My nutrition and hydration strategy has significantly evolved since I first started racing Ironman distance over 8 years ago.
All of this changed when I discovered Osmo Hydration back in July of 2012. Dr. Stacy Sims, the founder and brains behind Osmo, introduced a concept of “food in the pocket and hydration in the bottle”. While the Osmo hydration does contain calories, it is a small amount designed to help with the fluid absorption once it enters the stomach. Check out the attached video. This small amount of calories is not meant to be a calorie source. That’s where the “food in the pocket” comes into play. Dr. Stacy Sims encourages the use of real food for your calorie source, especially when on the bike. In particular, relying on real food rather than engineered nutrition provides the best results and gives your stomach the best chance of keeping your gut in check.
Here’s a quick look at how I use the Osmo “food in the pocket and hydration in the bottle” principles while racing Ironman and half ironman tritathlons. Below is my Ironman strategy.
I always carry two bottles when I race. I have a 26 ounce Speedfill aero bottle mounted on my bars which contains the recommended concentration of Osmo Hydration or Skratch Labs (almost the same exact formula as Osmo). I also carry a concentrated solution of Osmo/Skratch which includes 4 -5 servings for a full IM. These servings are calculated based on a 26 ounce bottle. My concentrated solution in my down tube bottle is marked to show 5 equal servings. During the race I simply add my pre-measured concentrate from my extra bottle into the Speedfill bottle and I refill the remainder with water at an aid station. Depending on the whether, I aim for 23 – 30 ounces of fluid per hour. I stick to the fluid recommendations found on Osmo’s website. I also use the Osmo Pre Load for warmer weather racing.
For my solid calories, I use a homemade bar. Ingredients include oatmeal, small amount of white flour, protein powder, brown rice syrup, a few chocolate chips, some brown sugar. I also add a some amino acids and sodium citrate.
I would highly recommend the Osmo products or Skratch Labs. Formulas are similar.