Jen Rulon

This blog was written almost two years ago, but I wanted to share my learnings, with you regarding Race Day Nutrition and update a few things. I think SO MANY people concentrate on the swim, bike and run, that there is an #epicfail on race day. People either overeat or don’t eat enough. I, personally, have done both. Once I have figured out the race day nutrition, I had the race of my life. Something I will never forget!

Race day is around the corner. It may be your first Ironman Triathlon or your 6th Ironman Triathlon. You are STOKED. You have done the training. You have put the time and effort in the pool, on the road, and in the running shoes. #BAM, you got this!


Gun goes off.

You ROCK the swim.

You get on the bike. Your nutrition is like a “buffet” line, and you grab what is on the course. The bike is finished.

The run is your thang, or so you thought. The body isn’t feeling good. You want to throw up, but you opt to walk instead.

You crossed that finish line but super disappointed.

What happened? Where did things go wrong?

I have one word for you, and maybe you have already figured it out:


Race Day nutrition is a VERY challenging concept for an Ironman Triathlon, but with some trial and error, planning, along with getting information from the right people, I can guarantee that you will NOT have an issue on the race course.

Let’s talk a little bit of science and then let me give you a real-life example.

There are a couple of different ways on how athletes will consume their calories for long distance triathlon:

Old School Way-  Utilize your carbohydrates storages to get your energy. From many studies, we know that muscle glycogen depletion is a significant cause of fatigue in moderate intensity exercise lasting longer than an hour.

New School Way- Utilize your fat storages to get your energy, another term that you may have heard is “Keto.” If you want to geek out, click here for an interesting link, I found.

Sidenote: Remember, EVERY athlete is different for nutrition, so you have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you. First Endurance is my peeps, and they help me a TON, along with The Core Diet!

Here is my example of old school/new school for my long distance events: 

I was trying to figure out what worked for me and it was getting to the point that the nutrition piece was getting complicated and I was not getting in what I needed to take in. I did everything you can imagine:

Old School Way:  Power Bars, Gels, Hammer Products, CarboPro, Foods such as PB&J and finally Infinite.

New School Way: Generation UCAN

Old School Way: First Endurance and nutrition on the course

In the beginning, food was all about trial and error and if I didn’t have any GI issues. I started reading about what other athletes were doing. Then I would try things EVEN if the original stuff was working. About six weeks before IMFL 2013, I started using Generation UCAN. Not the smartest idea but something needed to change. In 2015 for IMMT, I was using Generation UCAN, but I needed more since I did NOT train my body to utilize my fats properly. At IMMT, I was in the bathroom, 5x’s on the run with taking in Generation UCAN and other nutrition. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to make a change.

I read about First Endurance EFS Pro on Slowtwitch and how Jordon Rapp used it for IMMT in 2015. I researched it, chatted with my coach and a light bulb turned on. I need to go back to the basics of science.

CHO is a primary food source for most athletes.

Once I started using First Endurance EFS Pro, my race day was SOLID. I didn’t have ANY GI issues at IMFL 15, IMFL 16 and IMMT 17, where I qualified for the Ironman World Championship! (IMTX was a different race. Just don’t swallow the water in the lake.)

Once I started figuring out my race day nutrition, the rest was history! So many people will ask me what I consume a couple of days before an event and during an event, BUT everyone is SO different when it comes to race day nutrition!  Let me show you an example of what I consumed before Ironman 70.3 TX in 2017:

Friday Night – March 31st

Pho Soup with minimal vegetables

Saturday Morning – April 1st

Scrambled Eggs


Two pieces of GF Bread

Two pancakes with syrup

Cantaloupe and coffee

Lunch – April 1st

HUGE sandwich with GF bread and chips

Dinner – April 1st

Chicken, Rice, and Gatorade

Morning (4:00 am)

1.75 cups of Applesauce with protein

EnviroKids Rice Bar


Coffee – No Butter 😃

Pre Race (6:50 am)

Huma Gel and  water

Here is my Race Info:

Bike– I knocked out 230 calories of EFS Pro for the first and second hour, along with another bottle that was worth 170 calories. I grabbed some Gatorade Endurance, about 100 calories of that. No water. (Probably needed some gels but not there yet)

Run– First Endurance Vanilla Shot, every 15 minutes until mile 8. Base salt every other mile. Took in Coke from mile 8 to the mile 12 and pushed it into the finish!

I took WAY more in than I ever thought possible with NO GI issues AND eating gluten beforehand, and jumping on that podium at 70.3 IM TX!

So, what is the take away to this? Hire a registered dietician to help you figure out your nutrition, especially if you are getting ready for an Ironman Triathlon or an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon!

Here are two people/groups that I highly recommend:

Krista Neugebauer – Fuel Fearlessly, who is in San Antonio and who I have worked with her business! I have had a Rulon Racer use her as well.


The Core Diet, who is Boston based and I have worked with for my race day nutrition.

Trust me. You don’t want to get to an Ironman Triathlon without knowing how to fuel correctly on race day. I have learned a lot over the years. Please don’t make the mistakes that I have done.

AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I have been coaching triathletes, runners, and cyclists for over 21+ years; I received my Master's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. And as you may have learned, there is more to life than swimming, biking, and running. It is a lifestyle, and I am here to help you cross that finish line with a smile, whether it is an Ironman Triathlon or the Ironman of Life. You can find my knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Southwest Research Institute Human Performance Summit, Training Peaks Workshops, "Self Motivation Strategies for Women" on Amazon, Men's Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach—she's a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.

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