Lesson 2: Nail the Nutrition
As a registered dietician (and a nutrition counselor and triathlon coach to some 20 age-groupers through her company Fuel Your Passion), Schwabenbauer is more familiar with fuel than the average triathlete. Still, she says, it took a few tough races to really dial in her hydration and nutrition plans for Ironman. “I’ve learned recently that one of my major limitations in racing is that I have an extremely high sweat rate, so it’s important for me to hydrate really, really well,” she says, noting she was further boosted by the ideal conditions in Melbourne, where temperatures hovered in the low 60s for most of the race. “I made sure to pay really careful attention and was able to execute my hydration plan perfectly.”
She also used the off-season to address a nagging issue on the run. “In the past, I’d get this awful pins-and-needles sensation in my feet while I was running. There’d be times when I couldn’t feel them,” she says. “I thought it could be an issue with potassium, so in Melbourne, I just ate bananas like they were going out of style. I was just shouting at the [volunteers], ‘banana, banana!” It worked, and Schwabenbauer’s 3:01:34 marathon was the fastest of the day—and a lifetime best.