Ironman Race Cancellations

With shift in weather patterns Ironman race cancellations are become more common-place.

It’s not just triathlons that have fallen victim to inclement weather. I was actually in a hotel in Manhattan about three blocks from the Hudson when Hurricane Sandy arrived.

It was pandemonium. Sandy shut down the entire city. There were no buses, no subway, no air traffic, the Hudson river was closed down, as were all the major bridges.

All the hotels were pretty much full with marathoners from all over the world arriving for the big race. Of course, the race was eventually cancelled for the first time since it’s inception in 1970.


The latest WTC triathlon to be cancelled was the 2017 Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.

In 2016 Ironman North Carolina was shortened due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew. There was no way the entire bike course could be completed.

In 2015 Ironman Maryland was postponed because of Hurricane Joaquin.

In 2014 Ironman Lake Tahoe was cancelled due to forest fires.

ironman race cancellations

Ironman Tahoe 2014 was cancelled due to smoke as triathletes waited in the water at the swim start.

Ironman Utah 2002 had a cancelled swim due to fierce winds. The bike course must’ve been Hell that year.

Ironman New Zealand was cancelled because the area was expecting winds of 140k/h. The Ironman was replaced the following day with a 70.3 race.

Back in 2003 the Ironman Canada course in Penticton was radically changed because of a forest fire. The race was a favorite of triathletes around the world because of it’s iconic single-loop swim and bike and out-and-back marathon course. The swim became two loops and the run three loops.

penticton ironman race cancellation

Fierce forest fires forced change of Ironman Canada 2003 course, but remarkably, the race went on.

The good news was that the race took place at all. There were volunteers on the course that day who lost their homes to the fire. The volunteers for that race were amazing year after year.


What could be worse you might think than having a race cancelled that you have trained for all year?

I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. Sure, there’s the financial investment and that can be tough. You might be on the hook for air travel and hotels etc., but in most cases you will have the option of taking part in another race.

As far as the time sacrificed to training, that’s never a waste. I always thought in the case of the ironman, the journey that leads you to the venue has it’s own set of rewards.

It’s a blessing to be able to train at the levels Ironman athletes train. Your body is running on all cylinders. You get to meet and train with so many amazing people. For many triathletes, fitness becomes a way of life long after they cross that final finish line.

One year I gave everything I had training for Ironman Canada. It was month after month of intense training. On my final ride before leaving for the race my chain flew off and I went crashing to the ground. The doctor said my helmet(that was split all the way through)had most likely saved my life, because I was so far away from a hospital.

At the same time I broke my collar-bone and I was done for that year. I was disappointed for a short time of course, but the next day I began training for the race the following year. I couldn’t swim, but I could run and bike on my wind-trainer.


Don’t kid yourself. Ironman race cancellations are just as tough on the race organizers. They spend months preparing for a race. Most of the work is done by volunteers. There are dozens and dozens of meetings behind the scenes leading up to race day. There are countless hours dedicated to the race.

They want to see the race take place just as much as you do.

Some triathletes have the impression that all the entry fees can be easily refunded, but that’s not necessarily true.

If the race is cancelled at the last minute, most of the money has already been spent on food, medals, t-shirts, porta potty suppliers, and a host of other vendors.

It’s often more feasible to offer triathletes an entry or reduced cost entry in another race or the same race the following year.


These days, whenever you enter a race, you face the possibility that something could go wrong and Mother Nature throws a wrench in your plans.

There is a fairly defined window as far as the Hurricane season goes. If you’re racing in late Summer or Fall in Hurricane country, there will always be a chance that you’ll run into a hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy hit New York on October 29, 2012. That’s virtually the tail end of the season for Hurricanes. Typically, November is when the season comes to an end.

Hurricane Joaquin took place in late September and on into October.

Hurricane Matthew also took place in late September and on into October.

It’s not to say that you should never enter a race that takes place in Hurricane season. Just be sure to go in with your eyes open and are aware of the possibility that your race may be impacted by weather.

Sure, you could pick a race far inland that’s never seen a Hurricane, but there are many forms of inclement weather besides hurricanes that can have an impact the race.

Conditions on race day are part of the package as are the possibility of Ironman race cancellations. Nobody really knows in advance what Mother Nature has in store. It’s really always been part of the mystic of the Ironman.

