Ironman nutrition - Plan your race and race your plan
Ironman Nutrition – Keep an easy plan in your head for race day

Ironman nutrition – Plan your race and race your plan

Ironman nutrition - Plan your race and race your plan

We all make Ironman nutrition mistakes, but it is what you learn from them is what matters. Today multiple Ironman age group world champion Lisbeth Kenyon shares the biggest nutrition lessons she has learnt in her Ironman career.

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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge. I’m Brad Brown.  It’s good to have you with us and time to chat some Ironman nutrition with someone who’s had some rough times, as far as Ironman nutrition goes. It’s a great pleasure to welcome back onto the podcast, Lisbeth Kenyon.

Lisbeth, welcome, thanks for joining us.

LISBETH KENYON: Good to be here again.

BRAD BROWN: Lisbeth, your first exposure to the Big Island was a rude awakening by any stretch of the imagination. You ended up in the medical tent with hyponatremia. Tell me a little bit about that first day out on the Big Island.

Bad Ironman nutrition will lead you to the med tent

LISBETH KENYON: I had no idea of what I was doing and so I got myself into some serious trouble. I wish I had a picture of this race, but I don’t. I was classic. Finishing up with my body at a 90-degree angle and they basically caught me at the finish. So, I finished but they caught me and carried me off to the med tent and took a blood test. They realised there was serum magnesium and so they injected me with it. I was in there for 2-hours but when I was released I thought it had been only 15-minutes. Learn the hard way, that’s what I do. Of course, 11 years later my next Ironman Kona we knew more, and I knew more. Nutrition has always been difficult for me.

BRAD BROWN: What are some of the lessons you learnt out of that first one?

Know what is happening with your Ironman nutrition

LISBETH KENYON: The lesson was that you don’t enter a race not knowing, you must know what is happening. Especially at the Ironman World Championships in Kona where the elements are so harsh. And I just winged it. I never even thought of it going into that one.

BRAD BROWN: Talk to me about your nutrition strategy now. How do you approach a race?

Study and practice an easy Ironman nutrition plan

LISBETH KENYON: I have a plan and I study the plan. I have the plan automatically in me, because when you are in the race, you start to forget things. I have an easy plan. Nothing to think much about. I lay it out beforehand and I practice it in my head mentally. So much so, that it’s automatic once you’re in the race. It can’t be complicated because if it starts to go wrong, your mind will not be able to concentrate. It needs to be easy, super easy.

BRAD BROWN: Lisbeth, do you change things up still or have you found the formula that works for you and that’s what you stick to now?

LISBETH KENYON: I do tend to change things. When I train, if I train less than 2-hours I just drink water. I don’t do much. But if it’s more than 2-hours I try to fuel as if I’m in a race. I figure things out all the time.

One Ironman nutrition formula does not work for every race

By the time my Ironman comes up I think I may have found the perfect formula. And eating every time I do an Ironman, I do things just a little bit differently. And then you do the race and you learn something again. I have not found one single formula that works every single time, I always change.

BRAD BROWN: And I think that’s an important point to make. As much as we want to find that silver bullet that’s going to work for us, it’s always something that’s changing and evolving. Our bodies are changing and evolving. Condition, change and evolve and you’ve got to be able to adapt, not massively. You’ve got to go with the flow, so to speak.

Adaptability and Flexibility is crucial to your Ironman nutrition

LISBETH KENYON: You do. And nutrition changes on the course too, depending on who is sponsoring the race. You must be flexible.

BRAD BROWN: Absolutely. Well Lisbeth, best of luck for the upcoming season and Kona 2017. And possibly that qualification for Chattanooga.

We look forward to following your progress and I hope everything goes according to plan. Thanks for your time today.

LISBETH KENYON: Thanks for having me.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.


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