On this edition of The Kona Edge we touch base with Dean Edwards again. This time around Dean tells us a little bit about his Ironman Nutrition strategy. Dean shares with Brad the importance of ensuring you have a nutrition plan in place, particularly when racing on the big island.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto the next edition of The Kona Edge, time to chat some Ironman nutrition today and joining us is someone who is no stranger to the podcast, been on a few times before, Dean Edwards, welcome, nice to catch up again.
DEAN EDWARDS: Hi Brad.
BRAD BROWN: Dean, it’s often said and it’s become a bit of a cliché that nutrition is the fourth discipline in an Ironman and particularly in Kona because of the conditions and how tough it is, how important would you rate your nutrition strategy as far as an overall discipline in the sport of triathlon?
DEAN EDWARDS: It’s massive really in an Ironman because you can turn up to an Ironman in the shape of your life, but if you don’t get your nutrition right then you’re going nowhere fast. It’s all about experience really and finding out what works for you, it’s definitely integral, what works for my friends doesn’t work for me and vice versa. A good example really would be salt tableting in Kona, everybody goes mad that you should start lumping these salt tablets inside you, but I’ve tried them in my training and they’ve just made me feel ill, so I didn’t use them in Kona, I just used the normal high five electrolyte tablets [inaudible 0.46.39]. So, you’ve each got to find what works for you I think.
BRAD BROWN: We’re all an experiment of one and like you say, what works for you might not necessarily work for me. You’ve obviously experimented on various things, talk me through your nutrition strategy from a day before perspective, going into a race, what do you have the night before, what would you have for breakfast and then talk me through the actual strategy of race day from a nutrition point of view.
DEAN EDWARDS: Well, the day before, I’ll have a good breakfast, a bowl of porridge, some white toast and honey. For lunch I’ll have a good sandwich with some fats in it, some cheese, some chicken and then for my evening meal before the race, I don’t like to have it any later than 4:00, so it’s got a chance to digest and I normally have a pizza, I’ll also have an ice cream for the good fats to fuel the following day. On race morning, breakfast will be normally at 3:30 which will be nothing too heavy, just a couple of bagels with some Nutella and then I’ll sip on an electrolyte drink, obviously while I’m in transition and stuff, getting ready to start.
Ironman Kona Race Day Nutrition Strategy
Then obviously the nutrition on the day starts when you get out of the water and you get on your bike. I don’t have any food or gels until 20 minutes into the bike, let my body settle down a bit. Obviously the blood needs to travel from your arms down into your legs, I’ll have a drink in that time and then every 25 minutes I’ll take something on board. First off on the bike I’ll alternate solids and gels, so I might have a Mars bar after 25 minutes and then another 25 minutes I might fancy a gel, but I’m not really rigid about what order it comes in. I think the body is clever really, it tells you what it wants. I do try and wean myself off the solids in the last third or last half of the bike, so I’m just taking on gels, ready for the run. For the run in Kona I had a fuel belt, it had two bottles on the front and in each bottle I had loads of gels basically, mixed with water and I had enough for me to have one every 20 minutes on the run, gels and that saw me through.
BRAD BROWN: As far as the gels and the combination and getting the balance right for the solids, do you tend to just stick with sweet stuff, particularly on the solids or do you like to mix it up that sometimes you want something a bit savoury or a bit salty?
DEAN EDWARDS: I do like the energy type bars as well, I normally have the high five energy bars, Mars bars and I’m quite partial to a banana as well.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting, and then post-race and post training nutrition, is there anything that you do that you swear by that you go, this aids recovery and I’m not going to stop doing it?
DEAN EDWARDS: Post-race?
BRAD BROWN: Yeah, post-race or post training, like a tough training session.
DEAN EDWARDS: I always have a recovery drink after a really hard session, after training, after a race it’s normally a pint of Guinness, to be honest.
BRAD BROWN: I love it and by all accounts, we’ve heard it lots here in South Africa, I’m not sure if it works at Ironman Wales or Ironman UK or in Kona, but obviously the sooner after your race that you dance, the legs feel a lot better?
DEAN EDWARDS: Yeah, active recovery is definitely important. I mean I’ve mentioned before, I do a lot of hard sessions and we go for quality over quantity, but we also do a lot of easy sessions in between those hard sessions just to keep the blood flowing. It’s better to be in something than missing it all.
BRAD BROWN: Absolutely, Dean Edwards, thank you so much for joining us here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated, all the best in the build up to Kona 2016 and beyond.
DEAN EDWARDS: If I qualify, thanks.
BRAD BROWN: You’ve got to speak it into existence, Dean, you’re going to qualify.
DEAN EDWARDS: Fingers crossed.
BRAD BROWN: Thanks for your time, much appreciated.