How hot will it be? How cold will the water be? How strong will the winds be on the bike course? Almost every Ironman thinks about this before race day.

Hundreds of Ironman races have gone on without a hitch. If you happen to be part of one that doesn’t, try and take the high road.

Ironman race cancellations or not, you’re still amazingly fit. In the big scheme of things you’re special for being part of a family of athletes who have the spirit and fortitude to make it to the start line of one of the most challenging endurance races in the world.

That in itself is worth the price of admission.


Your First Ironman Bike

The best choice for your first ironman bike might be far different than you first imagined.

If you are a newly-minted triathletes who’s bitten by the Ironman bug, you might think your first ironman bike is going to cost a barrel of money.

When you check out online websites you’re bombarded with an array of shiny, high-end triathlon bikes all tricked out with the latest accessories.

It’s unfortunate that many people who consider taking up the sport are turned off by the prices they see. They might even decide to give it a pass, because spending thousands of dollars for a bike is just way beyond their means.


Yes, there is a difference.

By their very nature, most triathlon bikes have a lower profile than a road bike, and are configured for optimum aerodynamics and straight ahead speed.

Personally, I found that a road bike wasn’t as stiff and was much more forgiving when it came to taking corners at speed or climbing up hills while standing on the pedals.

your first ironman bike

You can spend thousands on a triathlon bike or you can start out with a less expensive road bike.

Sure, if you’re an experienced cyclist and biking is your strong suit as you kick off your triathlon career, a triathlon bike might be the way to go. This is especially true if money is no object.

Your basic road bike most likely won’t have quick release pedals or profile handle bars. You will also notice that for the most part, they are priced lower than a triathlon bike.


…If you’re new to biking out on the open highway, it would be a much easier task with a bike that’s easier to handle.

…For the most part, it will cost you less for a basic road bike.

…If you’re new to biking out on the highway the best way to learn how a bike handles is to ride it without profile-bars and just go with the standard drop handlebars at first. Once you become more comfortable and confident with your biking, you can always buy profile-bars to put on your road bike.

…You might not be sure if you’re going to make triathlon a career or not. Or maybe you just want to do the Ironman Triathlon just once and call it a career. In that case, why spend a ton of money on your first ironman bike when a less expensive road bike will do just fine.



A New Age Of Ironman Bike Training

There’s little doubt that a new age of Ironman bike training is upon us

The days of being able to find a seldom traveled paved road for Ironman bike training are becoming a thing of the past.

It seems that every season we hear of pros who are suffering catastrophic injuries after having a run in with a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, some of these accidents are career ending, and at times, life ending.

It’s not just the pros who suffer this fate. Age-triathletes and often just groups from bike clubs out for a weekend ride have suffered the same fate.

We live in an impatient world. Motorists are so focused on getting from point A to point B that they have no tolerance for anyone on a bike who impedes their progress. Motorist and cyclist confrontations are taking place all over the world at an ever-increasing rate.


Of course biking at home often defeats the purpose for Sunday riders who want to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

It’s a different story however for those solitary triathletes spending hours in the saddle training for the next triathlon.

Just how do you get in the training required for surviving the 112-mile distance of the Ironman bike if the highways in the area where you live are not very bike friendly?

Is it possible to do most of your bike training for an Ironman in your basement or living room?

Of course it is.


At the end of my Ironman career I competed in the 2003 and 2004 Ironman Couer d’Alene races. For the first race I did pretty much all of my bike training out on a highway outside of the city.

It was also how I had trained for the previous nine Ironman races I finished. I had to drive about 30 minutes each way to find a road less traveled by vehicular traffic.

The next year I wondered what would happen if I did the majority of my bike training on my wind-trainer parked in front of the T.V. set? As an experiment, I decided to give it a try.

I even had a two-movie work out. I would watch a couple of recorded movies and when they were over about four hours later, my ride was done. I didn’t just watch T.V. I also did interval training, and simulated hill climbing by increasing the resistance and standing on the pedals.

indoor bicycle training

One of the early wind-trainers.

In a nutshell, I felt pretty much the same in both races and I don’t think it made a bit of difference training inside as opposed to outside.

