Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cumulative Carbohydrates

Lauren has really been stressing the effect of cumulative carbohydrates to me during our nutritional meetings. For a "normal" athlete running at a cumulative carbohydrate deficit will cause them to feel lethargic or just crappy overall, this will eventually lead to bonking during a workout or not having the energy to perform. For a T1 diabetic a carbohydrate deficit will eventually manifest itself in a low.

For every 2 hours of exercise I'm supposed to have about 500 grams of carbohydrates. Pre-exercise I ingest 60 grams of carbs and during my workouts I have about 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. From Sunday morning until Tuesday night I had exercised for 10 hours; therefore I should have consumed 2500 grams of carbs over those 3 days. Sunday I had around 700 grams of carbohydrates, about 300 less than I nutritionally needed; Monday I had about 500 grams of carbs and Tuesday I added 600 grams of carbohydrates. All together that led to a 500 to 800 gram carbohydrate deficit.

Several factors led to this:

1 - It's really hard to eat that many grams of carbs! Sure I could go to McDonald's and gobble up a few Big Macs but that wouldn't really be the best option.

2 - I should have consumed at least 1 more during exercise drink on my Sunday ride.

3 - On my Tuesday ride since it was an easy spin and I was running a bit high that morning I didn't drink any of my workout mix.

All of this manifested itself in a low that was really hard to fight through last night. For dinner I had a full cup of pasta mixed with ground beef, eggplant and red sauce - should have been at least 70 grams of carbs. Less than an hour after dinner my blood sugar had dropped to 69 so I had a snickers ice cream bar; an hour after that my blood sugar was still in the 50s! Two glasses of orange juice later I was able to stabilize my blood sugars in the low 100s.

Given all this, I had to skip my morning bike ride today. If I had worked out for an hour and 1/2 the rest of my week would have been ruined, I simply wouldn't have been able to "catch up" on my carbohydrate intake. As is, I'm going to have to eat like a hungry hungry hippo today to make sure I balance out my needed carbs. The hardest part of this is finding carbohydrate rich foods that aren't processed and don't come in powder form. For breakfast I had a glass of OJ and egg whites on toast - only 600 more grams of carbs to go!


Adam Mayfield said...

Hi I found this blog via a link from Courtney's page and just wanted to say good luck at lake placid! It is cool that you two are both racing it after volunteering together there last year- good on ya, that is good karma for both of your races I bet.

I am going to be volunteering with Shawn's team in transition on the bike and as a fan of your blog would love to say hello to you both and maybe a high five as you head out. Do you have a direct email so that I can coordinate?

May be volunteering at the pasta dinner as well, although with your being a diabetic will your pre-race intake prohibit you from attending?

Best of luck in your preperation! I am in awe of you Ironpeople, I stick to sprints myself.
ps- are you on beginner triathlete they have a good lake placid meetup thread going as well

Alison said...

Dang that's a lot of carbs! It's great that you know how many you need to eat though to be able to train at full capacity, Ed.

Anne said...

if you are in need of a serious carbohydrate bomb, as I like to call them, look no further than your local Mexican burrito spot. Those things, when loaded with rice and beans, are packed w/carbs. Also, Jamba Juice drinks are pretty potent.

Brett said...

Ed, have you ever heard of training at MAF (maximum aerobic fitness) to train your body to burn fat instead? Its a pretty interesting should ask your coach about it. I wonder how that plays into diabetes.

Here is a link to read more:

Anonymous said...

GOOD LUCK, with the triathalon. The only advice I would say for the carb issue is read the lable and if eating out learn your portions, I been a t1 sence I was 18 months so I take some of these items for granit. Dont fill up on powder items all the time.