How To Use Triathlon Aid Stations | Nutrition & Other Race Day Tips

How To Use Triathlon Aid Stations | Nutrition & Other Race Day Tips

September 26, 2019 21 By Ewald Bahringer


(funky dance music) – I’m here at the aid station
of Ironman Frankfurt, the European Championships. Now, I thought we could run
through the aid station today, share some tips, tricks, and some methods to going
through the aid station in the best way possible. Also taking a look at
how some of the athletes are coming through there, both age group and pro alike, and hopefully you, maybe
even as a beginner, can take something away from this. (funky dance music) Okay, so we’re actually
here at a run aid station on the run course here at Frankfurt, and that’s really quite
big aid station actually. I mean obviously it’s an Iron Man race, but in quite extreme conditions here, so they’re making sure the
athletes are well looked after. Doesn’t differ too much
for a bike aid station. We have Coca-Cola, we’ve got
some energy gels, energy bars, we have some bananas, cakes,
we’ve got some Red Bull, Coca-Cola, water, isotonic drink, sponges, ice, and salt. You name it, all sorts here. But one thing you really
do need to remember, a good ground rule here,
is that all these people, very kind people, handing
out the stuff to you here, are all volunteers, and they’ve been particularly
nice to us today, trying to keep us cool
whilst we were filming. So do be really thankful to them as you’re going through and taking stuff. But now let’s run through each
of the stations individually, to see how they can help
you through your race. (upbeat dance music) Okay, so I touched a little bit on the different preferences, and you got a very good
example behind me here, so we got bananas and cakes on one stand, and then we’ve got
energy gels, energy bars on the stand directly next to that. One is a very quick release, whilst the other is a bit
of a more slower release. But, energy gels, often
a really popular option, particularly over 70.3,
it’s very quick release, and just easy to take on and absorb. Bananas and cakes, obviously is a little bit harder to eat as you’re going into a race, but tend to be a little bit more popular in the longer distance
races like an Ironman. A lot of people just like the comfort of having something
they’re really used to, and also, just the fact that taking
gels for a whole Iron Man can just seem a little
bit too much sometimes. (funky dance music) So we’ve got a few different
drink stations here as well. As I mentioned before, we got
water, isotonic, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull right here. So what I would suggest where you can, is actually sticking to
water and isotonic drinks for the first stages of the race, or as long as you can do. Coca-Cola and Red Bull is fantastic, as I’m sure you’re all aware, with that sugar in it, and the caffeine, but what happens is, once
you start taking that, now, I must say, I’m not a
nutritionist, or any scientist, but what seems to happen is
that once you start on that, you almost seem to need to maintain it, otherwise you have this slump. Can also sometimes play havoc
with some people’s stomachs, so try not to take too much
of it on, but my goodness, it can really help when you start to get into those low
points during a race. (upbeat dance music) Right, so this is one of
my favorite aid stations, this is the sponge aid station, so these kind people are
handing out these sponges that are just soaked
up with icy-cold water like I’ve got in my hand here. Fantastic for a race like this,
where it’s super, super hot. So what the athletes do, grab
these sponges they give ’em and smash ’em over their head and all that water’s going
to release over them. But what you see a lot
of the athletes doing, as this chap has just here, is actually grabbing a load of ’em and shoving them down their suit, and then that cold water’s
then just going to release over the next few k whilst they run. (bright dance music) So this is the ice station. You don’t get these at
all races, actually, but obviously this is a
particularly hot event, so they’re making sure that
all the athletes are sorted and trying to keep cool. Athletes use these in
loads of different ways, so we’ve seen athletes chucking
the ice cubes into hats, popping the hats on their heads, allowing the ice cubes to melt, chucking them down their suits in a similar way to the sponges, or just simply running off with the ice cubes in their hands, and also just allowing them to melt and hopefully cooling them down over the next few k, whilst they run. (funky dance music) Guys I’m sandwiched right
now between a water station and an isotonic drinks station, and as you can see, I have been victim to
a bit of splash back. And these are the things these volunteers have to put up with. But no, seriously, the water station is, well, everyone knows what water is, but obviously trying
to keep them hydrated. It hasn’t got anything extra in it, so if you do want something
that’s going to keep you hydrated, and also help give you energy, then that’s where the
isotonic station comes in. Sometimes it’s just nice to
have something plan and simple, wash the mouth out, easy to get down, isotonic station can
certainly come in useful if you’re trying to keep
those energy levels high, and also stay hydrated in conditions such as we’ve got today. (funky dance music) Right this is something you
get at all aid stations, but it’s a shower station. Now it is super hot here, athletes will have been dreaming
of this station probably for the last few kilometers of their run, so it’s just an opportunity
for them to stand under it, soak themselves in ice-cold water, and just reduce that
core body temperature. (funky dance music) Okay, and behind us, we have the toilets. Now won’t stay here too long, just in case we see
something we’d rather not, but fairly important part to the course, particularly over the
longer distance events, such as an Iron Man as
we’re here at today. But they will have
toilets dotted throughout the race course, and pretty much can guarantee that there’ll be toilets
at most aid stations. So just good to know, when you’re heading out onto that race. And we’ve also got a drop
zone for your litter here. Now, on the bike, you will have
a drop zone at the beginning and at the end of the aid stations. Now you are not allowed
to drop your litter outside of those drop zones, otherwise you’ll be awarded a penalty, or further, may be disqualified. So, if you are carrying any
empty gels or any rubbish, for that matter, you have to
drop that in those drop zones. Or if you collect anything
through the aid stations and you use that, then you can drop that also
in that drop zone after. On the run course there’s a few more bins dotted throughout the aid stations, so we’ve got a big one
here, with a number of bins. Just be a good citizen, try and get your litter
in there if you can, but you will not be penalized
if you do not get it in there, as you can see, there’s a lot
of litter dotted around here, but just be mindful and try
and get it in there if you can. And one final thing to think
about is actually the pace that you come through the aid stations at. Now I know that sounds funny, but I remember Jan Frodeno saying that when he first started
doing Iron Man racing, he actually walked through
all the aid stations, even from the off, when he felt fresh. Now that’s just a really
good tactic actually, to make sure that you’re
maintaining that energy, getting all the fuel on that you need, you’re staying hydrated, and then you can crack on after that. Now we’ve seen a lot of
people adopting that method, whether they intended
to or not, I’m not sure. But yeah, really interesting to see. Also, don’t forget, these
guys are absolute heroes here, they’ve been fantastic, handing out all this stuff voluntary to the racers and competitors today, and also helping us out. If you liked today’s video, please do hit that thumbs-up button, if you’d like to see more from GTN, don’t forget to click on the globe and subscribe to the channel. And if you’d like to see
our mount and dismount video with the pros from the
championship race in Slovakia, you can see that by clicking here.