Jana's Rev3 Race report - coach perspective - part 2

After providing some general training information for Jana’s program on part #1, now I dive into what was the more specific prep for Rev3 Quassy Half Iron distance, how we set up her tapering scheme and how we set up her fueling plan.

When preparing racing and fueling plans for my athletes I based all the information on what they have done in training and what we have practiced fueling wise. Using devices like a power meter and a GPS/pedometer for collecting data allows me to not only do performance modeling, but also produce racing execution plans.

That is, I use the data collected (training rides, testing, races) and based on that I can estimate when I can expect for each to hit peak performance and when I need to start the tapering based on their current fitness per sport (as opposed to following some arbitrary general taper plan, a common practice by many). With that in mind and based on the experience from coaching Jana for a bit less than  year before Rev3, I knew she didn’t need more than a week roughly to bring her fatigue curve down while maintaining her fitness high and the offset of fitness minus fatigue will result in a peak in performance.

Since Jana raced the American Zofingen (Tough duathlon with 5 miles run, 29 mile bike, 5 mile run, 29 mile bike, 5 mile run) with  3 weeks prior Rev3, she had a big build up for that which also became part of the peak training during her specific phase as I intended in her season planner. That means Jana had 6 weeks of intense training before Rev3; I set up her build up with ~12 hrs of training per week with almost 60% of that done at intensities of tempo (30%), threshold (20%) and VO2max (5%) for cycling, 55% of tempo, threshold and VO2max for swimming, and around 50% for running. After that it was followed by a ~6 day taper reducing training load broke down as 6 days for running, 5 for cycling and 4 for swimming.

After Zofingen, she had an unload week (low training load) before having a last intense 12+ hr training load week (similar load break down as before Zofingen) and for Rev3, the taper was actually a bit shorter (5 days) broke down as 5 days for running, 4 for cycling and 3 for swimming. This decision was possible thanks to the data collected on her training and knowing the recovery rate Jana has for each sport.

Once the taper plan was settled, the next step was to tweak her fueling plan which she has trained with pretty much since Clearwater 70.3 and something we have just polish ever since.  Based on her power data Jana needs ~1650-1750 Kilojoules (kJ) to cover 56 miles at the same constant body weight (which oscillates between 127-128 pounds). Knowing that, the variable will be how fast or not she will cover that distance which will change a bit her reliance on carbohydrates vs. fats (the more intense you race, the more carbs you’ll need in general).

I won’t go into the details as to how I produce the carbohydrates needs for my athletes in their racing plans as I don’t want to give away the calculator I created, but it is not something I developed nor secretive. It is available out there in books, studies and the web for anyone curious enough to find out and with some excel skills to produce! You basically need to know the kJ, critical power (CP), race intensity (% of CP), current weight, an educated guess on efficiency and every day diet (food Kcal intake based on %s of carbs:protein:fat), we know she needs ~70 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This correlates well with what current evidence suggesting how athletes can absorb around 1-1.5 grams of crabs per minute or 60-90 gr of crabs per hour.

Using pace plus the info suggested above you can also estimate how much you might need for swimming and running (though the latter is trickier). For Jana based on her weight, race pace (intensity), distance, every day diet, the fueling consumed per hour when biking, and the fact it is a bit more difficult in general to digest fuel when running,  she can handle ~40-45 gr of carbs per hour. In terms of triathlons, we fuel before the race hence we have enough to get through the swim portion, for that reason, for anything shorter than an IM, I am not too concerned at determining in detail fueling needs for this leg.

Jana (like many of my athletes) likes to train and race with Powerbar products because those don’t upset her stomach and it is what you find in many races nowadays. We also like the fact Powerbar peform has their C2max blend which means having two sources of carbs allowing a better/faster absorption in our body. This might sound as a promotional ad, but their C2max blend is actually supported by current evidence suggesting that sugars like glucose, maltose and maltodextrin can be absorbed faster when exercising, and while fructose is absorbed slower, a mix of something like maltodextrin and fructose will allow faster/more absorption as the body uses two different pathways (‘doors’) to absorb it.

Also, Powerbar products make it simple for my athletes to determine their fueling needs based on our plans because they clearly indicate the nutrition fact per serving but also, they advise mixing directions which another key element when considering a fueling plan. If you don’t have an optimal carbohydrate concentration of your sport drink (carbs vs ounces of water) you might risk, GI distress or even something like side stitches (transient abdominal pain) which evidence suggest might be related with the consumption of hypertonic drinks (high carb concentration). Most powerbar products used a 9% carb concentration, which falls within the 6-9% suggested in current research.

Considering all of the above, you can see Jana’s fueling plan below that she has trained with on most of her long rides and/or race rehearsals and also what she used for Rev3. She made some adjustments on the go with water but for most part, the fueling aspect of her races is almost automatic. This means, she doesn’t have to worry much on fuel details, she already has trained this and when racing is a matter of executing and focusing more on the pacing portion.

As you can see the plan above (which is included in all of our One-on-One coaching programs or available as a separate service through our fueling plans) is very detailed and make it simple for the athlete to know how much and when they will need fuel. We always make some adjustments based on every race and weather conditions and the plan is a flexible guide that we tweak as need it.  

Many of my athletes and myself like Powerbar products because of their quality and the way they make it simple to use taking the guessing out of the equation. For full disclosure I am sponsored by them through the Boston Triathlon Tea, still, after trying many products over the years I still like PB better.  At the end of the day, there are many quality products out there so go with whatever works for you!

On part 3 (and last) well talk about pacing and execution. Stay tunned…

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