Pacing the blame on nutrition

Pinpoint the cause. Not the outcome.

PACING IS better than excuses

 

Reading the Ironman Facebook group pages in the days after the race is always an interesting, frustrating, heartwarming, shocking, annoying, inspiring endeavour. After all, it’s Facebook. How can you not view it for more than 2 minutes without experiencing all of those emotions. There is hardly ever a mention of poor pacing though.

As an endurance coach, it’s also a great time to see how people feel they performed in comparison to what they expected. I think we can all agree there are way more excuses being handed out than stories of doing a lot better than expected, even if those excuses are usually wrapped, quite rightly – inside feelings of happiness that the race is complete and the results relatively good. Even a so-so Ironman performance is a wonderful thing. The event itself is just too big a deal and required too much commitment for it not to be.

Plus, anyone who drags themselves around 140.6 miles deserves a pat on the back.

 

Too Much Invested?

 

But is the event too big a deal? Was the commitment too much? Was the value wrapped up in your Ironman ‘day at the races’ such that you were filled with superhero aspirations? Performance be damned? 

“.. I completely blew it but at least I tried! ..”

What we see on race day is a disdain for the key ingredient to endurance sports performance. Pacing.

And what’s the most common excuse? The one that can really allow you to disown your slower performance? The one where you can really shift the blame from your responsibility, physical ability and game day smarts onto another less personal bad guy. Nutrition.

Nutrition is the number one excuse I receive from athletes who come to PB+J struggling with low performance on race day compared to their perceived ability.

They literally say the words “I just need help with my nutrition!”, like that’s the only thing between them and the pro podium. It almost never is.

 

All Calories

No Restraint

An indigestible truth

Simply put, the greater your intensity, the harder it is to consume calories.

Let’s just let that sink in for a moment.

You should establish a balance of nutrition to intensity in training (and by nutrition I mean food and liquid) . You want as much nutrition as you can comfortably digest for your bike or run intensity. But dialling in your nutrition during training and then over-pacing on race day means that your dialled nutrition just un-dialled itself. Your exertion and heart rate are higher. Your ability to digest is lower.

All that nutrition that digested wonderfully in training is now stockpiling in your stomach; building to Costco levels of bulk buy that your body has no real chance of dealing with.

You are going too hard and the nutrition you are consuming – nutrition that was fine at lower training intensities – is simply not  digesting.

Performance Killers 

Stitch, stomach cramp, nausea, bloating. All performance killers, disguised as nutrition issues but really just a byproduct of poor pacing.

This pacing issue affects your digestion which leads to people:

  • Throwing up / nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stitches
  • Toilet issues
  • Bloating

Poor pacing can be disguised as poor nutrition on the bike and run. There is less body movement on the bike, so often people might feel ok until they hit the run when the issues start. The catch 22 being that, on the run, their heart rate is now even higher and your stomach is bouncing up and down. Miss Reduced Digestion is now dance partners with Mr Shaky Shaky. What a wonderful combo that is.

 

Why Always Race Day?

Deep down we know we went too hard, but isn’t it easier to blame the nutrition. Damn Hammer/F2C/First Endurance I am swapping to GU/Stinger/Homemade Granola bars next time. I could have easily been an hour quicker if it wasn’t for my nutrition!

Does this apply to everyone? No. But if I ask “Is your nutrition ok in training?” and you hit the button and say “Yes, it’s just on race day!” then in true Family Feud style, lights will flash and I will shout ‘Congratulations, you got the top answer‘; and ask if your family wants to play first.

If it is ok in training, but not on race day, then either your body has some kind of mystical hatred of races or you are doing something different on race day. Like going being guilty of poor pacing.

 

It’s not that hard

Pacing is really not that difficult. Yet it is the number one killer of performance in endurance sports by an incredible margin. Even if you paced really, really well, you could probably have paced better. Long distance endurance events are almost impossible to nail 100%, part of which makes them so addictive. Regardless of how good your performance you know, and are probably right, that you could have done a little better.

What causes poor pacing?

  • Ego
  • Ego
  • Raceday adrenaline – getting caught up in the race atmosphere
  • Over estimating what you can do (arguably ego again)
  • Poor training program that doesn’t allow you to establish a reliable pace for race day
  • Trying to perform on the ragged edge of what you ‘believe’ you should be able to do.
  • Going by data, not by feel.
  • Ego, again.
  • Lots of other things!

Pacing is relatively easy. Unfortunately it means going a touch slower than you might want to, but it does mean you can go a much faster at the end than you otherwise could. Overall, this is a good.

Pacing means applying the same performance as you practiced in training. The same performance you have – week in and week out over the last few months – proven to be sustainable.

Pacing means you get to add the fuel you need to your body. Not only that, actually have it digest through your system resulting in more energy.

Pacing means you should no longer have to blame nutrition for a poor performance.

 

Summary

 

Even if you get your training tested nutrition spot on, poor pacing in a race reduces digestion of the nutrition that you dialled in during training.

If you are constantly blaming nutrition for your race woes, when your training has been issue free, then it’s almost certainly poor pacing.

In the weeks leading up to your event, start to really cement a feeling for what ‘feels’ the right pace for you on race day and how much nutrition you can take on board for that effort.

pacing is the key. get it dialled today!

PB+J athletes enjoy online coaching that maximizes their performance on race day, the perfect pacing strategy based on sound, modern training principles give each athlete the tools they need to make the right decisions on race day.

 

It’s not just online coaching. It’s an education.

We are currently accepting more athletes for online coaching.

Check out our ‘why choose P+J’ page and contact us today.

Why Choose P+J?

PACING IS THE KEY. GET IT DIALLED TODAY!

PB+J athletes enjoy online coaching that maximizes their performance on race day, the perfect pacing strategy based on sound, modern training principles give each athlete the tools they need to make the right decisions on race day.

 

It’s not just online coaching. It’s an education.

We are currently accepting more athletes for online coaching.

Check out our ‘why choose P+J’ page and contact us today.

Why Choose P+J?