When your fitness program includes 4 to 6 hours a day of training, providing your body with the necessary nutrients is vital to the success of your performance. With the Ironman World Championships just under a month away, we wanted to check in with Fitmark Ambassador Mary Beth Ellis and talk about her fueling strategy for this monumental triathlon.
“As an Ironman triathlete, fueling in both training and racing are crucial to performing at my best,” Triathlon World Champion and Fitmark Ambassador, Mary Beth Ellis
The Ironman World Championship race in Kona, Hawaii, covers 104.6 miles. The island’s climate adds another element to the competition with “crosswinds of 45 mph, 95 degree temperatures and a scorching sun.” It is the “ultimate test of body, mind and spirit.”
Staying adequately fueled is vitally important to the optimum performance of each one of these three aspects. When you feed your body, you feed your mind, and a healthy mind boosts the spirits. It’s a chain reaction and it all starts with what you eat, how much you eat and when. We asked the expert, Mary Beth:
“During a big training block, I try to fuel well, but don’t worry about being strict with my intake. Working out 4 to 6 hours a day and balancing three sports, I need to work to get in enough calories and make sure I am covering the key macronutrients.”
Most athletes in Mary Beth’s class find it a challenge to keep up with the caloric demands of their bodies. Here’s a sample of a triathlete’s diet during training:
Mary Beth Ellis Training Day Nutrition Plan
Three egg whites and one egg scrambled with a mix of veggies, cheese, and olive oil. I will also drink one espresso shots or coffee with cream and sugar and/or hot tea. Depending on the session that day, I will have fruit or croissant with the breakfast.
Turkey tenderloin, chicken, or prosciutto with a mix of veggies and cheese either on a salad or on bread as a sandwich. I will also drink ice tea, water, and sometimes decaf coffee. Depending on the session training for the day, I will have fruit and usually have a bit of dark chocolate for dessert.
Depending on the day and my earlier fueling, I will have protein either eggs, fish, meat, or poultry usually with a salad or cooked veggies. I will also drink ice tea, water, and sometimes decaf coffee. Depending on the session training for the day, I will have fruit and may have a bit of dark chocolate for dessert.
“The one tip I have for new triathletes is to make sure you fuel after key hard workouts so that you can recover to come back and train hard again later that day or the next.”
This is not the first time Mary Beth has raced in Kona, Hawaii. She knows the climate well and will spend a few weeks on the island, acclimatizing herself to give her that competitive edge. It’s also a good time to see how the heat will affect her digestion and if any tweaks need to be made to her diet.
Mary Beth Ellis Race Day Nutrition Plan
Two egg whites scrambled with one tbsp. olive oil and 2 oz cheese with two croissants. I will also drink three espresso shots or coffee with cream and sugar. 24 oz electrolyte drink.
BIKE : start of race
- Drink: 2x 24oz bottle with 240 calories of electrolyte energy drink with 6x salt stick tablets
- Food: 1 snickers bar, 2 stroop waffles and 8 oz of gummy chews
- At Special Needs (halfway): 2x 24oz bottle with 240 calories of electrolyte energy drink with 6x salt stick
- On Course/Aid Stations: grab water and aid station energy drink as needed
RUN: at the start
- Drink: 16oz 160 calories of energy drink.
- Food: gummy chews, banana.
- At Special Needs (halfway): 16oz bottle of energy drink
- On Course/Aid Stations: water, ice, and some energy drink as needed at aid stations. I also carry salt-stick tabs and use as needed. I will consume on-course Coke after the halfway mark of the run.
“Once I have my Fitmark backpack packed and ready for race morning, I can focus on the race, certain that I am ready and have everything I need for the swim, bike, and run on my back.”
Mary Beth’s big race takes place on October 10, when she’ll take the stage with 2,000 of the world’s most “dedicated and courageous” athletes. Good luck, Mary Beth! We’ll be watching from the mainland!
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team