After eight Ironman races this year, I am in the thick of my preparation for my longest race yet: the Ultraman World Championships on the big island of Hawaii. This is a three-day stage race around the island, which covers the distance of more than two Ironmans: a 6.2-mile swim, 261-mile bike ride, and finishing with a 52.4-mile run. These are my Ultraman training essentials:
K-Swiss Ultra-Natural II Run Shoes: I love, love, love my K-Swiss shoes, and often have a hard time choosing between the K-Ona, the Blade-Light Run, and the Ultra-Natural II. For the Ultraman distance and the training it requires, the Ultra-Natural II is my go-to shoe. These shoes are light but also have enough cushioning to keep me trucking through the mega-miles -- and blister-free, too.
PowerBar Endurance Fruit Punch Sports Drink, Oatmeal-Raisin Energy Bites, and Energy Blasts: I fill my bike bottles and my Camelbak with this sports drink during my training sessions. My coach has been drilling into me the importance of a prescribed amount of carbohydrate intake per hour during my long training sessions; it is a lot more than I have used previously, but we are training my body to deal with more fuel than normal so that I can get through the first two days of Ultraman at a minimal calorie deficit. Adding sports drink to my solid calories during training is the only way I can possibly take in enough fuel; during my rides, I add the yummy PowerBar Oatmeal-Raisin Energy Bites. During my runs, I love to eat PowerBar Energy Blasts, which taste like gummy candy but contain the essential electrolytes and carbohydrates that we need during training.
Vega: With as much training as I have been doing, replacing all of the energy I burn on a daily basis is one of my biggest challenges. As soon as I finish a big workout, I throw a banana and a scoop of Vega protein powder in the blender with ice and water to make a protein shake. This habit helps me replace what I have just burned within the optimal window for refueling, which means within about twenty minutes of the workout’s completion. Additionally, Vega provides me with much-needed protein, which is essential to repairing muscle damage done in training, but is not easy for me to procure through my mostly-vegan diet.