Replacing Calories Burned

So the half-ironman triathlon that I will do this Saturday will take approximately 6 hours to complete. This is 6 hours of non-stop, high intensity exercise. Many, many calories will be burned during the swim, bike and run.

I estimate that I will burn approximately 500 calories swimming, 1900 calories cycling, and 2000 calories running….for a total of 4500 calories or more during the entire race.

Needless to say, if I didn’t replace any of these calories during the race, I would run out of juice way before the finish line. The good news is that lots of these calories that are burned are fat, which does not need replacing. So I don’t have to attempt to consume 4500 calories…which I doubt I could hold down anyway!

According to studies, during an event such as this, you need to take in around 300 calories per hour on the bike and about 150 per hour on the run. So with this in mind, I’ve devised a nutrition plan, starting with the day before the race:

Friday- Final large meal should have an ample amount of complex carbohydrates that are moderate in glycemic nature. I’ll probably try and eat some whole-wheat pasta with a little lean protein and vegetables for a great meal around lunch time. The remainder of the day will look much like my normal day-to-day nutrition. Small meals that are eaten frequently, balanced between low glycemic carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. No big dinner – If you load up on carbohydrates the night before the race, the only thing you will gain is weight.

Saturday- Wake up about 3 hours out from the start of the race and eat a medium sized breakfast that contains a good amount of complex carbohydrates, and a small amount of healthy fats (not saturated) and proteins (400-800 calories) – one gram of protein for every three to four grams of carbohydrate.

30-45 minutes before the race, I’ll slowly start to drink some Gatorade until it’s time to enter the water.

Bike – Consuming 24 ounces per hour of Gatorade will provide the hydration and electrolyte replacement I need. Plan is to remember to drink every 15 minutes. After 90-120 minutes of activity (about 30 minutes into the bike) my body will start to require protein as part of its fueling source. If protein is not present, your body will begin to cannibalize its own muscle for energy…not good! This is where the PowerBars come in. I’ll eat bite size pieces slowly – a bar should last at a minimum 30 minutes, and possibly as long as 75 minutes. No solid foods 30 minutes before the end of the bike.

Run – gels every 45 minutes, hydrate at every aid station

Here’s the nutritional info of what I plan on packing on my bike and in my pockets while running:
PowerBar Performance Energy (Peanut Butter) – 1 bar = 240 calories, 200mg sodium, 44g Carbs, 105mg Potassium, 25g sugar, 9g protein

Clif Shot Gel (Razz) – 1 pack = 100 calories, 40mg sodium, 25g Carbs, 30mg Potassium, 8g sugar, 0g protein

Gatorade (Orange) – 1 bottle (20oz)= 130 calories, 210mg sodium, 33g Carbs, 65mg Potassium, 31g sugar, 0g protein

Prerace = 1 gel, 1 bottle Gatorade
Bike = 2 bars, 3 gels, 2 bottles Gatorade
Run = 3 gels

Run Intervals (6 x 4 laps (.286 miles))
Warm-up- 1mi – 8:04 – Avg Hr = 143
1) 1:51 – Avg HR = 151 (6:28 min/mile pace)
2) 1:53 – 152 (6:35)
3) 1:50 – 156 (6:24)
4) 1:47 – 160 (6:14)
5) 1:47 – 161 (6:14)
6) 1:45 – 164 (6:07)
Cool-down – .718mi – 5:45 (8:00 min/mile pace) – 153
Total – 3.434 miles in 35:49


Easy Swim session with some 8 lap speed sets
Total – 1008 yards in 21:04

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.