The purpose of this study was to determine the metabolic profile during the 2006 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
One recreational male triathlete completed the race in 10:40:16. Before the race, linear regression models were established from both laboratory and feld measures to estimate energy expenditure and substrate utilization. The subject was provided with an oral dose of 2H218O approximately 64 h before the race to calculate total energy expenditure (TEE) and water turnover with the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique. Body weight, blood sodium and hematocrit, and muscle glycogen (via muscle biopsy) were analyzed pre- and postrace.
The TEE from DLW and indirect calorimetry was similar: 37.3 MJ (8,926 kcal) and 37.8 MJ (9,029 kcal), respectively. Total body water turnover was 16.6 L, and body weight decreased 5.9 kg. Hematocrit increased from 46 to 51% PCV. Muscle glycogen decreased from 152 to 48 mmoL/kg wet weight pre- to postrace.
These data demonstrate the unique physiological demands of the Ironman World Championship and should be considered by athletes and coaches to prepare sufficient nutritional and hydration plans.
John S. Cuddy, Dustin R. Slivka, Walter S. Hailes, Charles L. Dumke, and Brent C. Ruby are with the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.