BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge. It’s great to have you with us as we head back to Norway now for another returning guest. It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Lars Petter Stormo onto the podcast. Lars Petter, thank you for joining us once again today. Much appreciated.
LARS PETTER: Thank you Brad. Hi.
BRAD BROWN: Lars Petter, we haven’t spoken much about Ironman nutrition at all and, in the greater scheme of things, how it fits into your triathlon plan. As an overall umbrella, what’s your nutrition lifestyle like? How do you deal with Ironman nutrition?
Relax and keep Ironman nutrition simple
LARS PETTER: I am relaxed about my Ironman nutrition. We eat normal and healthy. My wife and I make everything with healthy and natural products. But nothing extreme in either way. I love good food and I wouldn’t take that away. So, just normal healthy food.
BRAD BROWN: It sounds almost too simple but that is the secret. The secret is there is no secret.
LARS PETTER: I think so. Just keep it simple and do what’s natural and don’t do anything to the extreme. Just keep it flowing, easy and simple.
BRAD BROWN: From a training and racing perspective, how do you approach things to ensure you put in great performances?
Be adaptable with your Ironman nutrition
LARS PETTER: I try to test out everything. But I think what I do well and gain a lot from, is being adaptable. Because you may have an Ironman nutrition plan and the plan may not work then you must take nutrition from an aid station. Or, you get something that you didn’t plan on getting. Just having a body that adapts to different kinds of nutrition.
I think that’s important so you don’t get stuck on one plan and if the plan doesn’t work, everything collapses. Being adaptable is important with Ironman race nutrition.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting you talk about using on course or not being adaptable. Your triathlon career is quite interesting, because Norseman you are allowed support. Whereas the Ironman races you are not. It’s almost two different strategies. How do you deal with that?
Plan and keep to your Ironman nutrition plan
LARS PETTER: Nutrition wise, Norseman is easy because you have the support team that can give you anything you like, all the time. So, there I plan and I can keep to the Ironman nutrition plan. But in a hard race, you never know what you want after 7 or 8 hours. So, I also have a big back-up box with the things that I might want to have. Because if I don’t feel like energy bars, then I don’t feel like energy bars. Then I should have a back-up with chocolate or chips, or something else.
And after doing Norseman 5 times I know what I need and what I want, so I’m getting better at it. But on the Ironman perspective it is a totally different thing. You must plan everything. On a full distance Ironman triathlon, it’s hard to get everything you need on the bike so it doesn’t look like a Christmas tree.
I’ve seen a lot of things in the change rooms. There I try to plan my Ironman nutrition but also being adaptable to getting from the aid stations along the way.
Are special needs necessary with your Ironman nutrition?
BRAD BROWN: Special needs, do you use it, don’t you use it?
LARS PETTER: I used it at Ironman Kona. Or, I had prepared something in case I needed it at Ironman Kona. I didn’t use it on the bike, but on the run I had put out some extra gels to have in my special needs bag on the run. But other than that, I just used the normal aid stations.
BRAD BROWN: An Ironman race day nutrition, let’s talk Ironman as an example? Because like you said Norseman is a bit of an outlier and doesn’t apply to if you’re racing Ironman Kona.
What do you do from an Ironman race day perspective? How do you race, what’s your strategy, is it gels, is it solids, what’s the story?
LARS PETTER: First, I think it’s important the day before an Ironman not to over eat. Not to carb-up or do anything different. Just a normal dinner. And breakfast. The normal breakfast that you’re used to eating. On the breakfast, don’t over eat there either.
Control what you put into your Ironman nutrition
And then out on the bike I try to use long working carbs. Not too much sugar too early on the bike. Because then I feel like the blood sugar is starting to go up and down, and then it’s harder to control. So, I try to stay away from the fast sugar products for the first half part of the bike. After that, it’s getting more onto the sugar gels. And, I don’t eat bars.
I have these gels that are like a bar but it’s in a gel form so I don’t have to chew anything. And the last part of the bike and the whole run it’s a lot of sugar. On the run, it’s almost just coke. That’s what I use. I take a couple of gels with me from T2 and then it’s all coke from there.
BRAD BROWN: Do you think your mountain biking background, from an Ironman nutrition perspective has helped you to adapt? Because on a mountain bike you can’t always get what you need at the time because you might be going down a tricky descent or a technical climb. Do you think that has helped your race day nutrition strategy when it comes to Ironman?
How mountain biking can benefit your Ironman nutrition
LARS PETTER: I’m good at eating when I know I can eat. You must prepare. I always prepare where I’m going to drink and where I’m going to eat.
But also, you must adapt to the situation. So, that’s good. And, my stomach is good at taking almost everything and I think that’s also from a mountain biking background. It’s a lot of shaking and the stomach must take a lot of sugar gels while shaking so much.
BRAD BROWN: Lars Petter, thank you so much for joining us here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. We look forward to following your progress and seeing how the unfinished business goes. Ironman Kona 2017. And we look forward to welcoming you here in South Africa at Nelson Mandela Bay.
Looking forward to that.
LARS PETTER: Thank you. They will both be great races. I’m looking forward to it.
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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