Noelwyn Daniel – Healthy Life Activities 2nd January 2018
Cadeirydd | Chairman

My triathlon career started back in June 1989 and I have been fortunate enough to compete every year since. The sport has seen some significant changes over the years in kit, technique and our general approach to the way we train and race. In 2017 my main focus was Ironman Switzerland in July and having just turned 50 I decided it was time to sort out my training and racing diet. This was my 7th Ironman race and at each of my previous Ironman races I had at some point during the race come off the rails. This would normally happen during the last 20 miles on the bike and I would often start the run feeling empty or sick. In 2005 at Ironman UK I began to feel unwell during the latter stages of the bike and within two miles on the run I was violently sick and walked most of the marathon – Overdosed on gels was the consensus of opinion!

I linked up with Vic back in early 2017 as she was studying for her Post Graduate Masters in Sport and Exercise Performance Nutrition and needed a ‘Case Study’.  My diet could be described as limited having been a very fussy eater as a child and I have always viewed food as a means to an end i.e fuel to keep me going. I kept a very detailed diet and training log sheet over a one week period which Vic then analysed. I was pleased to learn that although my diet was limited, it was on the whole a very healthy diet that would need some fine tuning rather than a complete overhaul. The fine tuning was to make sure that my diet would provide me with the required percentages of daily carbohydrates, fat and protein required by an athlete training for an endurance event like an Ironman. Vic worked with me to establish which foods I liked and was able to integrate into my daily diet.

The second element of the analysis was my Race Day/Training Session nutritional intake. This is where I was falling woefully short and a clear structured approach was required rather than the ‘hit or miss’ approach often taken during races. My body fluid loss during bike training rides was calculated and together with my weight and height details, Vic was able to construct a detailed diet for me to follow for every swim/bike and run training session in the lead up to race day.  I knew exactly what and how much to eat and drink every hour and this would be replicated on Race Day. In the months leading up to race day I was therefore also training my gut to consume 90g of carbs per hour – this was not something I had previously done in my preparation for an Ironman and on race day I would then expect my body to consume all these carbs!!

Vic also ensured that my diet 48hrs prior to race day and race day breakfast was not left to chance. This was well thought through and contained all the essential nutrients to ensure my glycogen stores were full and that I didn’t feel bloated in any way. I came off the 112m Ironman bike course in 6hrs 15mins and felt great. My body felt as if it could take on the marathon leg of the Ironman course and at no point did I feel weak on the bike leg. Unfortunately a calf injury picked up two weeks before race day hampered my run efforts but I stuck to the nutritional plan and finished feeling tired but not depleted of energy. For the 1st time ever I was also able to stay after the race, enjoy a few pints ( not part of Vic’s nutritional plan) and watch the final athletes finish!

Despite all my years’ experience of racing triathlon events my diet had lacked focus which often led to poor performance. Being able to work with Vic on my daily diet and put in place a detailed nutritional training/racing plan diet proved invaluable and I would highly recommend this structured approach to any triathlete.

Diolch

Noelwyn Daniel

Healthy Life Activities
Cadeirydd | Chairman