Lets face it. Your cardiovascular system doesn’t know the difference if you’re on a wind-trainer or on the road. You’re still working the same muscles either way and your heart has to pump just as hard to keep the blood flowing to those muscles.

Your lungs still get a workout when you do intervals on the carpet highway. Your leg muscles still burn when you stand up on the pedals and push big gears on your wind-trainer.


The cycling purists will say that biking inside is just not the same biking indoors. What about the wind, cornering, and balance?

They’re right.

That’s why during the last month of bike training before the big race I hit the dusty highway to ensure my cornering, hill climbing, balance, and biking in the aero position into the wind were brushed up.

That’s why I did 90% inside and 10% outside. You can break it down any way you’re comfortable with. It could be 80%-20% or 75%-25% inside and out.


There’s no doubting there are numerous advantages to biking at home.

There are no potholes, dogs nipping at your heels, moronic motorists, or diving hawks.

Yes, it does really happen. There was even a race out in these parts called the Mad Hawk race.

You don’t have to worry about sudden rainstorms, gale-force winds, hail, or sunburn. Flat tire? No problem.

If you need a nature break, the bathrooms just down the hall. Need something to eat or drink. It’s not all that far to the kitchen.

a new age of ironman bike training

All set for a spin class

One of the biggest benefits I found was the amount of time I saved. I no longer had to load my bike on a rack and spend an hour driving too and from.

Biking inside is perfect for someone short on training time. You can bike before work, after work, or at any time day or night.

Biking indoors is excellent for transition training. My favorite training scenario was a 60 minute bike followed by a one hour run. You’re off your bike, into your running shoes. and out the door in a flash. It’s ideal training for triathlon transitions for the bike to run.


Wind-trainers have come a long way over the years.

We’ve gone from the basic mag-turbo wind-trainers to trainers that can have you biking your favorite Ironman bike course.

There are bike spin classes in pretty much every major city.

But perhaps the biggest thing to ever appear on the indoor bike training market is the Onepeloton interactive system.

Now, indoor bike training can take on a whole new meaning. You can choose your own program and bike with large groups and world-class instructors. Sure it’s not your road bike you’re sitting on, but indoor training on a Peloton bike would be a perfect compliment to training on your triathlon bike on the open road.

What intrigues me most is the fitness level one could achieve. I don’t know about everyone else out there in the triathlon world, but it was the interval training that produced some of my best results over the years.

In fact it was not the century rides that in the early years of my Ironman career I thought I had to do over and over again in order to become a stronger cyclist.

Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes

Understanding these carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes can improve race results.

It pays to place a well thought-out diet high on your priority list just as it’s important to learn the ins and outs of swimming, biking, or running.


It has been proven many times over that any diet will show more positive results if regular fitness is part of the equation. The same also holds true that you can train like a gladiator and stifle your athletic performance results if you don’t fuel your body properly.

Perhaps most of your adult life you have never given much consideration for what you were eating and have payed the price with excessive weight gain.

You have been puttering around like a “55” Ford and taking on low octane fuel that never burned properly and simply converted to fat. Once you begin to train for triathlon on a regular basis things begin to change dramatically.

Suddenly you are becoming a Ferrari that demands more attention to fueling and it is high octane all the way for best results as far as training, racing, and recovery.


Most people heard of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and know a little about them but are not quite sure how they fit into the equation when it comes to making the most of their training diet.

They most likely have also heard of the mystical wall that appears in the late stages of a marathon on a regular basis but have no idea why it happens.

There are marathoners(and I was one of them early in my running career)who would continually run right into that wall in race after race and have no idea how to prevent it.

I am no doctor or dietitian but over the years I have done enough research and race situation experimenting to be able shed some light on the subject.

If you intend to tackle long distance events like the marathon or the Ironman Triathlon these carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes should give you something to think about.


One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

No matter if it’s running, triathlon, or any other sport that requires physical effort over an extended period of time you will not realize your best results until you grasp the role that carbohydrates and fats play in your endurance.

If you never change what is causing regular endurance melt-downs, you will continually run into the same problem and things will never improve.

Not only does it stop you from performing at your best, it also makes your race experience a lot more difficult and less enjoyable than it has to be.

I used to think that it was normal to have an energy crash late in a marathon around the 18-20 mile mark and came to expect it, but it was years later before I found out it could have been avoided.

Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes

Adopting a diet structured for endurance will make a huge difference to your marathon results.

I simply did not know any better. Usually if I asked somebody about it they would say something like you went out too fast. Great! But how the Hell do I know what too fast is?

It all begins with the food you eat. In basic terms, the carbohydrates you eat are converted into energy. It is a misconception that in order to have more endurance you simply have to load up on more and more carbohydrates before the big race. To a point that is true, but there is a limit to the amount of carbohydrates your body will assimilate and after that it is over-kill and more is not necessarily better.

The carbohydrates we consume are converted to fuel in the form of glycogen and as a rule the average person has enough glycogen to last until about mile 20 of the marathon(hmmm). What a coincidence. At that point you have reached a state of carbohydrate depletion and your body shuts down and you are in for six miles of Hell out on the marathon course.

In a triathlon like a half-ironman and especially a full Ironman it might happen part way through the bike course or for sure out on the run course depending on how quickly you deplete your stores of glycogen.

So yes, in a way this happens when you go out too fast when the gun goes off but there is a way to figure out exactly what too fast is and how to avoid the energy melt-down.


Although the amount of glycogen we have available for energy is quite limited the same is not true of fat.

We have enough fat available for fuel to last hours longer than glycogen. So one of the major keys to improving endurance is to figure out how to burn fat as fuel instead of depleting our glycogen stores and experiencing an energy melt-down before the race is over.

When the gun sounds for the start of a marathon or the start of an Ironman Triathlon swim probably over 50% of the starting field takes off far too fast in the early stages.

What they are doing is tapping directly into their energy(glycogen)stores right from the start and are unknowingly setting themselves up for a date with the dreaded wall later on in the race.

Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes

IM Couer d'Alene swim start

Chances are they will be shuffling along with dozens, or in many cases hundreds of others when they all meet exactly the same fate and run right into the wall at about the same point in the race as their energy is totally expended and their tanks run out of fuel.

Now go back to the same race start and lets look at the athlete who eases into the start of the race and is not getting swept up into the emotion of it all.

Believe me, whether it is a marathon or an Ironman the air is simply super-charged as everyone is anxious to go as they have trained long and hard for this day and have been resting up and their energy and anxiety levels are at their peak.

The athlete who has gone out slow is competing well within himself and is not pushing himself. When the gun sounds if will seem like he is being left so far behind by all those who are flying by him. It takes self-discipline to stay the course but it will be well worth it as the day unfolds.

Because this athlete is competing within his limits, he will be more apt to be burning fat as opposed to glycogen and therein lies the key to avoiding the dreaded invisible wall that has crushed so many dreams along the endurance race highway.

So the first thing to do is to figure out the best fats and carbohydrates to include in your diet for optimum results and just how much of each one should be eating.


Many people have the idea that fat is a bad thing and should be avoided at all costs, but that is a misconception. Fat is just as essential as carbohydrates to complete the combustion sequence that will provide the high octane fuel that will power you.

Fat is an essential ingredient in any quality diet, but Just make sure that it is a high quality choice. By high quality I mean fat derived from super-foods like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Do away with the cheaper less healthy vegetable oils and margarine. Wherever you can use olive oil and coconut oil in their place in your everyday cooking and favorite recipes.

I found that about 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil a day used in meal preparation worked best when I was in dedicated triathlon training. I actually lost weight when I used coconut oil on a regular basis because coconut oil tends to speed up the metabolism.
Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes
Other great options are chicken, turkey and sardines which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Limited amounts of dairy fats are okay as well, especially if they are raw and not pasteurized or homogenized. Organic dairy products are a better dairy choice as they have retained much more of their nutritional value.

Despite all the bad press that eggs have received for decades they have now become recognized as a healthy food. The yolk is a great source of lecithin, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. However they are best when not over-cooked. Poaching or boiling or perhaps raw in a smoothie are the best alternatives in order to retain the most in nutritional value.

I would view wheat germ oil, rice germ oil, and peanut oil as secondary choices. I always had natural peanut butter around and always make sure it does not have icing sugar or anything else added. Always read the label. Under ingredients all it should say is peanuts You will know when you have the right peanut butter when the oil has settled to the top and you have to mix it before you use it.


