Dialling in your Ironman Nutrition with James Burke
Dialling in your Ironman Nutrition with James Burke

Dialling in your Ironman Nutrition with James Burke

Dialling in your Ironman Nutrition with James Burke

James Burke follows a very basic Ironman nutrition strategy. Yet he continues to invest time and energy into perfecting his training and race day nutrition. Today he shares mistakes he has learned from and gives us some valuable nutrition tips.

Go longer with SFuels.

Train your body to use fat for fuel.  SFules helps you go longer & avoid the dreaded spike or bonk

They contain no sugars, honey, syrups, sugar alcohols, wheat, oats or cheap protein, which helps avoid gut and GI distress.

If you’re in the United States and would like to try SFuels out, simply click on button below and they’ll send you a FREE box

SFuels was recently launched in the ultra running space and the response has been phenomenal! See for yourself what the buzz is all about about.

Don’t delay, the free sample boxes of SFuels are limited.

Go longer with SFuels.

Train your body to use fat for fuel.  SFules helps you go longer & avoid the dreaded spike or bonk

They contain no sugars, honey, syrups, sugar alcohols, wheat, oats or cheap protein, which helps avoid gut and GI distress.

If you’re in the United States and would like to try SFuels out, simply click on button below and they’ll send you a FREE box

SFuels was recently launched in the ultra running space and the response has been phenomenal! See for yourself what the buzz is all about about.

Don’t delay, the free sample boxes of SFuels are limited.

Subscribe to The Kona Edge:

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Resources:

I you’re looking for an Ironman coach check out our Coaches Corner

Win an Ironman 70.3 entry worth $350

Support the Kona Edge by becoming a Patron

Transcription:

BRAD BROWN: Time to chat some Ironman nutrition, we head back to Wisconsin. James Burke joining us now.

James welcome back onto The Kona Edge. It’s good to catch up.

JAMES BURKE: Thanks for having me back.

BRAD BROWN: James let’s talk nutrition. We haven’t really touched on it much. Your overall approach to nutrition. Let’s not talk race nutrition just yet, but how do you approach things from a nutrition point of view overall?

Eating to keep the weight off

JAMES BURKE: I would say in general I’m a healthy eater and try to watch what I put into my body and don’t do anything kind of crazy. I’d say I live a very basic nutritional lifestyle.

I’ll have some eggs in the morning. Maybe some oatmeal and then try and be sensible throughout the day. Have snacks as I get hungry because you certainly burn all the calories and then you’ve got the appetite.

BRAD BROWN: That’s one thing training for an Ironman, particularly when you’re in peak training. It’s difficult to decide if you’re still hungry or hungry again.

JAMES BURKE: One of the things that has amazed me, even with the volume of training that I had done. If I don’t watch what I am eating, I don’t necessarily gain weight, but it certainly doesn’t come off.

Focus on what you put into your body

I have a pretty long off season to clear my thoughts so I usually put on a few pounds. And those pounds don’t come off until I really start focusing on what I’m putting into my body. Not just what I’m sweating off.

BRAD BROWN: It’s quite an interesting point you make there because funnily enough that’s something that I struggle with too. When you’re not training necessarily as hard, you do tend to, like you say, put on a few pounds.

Do you follow a specific way of eating? Whether it be low carb high fat or is it generally whole foods and try keeping it as healthy as possible?

JAMES BURKE: I have to credit my nutrition to my wife who does the majority of the cooking and the shopping. But I would say my nutritional background is whole foods and health conscious. We don’t do high fat, and try to limit carbs. There’s times when I will try to reduce the number of carbs that I’m having if I haven’t been training. But I would say it’s fairly well rounded and then I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. So I need to watch that throughout the year.

Learning and developing your Ironman nutrition

BRAD BROWN: As far as training and race nutrition, are you set in your ways? Have you figured out what works for you or are you one that likes tinkering and tweaking and experimenting?

JAMES BURKE: I’m definitely continuing to tweak and experiment. I would say it’s probably less tinkering and more trying to figure it out. I would say race nutrition, and even training nutrition, has been the biggest wild card and thing that I continue to invest time and energy into learning and developing.

By and large I have a pretty solid gut so I don’t get a lot of GI issues  in races, but I can also tell when I’m right on the edge of  completely bonking. So trying to figure out the right mix of carbs and sugars throughout the races. I continue to toy and tweak with that and I go on with the best race plan that I can.

BRAD BROWN: What’s the biggest nutrition mistake that you’ve made in training or in racing?

Rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it

JAMES BURKE: In training, probably the biggest mistake is not taking nutrition on big, brick workouts. Getting done and being completely depleted of sugars and kind of bonking when I get home, and then have to be a parent and a husband.

I’ve gotten better that if I’m going to be out for an hour and a half, to take nutrition and maybe take a gel. Before I was not doing that and I’d get done and I’d be worse off than before.

BRAD BROWN: And have to just actually clutch out on the sofa, I’m sure. As far as your race strategy goes and nutrition.

Talk me through race day. Are you deliberate and watch the clock and go I need to take this at that time? Or do you just play it by ear and see how you go?

JAMES BURKE: I would say I have a general plan going in. I know that when I get out the swim I’m going to take a nutritional drink and try to get some electrolytes back.

Then I try and get a little bit of salad in. I feel like I race better if I’ve got something in my gut. I’ll get some salad on the bike and particularly early on, in the first 50 miles or so.

Fuel on feel with your Ironman nutrition

And then as the bike goes on my appetite for anything but gels kind of diminishes.

Then when I get to the run I don’t do it based on time but I do it based on feel. I’ll have an idea of what I’d like to do at each aid station and if there’s an aid station every mile I’ll have a good idea of trying to get in a banana or an orange, mixed with electrolytes and water. Then the gels I kind of go by feel.

But having said all that I would tell you that every run is a bit of a wild card in terms of what I do because I certainly adjust to the conditions and how I’m feeling and what I think I need at the time.

BRAD BROWN: Post race nutrition is often not a better meal after an Ironman. What can you eat your body weight of, after finishing an Ironman?

JAMES BURKE: I would say probably my most enjoyable meal is a burger, fries and a large beer. I usually do have a salvatory beer afterwards.

BRAD BROWN: Hopefully not just one.

JAMES BURKE: No.

BRAD BROWN: James it’s been great catching up. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. We look forward to following your progress to 70.3 Worlds later on this year in Chattanooga. Then obviously Ironman Florida and to Kona and beyond in 2018.

JAMES BURKE: I appreciate it. Thanks.

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.

Advertise

If you'd like to advertise on The Kona Edge, download our rate card.

Support Us

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.

Contact Us

7 + 13 =