Ironman Run Injury – Hacks to keep you injury free

The key is organisation – Sarah Thomas’s nutrition strategy

Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

Today on The Kona Edge, we welcome back Sarah Thomas to chat to her about her nutrition strategy for Ironman Kona and what she learnt to do differently after her first Kona experience.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

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Podcast Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto this edition of The Kona Edge. Time to chat some nutrition now and we head back to Cairns in Australia to catch up with a returning guest, Sarah Thomas. Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

SARAH THOMAS:  Hi, thanks for having me.

BRAD BROWN:  Sarah, let’s talk some nutrition. You mentioned around your first Kona experience that you think one of the reasons things didn’t go according to plan is because you didn’t quite get your nutrition strategy right on the bike. You’ve changed. Nutrition is one of those things that’s very personal. We talk about it here and there’s no one size fits all, but the reason I like to talk about it is to give people ideas. Tell me a little bit about your nutrition strategy now and how it’s changed from when you first started?

SARAH THOMAS:  I don’t think it has changed too much from when I first started. I think where I went wrong in Kona 2017 was, I didn’t prepare myself for the electrolytes that were going to be given out on the course. So they were giving us bottles of Gatorade and I hadn’t trained on it. I was really worried obviously because Kona being really hot I was thinking I have to take on more hydration than normal and I think I just started taking on too much of it whereas what I did in 2018 last year was actually dilute that because when I’m in training usually, probably the electrolytes that we were having were a little bit more diluted than what you get in a pre-packaged Gatorade bottles. So having had the experience of the following year where I was trying to take on as much as I possibly could and I just ended up feeling sick, it was just too sugary and just too much,whereas this year when I just diluted it a bit, it really seemed to work a lot better for me.

So that was good having that knowledge. Otherwise nutrition wise on the bike I have a mixture of solid foods, like bars and gels. I use Vindurance energy gels and then for my own electrolytes that I obviously would take to start off with before I have to start relying on what they give out on the course I use a Bindi electrolyte which has some carbohydrate in it as well which helps me get my extra carbs in. So yes, that’s basically a bit of a balance of a few different ways of managing.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you feel like you’ve got it down, that it’s no longer an experimentation,  that you pretty much know what works for you and you’re sticking by that?                          

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, as I say other than Kona 2017 I’ve never ever had a problem with nutrition. So I basically just do the same thing. I think if something works then there’s no point trying to fiddle with it too much, so yes, I’m pretty happy with it.

BRAD BROWN:  And from a run perspective, tell me about how you approach the run. Are you all liquids or are there some solids on the run as well?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, I try to get in some solids, but it’s predominantly liquid on the run. I like the Clif Blocks because it’s just something little that you can have just because you don’t want anything obviously that’s really difficult to digest when you’re running. So yes, I try to have something little, but frequently and obviously predominantly fluids on the run, but yes, definitely some snacks along the way as well.

BRAD BROWN:  Let’s talk about your day-to-day nutrition and how you handle that sort of stuff. Are you about what you eat and how you eat and when you eat or is it you know what, just got to be sensible and balanced and take it as it comes?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, I think I like to be organised with my food because obviously with the amount of training that I’m doing I tend to eat quite a lot and if I get hungry I need food to be readily available so I don’t end up just grabbing whatever. So yes, I’m pretty organised in the way that I always have snacks on hand and it’s food with high nutritional value and I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, salads and things like that. I always make sure that I have a good balance of carbohydrate and protein, but yes, I think the key for me is the organisation, is making sure that I have the right type of food readily available so that I can eat when I need it which is quite often.

BRAD BROWN:  Yes, the struggle is real as an Ironman triathlete. You can’t quite figure out if you’re still hungry or hungry again. It’s a fine balance.

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, that’s it. It’s pretty hard.

BRAD BROWN:  The struggle is definitely real. Sarah, it’s been great catching up. I look forward to following your progress to Cairns and beyond. Fingers crossed that it’s third time lucky for a Kona qualification and hopefully it’s closer to the podium if not on the podium in 2019.

SARAH THOMAS:  Thank you, thanks very much

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.


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