We head to Amsterdam once again on this episode of The Kona Edge to chat to Annchen Clarke. Having an Ironman nutrition plan is vitally important. Will a nutritionist make a difference in your Ironman performance? You can find out on this podcast.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown and it’s time to chat some Ironman nutrition with a previous visitor to the podcast, Annchen Clarke joining us once again. Nutrition, vitally important to keep you fuelled and going at an Ironman and getting to Kona. Annchen, you mentioned your day at Kona didn’t go according to plan, do you think your Ironman nutrition plan had anything to do with it?
ANNCHEN CLARKE: I’m still not sure. I think there was quite a bit of swell on race day. I found out afterwards a lot of people were sick in the water as well, so I do think I suffer a bit from seasickness in big swells and in the meantime I have started doing what they call sea bands, so it works on pressure points. You could take seasick tablets, but I find that it makes me drowsy, which has obviously got a negative effect on your racing. I think nutrition plan, maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with the nutrition plan, it’s just that I didn’t compensate for the swell on race day.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about Ironman nutrition and some of the important do’s and don’ts. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt around nutrition when doing an Ironman?
Ironman World Championships – A bit of help can get you there
ANNCHEN CLARKE: I saw a nutritionist early on when I started doing my first Ironman and he made it clear to me that I wasn’t getting enough protein. I used to eat relatively smaller portions and I would probably just eat one protein meal a day, which is not enough for endurance athletes. I started upping my protein, but very much for me, it’s listen to your body. I’m so in tune with my body, my body tells me exactly what I need. I try and focus on nutrient dense food, so lots of leafy greens, it really helps with cortisol buildup in the body. It really helps getting rid of lactic acid buildup from the endurance training. It’s just a matter of listening to your body and for me, I’m very much in tune with my body, so it tells me what I need.
BRAD BROWN: One thing I take out chatting to you Annchen is that you asked for help along the way. You got yourself a swim coach, you got yourself an overall athletic coach, you spoke to a dietician/nutritionist before, how important would you say it is, particularly from an Ironman nutrition point of view, that somebody does get help? We’ve spoken about the swim coaching and the general coaching, but nutrition is something a lot of people neglect and they don’t really dig too deep in, but it’s almost that nutrition is the 4th discipline of triathlon and if you get that wrong, it can mess up the other three?
ANNCHEN CLARKE: It’s almost more important than the rest because the biggest part of endurance training is obviously how quickly your body recovers and your body will never recover properly from just sleep, you need the proper food as well to recover. You need the protein to rebuild the muscle, so yes, I think it’s very, very important to seek some help at some level, just to understand that you’re doing all the right things.
Getting the balance right for the Kona experience
BRAD BROWN: And it’s an experiment of one. We’re all very different and we all respond differently to the same stimulus, you need to, like you say, you’re in tune with your body, you need to figure out what works for you.
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Yes, for instance, it’s highly recommended, dairy products also helps with recovery, it’s recommended to get a lot of pulses in for protein. My body doesn’t cope well with either, so especially when I ramp up my training, I actually have to cut out dairy completely. Now that my training volume has dropped, I’m fine, I can take on dairy, so again, it’s about listening to your body and understanding, there’s no rule for everyone. Some people respond well to dairy, other people don’t.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant, Annchen Clarke, thank you so much for your time once again on The Kona Edge, we look forward to catching up again soon and thanks for everything.
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Thank you.