My Ironman Race Day Diet

After my Ironman Whistler Race Report, I received a lot of comments and questions on my race day diet. Many people were surprised at how few calories I take in on race day. So, I wanted to address some of these questions and comments.

I have always been someone who performs better with less calories in the tank. I have definitely struggled with digestive problems in the past with endurance sports, and it wasn’t pretty. I began to learn what I can and can’t eat before a swim, bike, or run.


Generally, before a workout, I have to have digested all of my food, or have nothing in the tank, like when I wake up. Then I either eat a banana with peanut butter or a bar right now I’m diggin’ either Bobo’s Oat Bars or Harmony Bars. I eat that 5min before my workout and I’m good to go.

During workouts I have learned that I can’t digest a lot otherwise it goes right through me. I also feel best, and can push myself harder when I have less calories in my system than more. So, during workouts, I eat just enough to keep me from feeling hungry. If I start to feel hungry, I know that I’m in for a really tough workout, and I’m definitely going to bonk. But, if I’m full, I’m going to feel slow and lethargic. So, I pretty much eat just to keep myself from feeling hungry.

Harmony Bars

harmony bars




It is different for everyone, and it took a lot of practice to figure out my nutrition game plan.

I remember preparing for my first marathon, and eating nothing. Seriously nothing for my 2hr+ runs. I had no idea about nutrition and I often felt sick after my runs and I wasn’t sure why. Turns out because my stomach was “eating itself” and I would ultimately feel extremely nauseous. Then through trial and error, I learned the balance of how much or little I needed to eat before I went out for a workout, and how much I could eat during a workout. I have tested the limits plenty of times, and let me tell you, eating a lot for me, just ends up being a miserable workout, so I lean towards eating less. This has worked the best for me, and has made all 4 Ironmans for me, very successful.

Also, I highly recommend playing with different sources of your fuel. That was a huge thing for me too. It took me awhile to narrow down what products work for me and which don’t. I try new ones occasionally, but for the most part stick to the core.

Let me know if you have any more specific questions, but I hope this answers some of your questions. 🙂



  • I am similar to you, although I do nothing like an IM, I don’t work well with food. Your bars look so yummy btw! 🙂

  • That’s me too! I rarely have an appetite post race, especially after an ironman. It can take a few days or even a couple weeks to feel normal.

  • This makes complete sense. I get to a point during those longer races where I feel as though I can’t stomach much. For me, I have a hard time taking in calories AFTER a race. It takes me a couple days before I feel normal again.

  • You gotta do what works for you! I’m still trying to figure out what that is. Those harmony bars look delicious!