What I Learned About Race Fueling at the Rocky Gap Triathlon

What I Learned About Race Fueling at the Rocky Gap Triathlon
Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland

Rocky Gap State Park, Flintstone, Maryland, USA – The 25th Annual Rocky Gap Triathlon was held June 1, 2013 in Rocky Gap State Park in Western Maryland’s Allegany County.  It was during this race that I received some valuable advice about run training and race fueling from a fellow senior triathlete.   It was also State #15 in the ‘Triathlon Across the USA” adventure.

Rocky Gap State Park is surrounded by rugged mountains with the swim portion of the race being held in 243-acre Lake Habeeb which lies in the shadow of Evitt’s Mountain, named for one of the first European settlers in Allegany County.

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland. Lake Habeeb was the location for the open water swim portion of the Rocky Gap Sprint Triathlon.

It was during this triathlon, or rather after the race, that I received valuable advice about fueling during training and for racing a sprint distance triathlon.

It should be noted that the optimum program for race fueling depends on the weather conditions (temperature), race type and distance.  For example, my personal experience is that fueling for a sprint triathlon in hot humid weather is different than that for a half marathon run in the late Minnesota fall.

During the run portion of the triathlon, I noted being passed by a man with a 70-something number marked using black ink on his right calf.  (For those of you who have participated in several triathlons, chances are that in at least one of those, you will have had your age marked on your right calf.)

During the cool-down after the race, I met the man, Mr. James Chapman, who had earlier passed me.  Being both impressed by his overall ability and curious to know how to improve my own running ability, I struck up a conversation with him about his training program.

Fueling regimen

In addition to providing excellent advice about a running, he also introduced me to his fueling regimen for both training and racing based on products from Hammer Nutrition (www.hammernutrition.com).

The regimen was as follows:

  • One hour before every hard workout or race of more than one hour:

1 – Race Cap Supreme

1 – Mito Cap

3 – Anti-Fatigue Caps

2 – Endurance Amino Acid


  • Early in the bike leg of the triathlon

1 – Anti-Fatigue Caps

1 – Endurance Amino Acid


  • Post workout/race: Recoverite (whey protein + carbohydrates)


Sprint triathlon fuel

Pre-race fueling recommended by Hammer Nutrition is aimed at energy production and fatigue prevention.


What is behind this approach?

To learn about the products and their roles in training and racing, I contacted Hammer Nutrition (support@hammernutrition.com) about the recommendations.

I received a reply from Steve Born, Endurance Fueling Expert, who confirmed that the advice that I had been given was ‘spot on’.  He went on to explain why these items were helpful.  Steve’s comments are as follows:

  • Race Caps Supreme – These contains CoQ10 and idebenone, keys to energy production. It also contains antioxidants. Taking this product before exercise, gives your body a head start on free radical neutralization.
  • Mito Caps – These provide the nutrients necessary for optimal mitochondrial function, which is vital for energy production and overall health. They also help your body use the calories from fatty acids as fuel more efficiently, while also increasing the volume and activity of substances involved in producing energy from food and oxygen. R-alpha lipoic acid (r-ALA) is also a superb antioxidant.
  • Anti-Fatigue Caps – These supply two nutrients, potassium/magnesium aspartate and OKG, that help neutralize the negative effects of excess ammonia, a primary culprit in premature fatigue.
  • Endurance Amino – These contain specific amino acids, headed up by the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help delay fatigue, enhance endurance, minimize muscle tissue breakdown, and provide antioxidant support.

Steve also recommends consuming a mixture of Recoverite in water and a capsule of Chromemate (http://www.hammernutrition.com/products/chromemate.ch.html) after workouts.

According to the Hammer Nutrition website, “Recoverite supplies carbohydrates and protein in an ideal 3:1 ratio for superior glycogen synthesis and muscle tissue rebuilding, the two main components of recovery. For carbohydrates Recoverite contains only maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate with a high glycemic index, to ensure rapid metabolism.”  As for the protein component, the website says “Recoverite contains only whey protein isolate (grass fed, hormone free, and antibiotic free), which is virtually fat—and lactose—free, and yields the highest percentage of protein. For rebuilding lean muscle tissue and immune system support, whey protein isolate has no peer”.  Source: http://www.hammernutrition.com/products/recoverite-reg-.rr.html

Paraphrasing Dr. Bill Misner, Director of Research & Product Development, Emeritus, Hammer Nutrition, “The anabolic response for converting carbohydrates to muscle glycogen will not completely take place in the absence of GTF chromium (Chromemate). If only a minute amount of GTF chromium is available, only a third of the amount of muscle cell refueling will occur. Consuming a sufficient amount of carbohydrates along with Chromemate will result in a 300% increase in the rate of glycogen synthesis compared to no supplementation.”

If you are preparing for a half or full ironman triathlon (or a distance in between), you can read Steve’s recommendations by clicking here.

Feel free to send questions or comments to seniortriathletes@gmail.com.

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