Whoever originally said “failing to plan is planning to fail” I have no clue, but I’ve heard it throughout my entire life from coaches and many others. But sometimes in life, like my triathlon debut, I’m just going to go out and get it done!
My plan for completing The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon is simple: swim, eat, bike, eat, run, eat… and then eat some more.
I simply want to enjoy the experience of thrashing myself for what will be over 30 hours of probably more lows than highs – except for when I summit Mt Snowdon in complete darkness – that is clearly going to be a highlight! With the 7.7km swim being the only discipline I won’t have previously completed, I feel fine with the distance. I can hear you all saying: “It’s totally different when all three demanding sports are combined!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, as long as I continue to eat, kick my own butt and have my support crew yell at me during low points, all will be fine…
The real challenge will be the unpredictable weather at the end of September in Snowdonia. If I’m lucky it may at least be dry! More than likely, I’ll get soaked by freezing cold rain that would harden even the warmest nipples, and then have to hold onto my handlebars like I’m trying to crush rocks because of the howling winds. How much fun does this race sound?!
In all seriousness though, I want to get out of what will probably be a 15-16˚c lake as unscathed as possible after the swim. On the bike, the plan is simply to push when I feel good and keep the legs spinning (either forwards or backwards) when I feel like I’m towing a caravan!
Then the run – I can’t wait to get off the bike absolutely shattered, with legs feeling about as strong as an overcooked piece of spaghetti due to my ‘over-biking’ the 360km route! The descent will be in complete darkness at around 2am and the rest of the run will be all mental, continuing to push myself after a sleepless night. This will keep the little man upstairs busy, making sure I maintain a positive state!
Something that always puts me in a good mood is food. I’m going to make copious amounts of my own recipes, probably enough to feed a small army. They all will be wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and consisting of nothing but real food. They will have no preservatives, minimal amounts of natural sugar from honey, coconut products, and molasses, or fruit, but with no maltodextrin (the devil’s blood in my opinion.)
I wouldn’t say I have a specific plan to fuelling, but to simply listen to my body’s needs. From my experience, once I’ve been going for longer than 10 hours or so eating just happens. Fuelling then turns to consuming as much as you can to feel content when the body allows. Trying to eat anything when feeling flat can be tough, so I always remember to have one of my favourite baked goods stashed away somewhere. If I can’t manage to stomach a piece of my Banana Chia Bars (recipe below), I know I’m in trouble!
I’ll probably start eating a portion of my snacks every hour or so on the bike, after shovelling down some of my famous yellow rice after the swim. I may stop for lunch and have some more rice, or a slice of my homemade mixed-seed loaf with avocado smeared over it, or something similar. I’ll let my taste buds decide.
As the sun disappears behind the hills of Snowdonia I’ll have some warm food: more rice, miso soup or some homemade chia gels made with warm water could be on the menu. Straight off the bike, I don’t want to eat too much, so the final hour while I’m grinding away through the night I’ll be munching on whatever I have left in my jersey, shovelling in any lose crumbs I can find.
Running straight up Mt Snowdon before bombing down the twisting Llanberis path from the summit will be so much fun in the dark, but not if I have a stomach full of food, so I’ll wait until the bottom before chowing down once more. Then on the final 78km of running it will be key to make sure I have an array of foods on offer, as who knows what I may feel like! Recently during a 100-mile ultra-marathon, I prepared roasted beetroots and carrots just in case I had a craving, and I did!
So, as you can see, my nutritional plan consists of having a large variety of sweet, savoury, hot, cold and random foods to help not only keep my body fuelled, but also my taste buds satisfied. Listening to my body will be key; when it says eat, I will obey until it says stop! Bring on my first triathlon I say, and bring on the food!
The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon starts on the 20 September at 7am in Llanberis, Snowdonia. To see how Luke is doing throughout the day follow him on Twitter: @LukeTyburski
2 cups ground almonds
1/4 cup chia seeds – 1/2 cup water (soaked together first, mix after 5 minutes)
1/4 cup sesame/pumpkin/sunflower seeds (3/4 cup total)
1.5 cups arrowroot (sifted)
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (sifted)
juice of 1 lemon
good pinch salt
- Soak chia seeds in water, stir every few minutes
- Pre-heat oven to 180°
- Sift ground almonds, arrowroot, baking powder into large bowl
- Add pinch of salt, sesame/sunflower/pumpkin seeds and mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly
- Add eggs, lemon juice and whisk until it’s a consistent texture, then add soaked chia seeds and keep mixing for another 5 minutes
- Line loaf tin with parchment paper or slightly grease it with olive oil
- Pour in mixture, tap pan down gently on bench so no air bubbles remain within mixture
- Place onto middle tray of oven for 45mins
- Leave to cool (will-power required)
BANANA CHIA BAR
1 large banana (2 medium)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
small pinch of sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 150°
- Mash banana until runny, add cinnamon, salt and chia seeds then mix
- On baking paper (or non-stick tray) spread out mixture evenly with the back of a wet spoon. Leave mixture for 15-30 minutes
- Bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5 minutes
- Leave to cool on cooling tray, chop up into desired size