Multisport Nutrition Plan:
2 Formulas to Fuel You to the Perfect Race Day
As an INFINIT Formulation Specialist, I hear a handful of common questions everyday. One of the biggest sources of confusion for athletes is how to set up their nutrition strategy for a multisport event like triathlon. Many people assume that a single formula should cover them throughout the entire event. But as I’m about to explain, this simply isn’t the case. The best bike nutrition is NOT the best nutrition for your run, and trying to use the same nutrition for both could potentially create issues for you come race day.
INFINIT is designed to be an all-in-one nutrition solution to eliminate the need for juggling gels, bars, and pills in training and on race day. Using both solids plus liquids in your fueling plan can make consistency with your nutrition strategy difficult to maintain. Simplicity leads to performance, and that's what we try to accomplish with our custom blends. The goal is have the solution entering your stomach be isotonic (meaning they have a similar concentration to that of your bodily fluids) in order to process and digest with the least stress. With an all-in-one liquid nutrition plan, you can ensure what is in your gut is isotonic and you are getting the exact amount of calories and electrolytes that you require to keep going strong.
For triathlon training, we recommend that you use two different blends: A blend specifically for the bike portion of training and racing that includes protein, and a blend for the running portion of training and racing that does not include any protein.
Many people come to INFINIT for nutrition for the bike. When you’re putting in long hours in the saddle, you have got to have something that’s going to keep you fueled, hydrated, and feeling great. The way we accomplish this is through a simple blend of complex carbohydrates, natural cane sugar, a blend of electrolytes including sea salt, potassium. magnesium, and calcium, protein and branched chain amino acids.
When using an all liquid nutrition approach, many athletes have the tendency to feel hungry. The solution to that is protein. Protein has a high satiety value, and it helps to keep you feeling good and satisfied even during the longest rides. You don’t need much to have a big effect. I usually recommend adding a 2-4 grams of protein in a bike blend to help with hunger and help to keep your blood sugar steady.
If you use a formula on a bike ride that is 3+ hours that has zero protein, you will likely find yourself becoming hungry and wanting or needing to take in more nutrition to quiet your growling stomach. Don’t forget the “isotonic” aspect. When you add additional nutrition sources on top of your INFINIT Nutrition formulas, you run the risk of throwing off that perfect concentration. If you have too much stuff in your stomach, you risk overloading it. Highly concentrated stomach contents can actually cause fluid to be pulled from your bloodstream into your stomach to aid in dilution and digestion. This can cause massive fluid shifts in the body, lead to electrolyte imbalances, and can even cause cramping. It can also cause you to feel bloated and overly full which can lead to GI distress.
Despite the hunger alleviating abilities of protein, we do not recommend putting it in your run blend. Protein, by its nature, tends to foam when agitated. When you are out running and your stomach contents are sloshing around, it can cause foaming in the stomach which can lead you to feel bloated and gassy.
A well-designed run blend will also have a bit less calories than your bike formula, because running tends to make digestion more difficult for many athletes. By lowering the calories and using a higher ratio of simple glucose carbs, we ensure that you’re digesting efficiently, minimizing any feelings of fullness or bloating during the run. The goal is to have a formula for high heart rate conditions without causing gut issues. You can use this formula for any sprint-type racing (sprint or Olympic triathlons), running races, and of course the run leg of a full distance triathlon.
Training and Cross Training
These two types of formulas can be your go-to fuel for almost any type of training, cross training, or racing. How do you know which formula to use for your particular training activity? Well you could always ask us! But here’s a quick guide to help understand how to best use the two-blend approach outside of race day:
The run blend will meet all your needs for any effort (running, biking, other cardiovascular training) around 3 hours or less, as well as most distance running (except ultra marathons) and swimming. Swimming is similar to running in the fact that the protein can cause GI issues. The exception to this is open water swimming and ultra endurance distances in which hunger satiation play a larger role.
The bike formula is for your bike and endurance activities that last over 3 hours. When doing a short brick workout (i.e. bike for 2 hours, run for 1 hour) use your running blend the entire time. For a long brick workout (i.e. Bike for 4 hours, run for 1 hour) use your bike blend in the bike portion and then use the run blend for the running portion. You can also use the run blend for swimming workouts, and during the hour leading up to the start of a race as a sort of “pre-load”. That way you can have the calories, electrolytes, and caffeine (if desired) to power you through the swim and get you started on your fueling.
The two-blend approach to multisport nutrition planning can seem complicated or intimidating at first, but after trying it once most of our athletes realize just how much simpler this strategy can make their training and race day nutrition. If you have questions or need help with setting up your two blends, schedule a consultation with an INFINIT Formulation Specialist like me!
Nutrition should not be a source of anxiety going into race day. You have enough on your mind without having to keep track of how many gels or salt pills you’ve taken in the past hour. One bottle of your INFINIT Bike or Run mix per hour is all you need to keep yourself fueled and hydrated so you can focus on what really matters: Crossing that finish line.