This is a super common question among triathletes, duathletes & most multisport racers. What should I bring on the bike or run with me? The simple answer - it depends. Here are a few tips to help...
- Don't experiment
- Practice with what will be available
- Less is more
- Go with the flow
1- Don't experiment on race day. Race with what you train or tested with. New gels, goodie-bag treats & freebies are tempting, but save them for AFTER your race. Bring what works for YOU!
2- Right in line with the above suggestion, practice where possible with what will be available on the course. If it's a specific brand of gel, pick some up & see if it works for you before race day. This makes worrying about fuel you like less problematic as it will be available throughout the course.
3- Less is more! Sometimes having 36 gels, 2 gallons of water & endless snacks sounds great, but the "I'll never run out of fuel" theory also leads to other issues. Too much added weight on the bike and/or run can make you feel dragged down & can of course actually slow you down. Too many small items (ie. gel packets) can be dropped or lost. This costs you money, time & mental stress. Load up lightly and look to restock along the course (there's almost always water/gels/energy-drinks along the way).
4- Chill out! Go with the flow! Taking in water or fuel at exact increments or time measurements has it's merit, but it's not for everyone. You won't instantly dehydrate if you take a sip of water 5 minutes later than the exact "plan" calls for. You also won't explode with GI issues taking in a gel or fuel source 5 minutes early. Learn to tune in on what your body is telling you it needs and go with that!
Elite Tip :: Practice long and/or hard sessions before your race with different fuel & hydration sources. Play with timing and intervals for refueling to see what feels better or worse. This is a big factor in training as it will help you dial in what YOUR specific needs are - not what all the hype & fluff tells you is right.
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Author: JB Tobin | This article is for reference purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any ailments or sports related conditions. Always seek professional medical advice.