All carbohydrates are not created equal.

Carbohydrates basically fall into two categories called “simple” and “complex.”

If you just remember these rules of thumb when it comes to telling the difference from a simple carbohydrate and a complex carbohydrate you will pretty much have it figured out.

It it tastes really good and you almost guilty eating it than most likely it is a simple carbohydrate. If it is called “chocolate” anything then it is most likely a simple carbohydrate. It it comes at the end of a meal and has ice cream piled on top it is pretty much a 100% simple carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes  ice cream

For "after" the race

If it is the last thing you see on the shelves beside you as you check out of a super-market, it’s most likely a simple carbohydrate. They are put there for a reason. They are called “impulse sales” as they trigger the sugar mechanism deep inside us and it calls out “just one Oh Henry won’t hurt.

The problem with simple carbohydrates is that they rush the sugar into our systems and create a sugar imbalance, and sometimes a “sugar crash” that can sap energy almost instantly.

I would not be exaggerating if I said that at the peak of my endurance career when I was having by far my best results in marathons and the ironman, that my diet consisted of almost 70% complex carbohydrates. The other 30% of my diet was divided between protein and fat.

However a good average to shoot for is 40% Carbohydrates, 40% protein, and 30% fat.

Yes sir, my meals revolved around oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, potatoes, and pasta. I didn’t really care if I had oatmeal every morning and pasta every night for weeks on end because to me it was simply fuel as I was training at a high intensity.

No matter how much I ate my weight was stable at between 148-152 pounds for years on end.

Because these carbohydrates are “complex” they take longer for the body to assimilate and do not rush into your bloodstream right away in the form of sugar. They actually provide a fuel that is burned in the fire of clean-burning fat.

The very same fats that I mentioned above.

In this day and age you have to practice caution when overloading your body with complex carbohydrates.

Agricultural growing practices have changed drastically in the past 3 or 4 decades. In order to keep up with market demand shortcuts are often take when it comes to growing the food we depend on.
Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes

Most whole wheat these days comes from grain that has been altered in one way or another to speed growth.

I figured that out a long time ago and believe it or not, I actually used to spend 4 hours about once every three weeks making my own whole wheat bread from scratch with organic whole wheat flour.

That also meant I knew “exactly” what was added to my bread. In my case it was olive oil, molasses, honey, and seeds instead of poor fat and sugar choices.

It’s also wise to avoid white rice and white bread as they have most of the nutrients removed long before they ever get to your kitchen.

I love potatoes and just for myself I used to buy 20 pound bags when I was training like a gladiator. I soon discovered that potatoes are almost the purest form of carbohydrate there is and must be balanced with a protein in order to slow their absorption into the blood-stream.

I remember a pro triathlete once saying to me, “if I had my way I would haul about 5 baked potatoes with me in an Ironman.” So obviously he also realized the potential of this particular carbohydrate choice.

I used to do a long workout and then treat myself to about 4 large potatoes cut up and steamed with some onion and spices and often about an hour later had severe energy crashes until I figured out that I had to eat something else with the potatoes in order to slow their absorption rate.

In subsequent meals I topped the potatoes with cottage cheese or included eggs with the meal and the energy crashes stopped.

So it follows then, that if you are on a strict training diet and want to treat yourself to the occasional ice cream cone or Mars Bar, eat a cup of cottage cheese before you do and this will help balance the flow of sugar into your system.


So now we come down to how you put all this together to work for you when you are standing at the start line of the big race.

As I said earlier, it’s easy for someone to say you are going out to fast but nobody ever tells you how to determine what too fast is for you.

So here is a basic look at how you can figure it out and probably the best tool to help you get the most out of burning fat instead of glycogen burning is a heart-rate-monitor.


Training and racing within your fat-burning zone(anaerobic zone) is the key to endurance race success. If you take your age and subtract it from 180, you will have a starting point.

So for examples sake, say you are 40-years-old. You will come up with a figure of 140 once you subtract 40 from 180. Go back ten beats from there to 130. So basically your fat-burning range is 130-140 and that is the heart-beat range where you want to do the majority of your training.

When you go for a run, simply check your heart-rate monitor and be sure you are staying in your fat-burning zone of 130-140.

