On this edition of The Kona Edge we look at Ironman nutrition and Sydney Tervort shares her disappointments due to nutrition with us.  She tells of cramping and reinforces the importance of using your nutrition on the course as set on your watch.  Take it when the buzzer goes off.  Even if you think you don’t need it because once you fall behind with your nutrition you can’t play catch up.


BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back to yet another edition of The Kona Edge, time to chat some nutrition and I’m pretty excited to welcome our next guest back onto the podcast, Sydney Tervort. Sydney welcome back, thanks for joining us today.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Thank you, good to be here.

BRAD BROWN:  Sydney, I’m excited to talk about your nutrition because in our first chat I asked you what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt or your biggest disappointment and you mentioned a half Ironman where you ended up cramping terribly and you put it down to nutrition. You’ve obviously learnt some big, hard lessons about your Ironman nutrition in your short triathlon journey?

Take in nutrition by the clock

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yes I have and I think it’s things that you hear right off the bat, but it’s actually putting it into play that’s harder than it sounds because when you’re out there, what I’ve learnt is that when I’m out there, I don’t always feel like drinking or eating something on the bike and you have to set a watch, for me, to be consistent with getting fluids in that you don’t think you need or want and making sure you get ahead of your nutrition because once you get behind you can’t catch up and that’s been something I’ve been working on since that really hard race where I cramped up and taking in enough salt. I’ve started using the base salt on the bike and that’s been helpful to me as well.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s a very different approach to fueling for a marathon than you would for an Ironman and if you come from a running background and especially if you come from a long running background, for many years, you almost approach triathlon or Ironman with that mindset and it’s difficult to get out of because sometimes you can fudge a marathon from a nutrition point of view, but you can definitely not fudge an Ironman.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yeah and when I was running marathons, I had a set schedule of when I would eat, for me it’s the goos, I liked the Roctanes, so I would take four of them with me, one for the start and I knew exactly what mile marker I was going to take the other three, but when you’re talking just a marathon, you’ve got four goos to deal with. An Ironman, you’re dealing with hours of nutrition and are you going to take it in a liquid, are you going to take it in food, so I’ve been working on that, learning to do that better.

BRAD BROWN:  Let’s talk about your strategy now and by what you’re telling me is you’re very analytical about it. You talk about eating or drinking on the clock, you did it in your marathon career, you’re doing it in Ironman now. How do you approach an Ironman, what’s your race nutrition strategy?

Try different nutrition then settle on one that works

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Okay, so the last two were Kona and Arizona and I used the same one. What I’ve come around to, for me, I try a lot of the different things that everyone is using, the different products, the different nutrition and then I found what worked for me, that didn’t make me sick and that seemed to sit well with me for that many hours, so what I’ve used is the Perpetuem, I went back to something I started with at the beginning, and I found that in Ironman it’s easier to drink for me than it is to actually eat. So, I make sure that I have several bottles of the Perpetuem and then every 15 minutes my watch goes off, so I know I need to eat or drink something or both, also keep up on the base salt. I do use some honey stingers because I find those don’t upset my system, so it’s just been a learning process of using different products to see what sits well in that kind of distance and heat.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you mix things up from a sweetness and savoury perspective? It’s one thing going through four goos in a marathon, but when you’re out in an Ironman race for 10+ hours maybe, it’s pretty easy to get sick of sweet stuff pretty soon.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yeah I agree with that and some of the drinks and things that I have tried in the past have been pretty sweet and like I said, I’ve come back full circle here and ended up with the one I started with, is the Perpetuem and it’s not sweet and it’s the one that sits well with me, so I’ve stuck with it. I do have some honey stingers while I’m out on the bike and I feel like I need something sweet, so I’ll eat that, but other than that, I pretty much just drink out there and then on the run I still do goos.

BRAD BROWN:  And that’s such an important too, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, it’s easy every year, every season, there’s something new that comes out, with a new shiny label and everyone is raving about it, but sometimes it’s just best to go to the old faithful. You figured out what works for you and stick to it.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yeah, I try those new things with the new, shiny labels, I try them and then I just, if it doesn’t work, I don’t stick with it. I find that a lot of things are just too sweet and end up upsetting my stomach.

BRAD BROWN:  Absolutely, well, Sydney, thank you so much for your time today, much appreciated. Best of luck in the upcoming races and we look forward to seeing you racing on the Big Island in October next year.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Thank you, I look forward to seeing you there.