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Helle Frederiksen: Race day nutrition and how to fuel a triathlon
Episode 7826th May 2021 • Inside Tri Show • Helen Murray
00:00:00 01:09:04

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We get multiple Ironman 70.3 champion Helle Frederiksen back on the podcast this week, to talk us through race day nutrition and how to fuel across all distances. We go in-depth about what to eat during an Ironman triathlon and what to eat in the days before a race.

You'll hear:

06:00 We talk about the basics of race nutrition. We have up to 90 minutes of maximal work. We can go 90 minutes without putting any energy in. Helle talks about how to fuel a sprint distance race - take a gel ten minutes before the start, and half a bottle on the bike with energy drink in it.

07:30 How to fuel for an Olympic distance race - take a gel before the start, have a full bottle of energy drink/electorlyte mix on the bike, along with 2 gels and then take a gel with you on the run.

08:40 What should you eat before a race? 3 hours before the race, get up and get your breakfast in. Something like porridge, banana and a coffee. Or toast and banana with nut butter. Or rice. My go-to was always porridge and a banana, always three hours before the race. An hour before the race, have a banana or half a bar and then have a gel ten minutes before and sip on electrolytes before the race, a light solution.

14:40 We talk about electrolytes, sugars, salt, glucose and why you need to listen to what your body is telling you.

16:30 What you should eat after a race and why a protein shake can be a good idea if you want to talk a lot with your competitors and friends after the race! "Just get something in your system and enjoy it, but don't worry too much about what you get in."

18:12 Aim to get 60-90g of carbs per hour and for salt, you are looking to get anywhere between 600-1000mg/hour. We talk about how to consume sodium in a race.

25:38 How do you fuel an Ironman triathlon

30:30 How to get through the marathon leg of an Ironman

32:30 If you struggle to use gels, Helle recommends that you look for gels without fructose.

33:48 Some interesting thoughts on gels. "The health perspective in taking gels has to fly out of the window in racing. In training, on the other hand you don't want empty calories, you want the nutrients. In racing, don't think about it, you need the energy."

36:10 If you can't take on gels, what are the alternatives? Helle suggests oat based bars which are easily digestible and bananas and chews, if you can take on chews. Eating two bars per hour will be a lot of food for the body to digest. On the run, I would go bananas and chews.

41:56 A gel is like a thick sugar lump that you need to swallow. But in races, it works!

47:00 What should you eat the night before and Ironman 70.3 or an Ironman and in the few days in the run up to a race. "Try to limit fruit and fibres in a few days before a race. Calm down the digestive system" Bananas are ok though!

51:45 How you should prepare if you are going to be doing a hot race or a cold race.

53:40 How should you fuel long training runs, which are longer than 90 minutes? Especially when you don't like carrying anything. "Make sure you break the overnight fast, so that you have some energy and proteins in the body." Take a small bottle with you. If you can't do that, hydrate before and hydrate as soon as you can after.

01:02:35 All about Helle's training platform, Our Kollektiv which provides personal training plans, knowledge and world class support for anyone looking to improve as an athlete and as a person.

Find out more about this week's guests

Helle Frederiksen Instagram

Our Kollektiv - Helle's training platform which provides personal training plans for all levels of athletes, regardless of whether you want to do a 5km or an Ironman triathlon.

Helle's book - The Pursuit of Victory - is now available to buy in English here.

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Find out more about Helen

Head over to Helen's website to find out more about her