It is always best to warm up first with a 5-minute brisk walk or easy run that is below 130 beats, so say you warm up at 110-125 beats before settling into your run at your fat-burning pace of 130-140.

During your training it’s important to avoid spikes in your heart-rate whenever possible. It might mean walking up steep hills at first so your heart-rate does not spike up 15 or 20 beats.

It might also mean that you will be running very slow at times and even walking until your heart-rate settles back down, but that is normal. This can take lots of patience, but it is well worth it.

Over the days, weeks and months as you train within that zone you will begin to run faster and further while staying in exactly the same fat-burning range. Congratulations! You are getting fitter.

The beauty of a heart-rate monitor is that it will not let you do more than you are capable of if you follow it to the letter. It you go uphill your heart-rate will rise, and if you go down-hill it will most likely fall as it takes less energy to go downhill and you slow down or speed up according to what your monitor is telling you.

Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes and heart rate monitor

Heart-rate monitor

So basically, what you are accomplishing over time by burning fat for fuel in training is conditioning yourself to perform within your ability. So one day you will find yourself running faster and further and yet you are not working any harder than the early days when progress seemed so slow. You are still in the very same 130-140 heart-range.

So when you find yourself at the start line of a marathon for instance, you fire up your heart-rate monitor and when the gun sounds you do exactly what you did in all those months of training for this day.

Usually you can take the heart-rate up a little on race-day and you will still be aerobic and in the fat-burning zone and in this example 140-150 as opposed to 130-140 would most likely be about perfect.

A lot depends on your age and if you are in your 20’s it would be best to stick to your predetermined aerobic range and not change if upward for the race. If you do possibly just 5 beats, but no more.

If you are doing everything right and letting your heart-rate monitor guide you, you will slow down on the inclines on the course and speed up on the downhills. During this time your heart-rate should be in your per-determined aerobic, fat-burning zone.

In the process you are preserving your valuable glycogen stores for later in the race. So when every one who went blowing by you at the race start is walking or running very slowly at the 20-mile mark you will feel great and have lots left.

As you get into the late stages of the race you can most likely go for it and even race above your aerobic heart-rate because you have plenty left and it’s always a thrill to be passing dozens or even hundreds of others and have tons of fuel left in the tank.

Because you have not expended all your glycogen and have been burning fat for fuel all day, you still have lots of glycogen to use at the end and do not have to worry about hitting the wall any more as the race is almost over.


So there you have it. Those are some important Carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes.

It all begins with creating a proper diet and eating the right combination of fats and carbohydrates.

It also means choosing the very best fats and carbohydrates.

Once you have the diet figured out you take the next step of training and racing within your ability and at all costs avoid expending excess energy, especially early on in a race as there is no recovering lost energy during race day as it is gone forever.

I believe a heart-monitor is the best tool to help you achieve your goal and perform at your absolute best. As the years go by you may get a feel for the perfect pace for your training and racing, but sometimes is a skill not everyone can master.

Using a heart-rate monitor along with taking a few of these tips about carbohydrate facts for endurance athletes will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals.

I talk about setting up this heart-rate training method more extensively in my triathlon books and also discuss the diet components of fats and carbohydrates at more length and share information on how I make the most of coconut oil and olive oil for best results.

I have written five books and they have helped many people realize their triathlon goals and dreams. Once people buy into what I have to share in my books they realize that it is within their grasp to do something spectacular.

I really believe that people are capable of so much and they just don’t realize it and in many cases have given up on themselves. The books I have written are as much about inspiration and motivation as they are about swimming, biking, and running.

If you are just starting out in triathlon than Triathlete In Transition is the perfect book for you.

If you are a marathoner and becoming a triathlete is on your mind than you will get learn so much and be inspired and motivated by Ironstruck…The Ironman Triathlon Journey and Ironstruck? 500 Ironman Triathlon Questions and Answers.

In all three of my triathlon specific books I discuss at length the above topics concerning heart-rate monitor training, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil and the best over-all diet and foods in order for a triathlete to get the most out of their triathlon experience.

For more information on being a more successful triathlete or Ironman be sure to have a look at the books I have written that have helped many triathletes around the world realize their Ironman and triathlon dreams and goals.

