One of the most frequently asked questions I get about what is the best protocol for carrying your custom formulas for training and on race day. Here are my thoughts after racing on my custom formula for years but also having worked with literally thousands of coaches and athletes.

 

For training I don't think it's a good idea. Everyone stops after a couple of hours to refill their bottles. Just carry some servings of your formulation in a zip lock and mix when you fill up with water. That way you don't have to carry your INFINIT and water. It is much easier to not concentrate, just drink your stuff and ride your bike.

 

For sprint distance racing (less than 3 hours), again I would not recommend concentrating. Just mix your stuff regular strength and drink. A couple of bottles will give you all the calories and electrolyte you will need. In sprint racing, to worst mistake you can make is by trying to do too much. Simple and lighter is better for shorter distance racing.

 

For longer distances (greater than 4-5 hours) how (or if to concentrate) is a matter of personal preference and the kind of racing you do.

 

For road racing and Mountain Bike events I always use my formula in a non-concentrated form. Normally they are looped courses. I just grab new bottles or a new camel back after each loop. Again, simple is best and it is hard to screw this method up.

 

If it is a non-looped MTB race, I fill my camel back and then carry some powder in a zip lock baggie. Once I reach a support station I refill with water and dump in the powder and mix. Still a very easy and light way to race.

 

For Triathletes doing half Iron Distance or less there really is no need to concentrate if you are cycling for less than three hours and assuming you can carry at least 3 bottles on your frame. If it’s a hot day or if you are a heavy sweater, drink a bottle per hour for all of your nutritional needs and then supplement with water off the aid stations to match your hydration target (see SWEAT RATE TEST) You cannot get much easier than that, drink a bottle per hour for all of your calories and electrolyte and supplement with water if you need it.

 

For Iron Distance Triathletes that are worried about weight because of time savings or a hilly course, this is where concentrating is a valid method and concern. Myself, I prefer simple. My brain turns to mush after a couple of hours in the saddle, so the less complications the better. I again carry three bottles for the first half and drink one per hour. I supplement with water if it is hot and to match my sweat rate. Then I grab three pre-mixed bottles at special needs and repeat. Super easy and impossible to make mistakes.

 

However if you do want to concentrate on the bike (and I would guess that 50% of our customers do so), you can make a feed bottle that will save you weight for racing. This assumes that you have access to water to dilute a concentration. If you do not dilute, the osmolality will be too high and can lead to stomach distress.

 

For long course Triathlon most coaches and athletes feel like 3 servings is about the most you want to put in one bottle, which normally is about 800-900 calories depending on your formula. Using this method, you can get all of your nutrition into two bottles. Each bottle would contain 3 hours worth of nutrition. You can also do two servings in each bottle (4 scoops) and carry three bottles. Three bottles then would have six hours worth of nutrition. The choice to do 2 or 3 bottles depends on the configuration of your bike. To reiterate, if you do not dilute your concentrated formula, the osmolality will be too high and can lead to stomach distress.

 

An inside tip that a lot of our professionals use for race day, just order your bike endurance formula, and dial the flavor way back to the left. That was when you concentrate it will not be a strong flavor but still have all your calories and electrolyte.

 

IF you have a special formula for running, we suggest using a Fuel belt or Nathans. Just take the bottles and fill it up right to the very top with powder. Then add water to make a heavy concentrate. It will still mix and be thin enough to use with no problems. Then, when you get to an aid station just squirt a little of the concentrated run mix into a cup of cold water. You can get 1600-2000 calories in 4 bottles.

 

For the run I always have some extra bottles at special needs in case I am blowing through my product. You NEVER want to run out and being redundant is always a good idea for planning your nutrition. INFINIT stays good for a long time and even in the heat. I kept my protein formula in Kona run special needs in 95 degree heat for 14 hours and lived to tell the tail. :)

 

It’s a question of balancing simplicity and weight savings.

 


 

Michael
Chief Powder Maker