flushing out my electrolytes. Yep, I’ve heard of this before, and I completely understand and know better, but sometimes, that person looking from the outside can see a little clearer. Another reason I hired a coach.

Now, since I didn’t feel hungry or like calories were the issue, time to find a solution for the electrolytes.

-Next, what I “think” works for me and will be my plan for the HIM

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