As I am heading into this new territory for me of half Ironman training, the advice I hear over and over again is that I need to dial in and nail down a solid nutrition plan. I have never done anything over an Olympic distance tri, and you can wing that on water and a few Gus. However, I have noticed that on longer bike rides, Gu just doesn't but it. I always feel like I drain faster on the bike than I do the run, and I have to eat more substantual things on the bike. However, who really wants to pack all of that stuff when you are on a bike? It is one thing if you are on an organized ride like Little Red was, where you stop at feed zones and are taken care of. I really was intrigued by the idea of having all of your calories in a liquid form, but I didn't know of a drink that would cut it for me. I kept reading about Hammer's Perpetuem. It supposedly has everything you would need in it for a long ride/race with only supplementing with water. I liked the idea and thought it was worth a try so I bought a canister of the Strawberry Vanilla and tried it on my longer ride today.
Granted, today's ride was only 40 miles, but still 2.5 hours with the climbing. However, this route with the climbing and wind can be very draining. I usually come back exhausted. I took the Perpetuem in one bottle, mixed a multi hour bottle as it said to, and had another bottle with me on the bike of plain water to chase it with. Every 15-20 minutes I had a couple mouthfuls of the Perpetuem and then a swallow or two of the water. I didn't get thirsty, hungry, or drained one time! I felt great the whole time, and as the day has gone on, I seem to have more energy than I usually do after a ride like that! I am going to keep using it on my long rides as the summer progresses, but so far so good!
Now I have to nail down run nutrition. Lately on my long runs, I feel great until I have a Gu. It doesn't matter what kind, or if they have caffeine or not, I start getting cramps and GI issues. This is really baffling to me as I have been using Gu for the past three years as a runner and have never had any issues with tolerating it. I like the idea of using Perpetuem on the run as well, but don't know how to carry if for multi-hour long training runs. I am going to try the solids, which are chewable caps and see how that goes. I'll keep you posted as I do my experimenting in this new area. It is kind of fun, and scary at the same time. I hate that when something has worked for so long, and it suddenly does not. I actually like Gu, but apparently the feelings aren't mutual as judging from my last two long runs :)
In the mean time, Happy training!