How many gels do I need to make an Ironman?

Competition nutrition also has to be part of our triathlon training.

Alejandro Santamaria tells us in this article how to do recover from a test as demanding as an Ironman. Alejandro is not only a great athlete, but also as a coach on his online page

Nobody better than him to give us first hand some tips that many of our readers will surely help him in his next competition

Previous days

Ironman nutrition for a long triathlon has to start all week long. Try Eat healthier throughout the week and keep in mind that those days we train less and therefore we need less eat less calories.

The first days of the week cut out carbohydrates Well, if we are not going to spend them, we will swell too much.

Air shipments are the most efficient if you need your cargo or documents to arrive quickly and securely. 3 days before the Ironman eat more hydrates (mainly rice that is better assimilated and has better quality carbohydrates). more water and more salt. Also take some magnesium.  We will avoid foods rich in fiber and we will cut salads and meals with little caloric value that can also give us digestive problems later.

What breakfast on the day of the competition? What breakfast before an Ironman?

My recommendation is not do experiments. Have breakfast what you usually drink and not much quantity. Avoid milk and dairy that are more indigestible.

Breakfast for an Ironman It must not be too big. You do not need a banquet. Is most important the previous dinner to the Ironman that breakfast. Or even the food of the day before the competition. Avoid juices that can loosen the stomach even more. Espresso, oatmeal and a banana is a good example.

The time before departure drink a can of water with the same energy drink what are we going to use In my case the Isobar drink of Powerbar drinking up to almost a liter in that hour prior to departure but in small drinks. An 30 analgesic can be taken before the start but not abused because they can cause stomach problems during the triathlon.

The cycling sector

Gels - Cycling Sector

In a heat test you can drink 1 liter per hour. It seems a lot but it is important to stay hydrated because then you have to run a marathon and the performance can depend on the food we make by bike.

Output start with 2 drums with carbohydrates (Isoactive or similar) but being careful not to concentrate the drink too much to avoid osmosis problems at the stomach level. And then go replenishing in the refreshment stations with what can be caught. You can't always choose but above all try to maintain hydration.

By bike you have to take 3 gels. Give it a try and don't skip the shot. You cannot take all 3 at once, it is important to do it little by little.

  • BANANAS: if they give in the refreshments try to eat some piece.
  • AMINO ACIDS: take some pill and you take 2 every 1H30.

 You already know at the end of the bike you try to drink and eat to get loaded to run (but not bloated)

Liquid foods or gel are assimilated better than solid. But if you do not have much experience and the pretensions are not very high you can alternate with something solid.

At the special refreshment station you can leave a sandwich or a midnight turkey with Philadelphia cheese or something similar to change the flavor and settle the stomach. In addition, the more hours in competition, the lower the pace and the percentage of fat we consume increases. Then we can alternate the gels with other foods such as nuts or sandwiches that we have already discussed.

The marathon

In the transition it is ideal to leave a drum with our drink to ensure that we replenish what works for us. We drink it during the first kilometer.

  • Amino acids, you take 2 every 1h + -
  • Gels: DEPEND BUT to take each 20' + -
  • If they give Coca cola, drink at all refreshments.
  • In tests of very hot salt pills take 1 every hour in the race.

If you have nausea in the race and nothing comes to you. You take the gel you hold it in your mouth for a few seconds and you spit it out. You can not swallow it because you are nauseated and have stomach problems but if you taste it for a few seconds under your tongue it will take energy from your body.

To protect the stomach it is advisable to take an Omeprazole and take it the 2 nights before the tri. You already know that with so much gel, it cuts the effort and such the stomach turns and you can have discomfort, with this you will protect it.

How to calculate how many gels do I need to make an Ironman?

According to the studies we can assimilate between 60 and 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour with a maximum of 1,2 grams of HC per kilo of weight and per hour. To go through these amounts is to saturate the stomach. Also to stay shorter is not to provide all the energy we need and more considering that an Ironman ends with a marathon.

You can do your calculations multiplying 1,2 x your weight = to the amount of HC per hourthat divide by 26gr or the grams of HC contained in the gel you use. And the number of gels comes out. If you do not have experience there are many gels to take. The key is to take them distributed every 20 minutes or less and little by little.

In experienced professional triathletes during the Ironman marathon when all the engines are on, there have been cases of exceeding that 1,2gr assimilation quota during the marathon. Being able to ingest more gels than those indicated above.

Calculate Gels - Ironman

How much caffeine can you take in a Triathlon?

Caffeine is a supplement that can help us perform better. But there are some effective amounts of caffeine among which we must be. The ideal amounts of caffeine are between 3 and 6mg per kilo of weight.

Take more is not more effective and even if we go from 9mg it is harmful and can cause stomach problems, dehydration, cramps ... Add the amount of caffeine you're going to drink between all the gels and supplements and try not to go too far. Do not drink all gels with caffeineTry to alternate them and use them in the difficult moments but remember not to exceed the consumption of caffeine during IRONMAN.

Further information:

Alejandro Santamaría

Train with Alejandro Santamaria. 26 years of experience at your disposal. Triathlete since 1993 with 27 Ironman completed and several podiums. Several times champion of Spain elite. Coach since 2001. Pioneer in online training. Triathlete specialist who is

There are no previous results.

Related publications

Button back to top