You can visit my ironstruck book store and find the perfect book for the new or experienced triathlete doing their very first try a tri triathlon or the Ironman.


Ironman Diet and Coconut Oil

An Ironman diet and coconut oil are a pretty good fit.

A source of high quality fat is every bit as important as complex carbohydrates to endurance athletes.

Over the years I’ve always been on the look-out for a diet or diet supplement that would enhance my training and improve my race times.

It was almost by chance that I happened upon coconut oil and its use as a diet supplement. I was searching the internet one day and came across an article on the subject. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try.

I’ve always believed that I had no business writing about any diet unless I had tried it myself. To my way of thinking that’s the only way to pass on relevant, honest information to readers. As a result I’ve tried a variety of different diets and supplements over the years and coconut oil is one of them.

To be quite honest, I was just blown away by the results I experienced when I incorporated coconut oil into my training diet.

First a bit of science I was able to uncover about coconut oil.
ironman triathlon and coconut oil
Coconut oil is comprised of fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides or MCT’S. In nature, coconut oil has the largest concentration of these MCT’S outside of human breast milk. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, are made up primarily of long chain fatty acids or LCT’S.

For quite some time now scientific literature has claimed that LCT’S tend to produce fat in the body, while MCT’S promote what is called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis increases the body’s metabolism, producing energy.

This has been common knowledge in the animal feed business for years. It you feed animals vegetable oil, they gain weight and produce more fatty meat. If you feed them coconut oil, they will be very lean.

Tests on rats published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concluded that MCT rats gained 15% less weight than rats fed LCT’S. The conclusion:

MCT diets result in decreased body fat related to increased metabolic rate and thermogenesis.

Similar tests were conducted on humans at Vanderbilt University in 1989 with the same basic results.

Regardless of scientific study result, I prefer to try these things on my own and see the results first hand.

Over twenty years of competition and numerous diets, the LEAST I ever weighed was 150-151 pounds. This was my competition weight. If I were to weigh myself on any given race morning, my weight would be in this range, give or take a pound. That all changed when I included coconut oil in my diet.

I weighed myself on the first day of the diet as I always did when I tried something new, and wouldn’t step on a scale again for one month. I live by this rule when trying something different in my diet. My start weight was as usual, 151 lbs.

I added 5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day to my meals. Usually when you buy coconut oil it will be solidified. I just leave mine at room temperature and in few days the whole container is liquefied. I don’t store it in the fridge because it will solidify again. If it’s solid, its easy enough to melt down into liquid form if you’re in a hurry.

I added it to my oatmeal in the morning, to my pasta and pasta sauce, and used it in smoothies. I always use olive oil in my salads and started adding 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to every salad. It’s an amazingly versatile product. You can easily come up with your own cooking uses for it.

When you use it in food its not an unpleasant taste and most of the time you won’t even know its there. Combine it with your food anyway you like, but aim for at least 5 tablespoons a day and stick with it. Like any diet, there’s really not much point even starting unless you’re committed to it.

Well, I did this for exactly one month. Then I stepped back on the scale. WOW! 143 pounds!

I was 7 pounds lower than I had been over the past 20 years! I couldn’t believe it. It should be noted that for the month I used coconut oil, I was in full Ironman training. Any diet you ever try should be done in conjunction with a fitness regimen. So I believe this is an ideal addition to any Ironman’s diet. Or ANY athlete’s diet for that matter.

A few things I noticed:

Along with losing weight, my energy level increased.

Even though I lost around 7 pounds, I seemed to have the same amount of over-all strength. This is crucial to an athlete. What makes some athletes so amazing is their strength to weight ratio. In other words, you can be a 120 pound woman, but be very strong for that weight. Take it a step further and imagine the consequences if you become 110 lbs and don’t lose any strength and have increased energy.

Imagine yourself running a marathon carrying a 10 pound bag of potatoes on your back. Now imagine running the same marathon without the bag of potatoes and more energy.

I truly believe that an Ironman diet and coconut oil are very compatible and can have a profound effect on training and racing results.

Visit my IronStruck Book Store and have a look at the books that can guide you and inspire you as you begin your own triathlon journey. Good luck on becoming an Ironman!

Check out more nutrition articles.
Visit Wikipedia for an in-depth look at coconut oil.