How Many Carbs?

  • By Greg Cox, R.D.
  • Published Jan 23, 2012
  • Updated Jan 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM UTC
Photo: Ryan Bethke

Half- or full-iron-distance races

You need: 80-100 grams per hour (males), 60-90 grams (females), mixed carbs
In Ironman races, where carbohydrate is an important fuel for the working muscles, think about consuming as much as you can (sensibly) or as tolerated without causing GI problems. The bike during an iron-distance race could be considered a “racing smorgasbord”—tolerance, opportunity to eat and availability of food and fluids are high compared to the swim and run. Males should aim to consume 80-100 grams of carbohydrate per hour from mixed carbohydrate sources (more than one type of sugar) throughout the ride. For females, 60-90 grams is a reasonable hourly target.

Gregory Cox is a registered dietitian and has a master’s degree in sports nutrition.

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