On this edition of The Kona Edge we chat to Steph Corker about Ironman nutrition. We find out what her approach is to getting her nutrition dialed in and what changes she has made over the past year to improve on her race day performance. She shares her strategy on nutrition outside the sport and the reasons for these decisions.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge, it’s time to chat some nutrition and we head back to Vancouver in Canada, Steph Corker joining us once again, Steph welcome back, thanks for joining us.
STEPH CORKER: Thanks Brad.
BRAD BROWN: Steph, something we haven’t actually touched on at all in our previous chats is nutrition and it’s vital. It’s a part of what we do as triathletes that if we neglect it, it has a direct impact on the sport. For you personally, what’s your approach to nutrition and how it fits into your whole training regime?
The 4th discipline – not to be taken lightly
STEPH CORKER: Talk about the 4th sport. Not to be taken lightly, definitely. I, again, worked really closely with my coach on this one and Jasper was great because when I came to him as an athlete, I actually had huge stomach issues and I was never really digesting nutrition or I would avoid taking nutrition in and he put a stop on that very quickly.
There was just no time for a run to go sideways because of nutrition because nutrition is something we can control. If you can control it and figure out what you need to do so that it doesn’t hinder you, was really his approach and we went through some different trial and errors of what would work and what wouldn’t and figuring out what my carbohydrate load needed to be and how much salt I needed to take in and what my sweat ratios were.
I feel like we’ve really dialed in my race day nutrition and Jaspers a really big proponent of making sure that your long efforts are dress rehearsals for race day. My long rides are the same nutrition that I’ll race with and again, staying consistent in that. The piece that we really started working on together this year though was in nutrition outside of the sport.
What did I need to cut or what did I need to time differently because the truth was that I wanted to drop some weight and what did I need to do to drop weight. Especially knowing that Kona was the end goal and racing in the heat with extra weight is really tough on your body.
Again, it’s such a controversial topic and when you talk to people about wanting to drop weight, they have opinions and it’s like this piece of society that I just wish you could talk about, wanting to be the healthiest version of ourselves. So, I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it, I think it’s a work in progress. One thing that I did cut was refined sugar outside of training, so cutting down on refined sugar and refined carbs certainly helped kick things off.
The timing of which I eat, timing food and meals around workouts and not eating into the evening has also helped a lot, but I’m really not, I think there’s so much regimented routine in our lives, that I wanted there to be some room of flexibility with nutrition and yet, like I had mentioned, if you know what you want, then you just need to be willing to put the work in and what that means for nutrition is a lifestyle and a lifestyle that I guess you could say I’m still working on.
BRAD BROWN: What’s been the biggest struggle? You mentioned you’ve got the race day nutrition dialed in or you feel like you have, what’s been the biggest struggle and the thing you’ve battled with the most, outside of the race day stuff, the more day to day stuff?
Time and thought goes into food preparation for nutrition
STEPH CORKER: I think, if I’m going to be really honest, I think the struggle is around being prepared and preparation. It’s knowing when to grocery shop and when to make meals and how big of a meal to make so there’s leftovers for your next meal and just preparing food as though I would prepare my week for a workout. It takes time and it takes thoughtfulness and it’s not that I don’t have time and thought to put into it, it’s finding the right time because after a workout when you’re hungry is usually not the time to go to the grocery store.
BRAD BROWN: Absolutely not.
STEPH CORKER: Steph, it’s been amazing catching up with you, thank you so much for your time here on The Kona Edge. We look forward to following your progress in the months and years to come and I know you’ve got lots more of these things in you, so we look forward to seeing how you progress in the sport.
BRAD BROWN: Thanks so much Brad, really honored to be on your show.