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Race Fueling

How I Fuel: Half-Iron Training

An age-group triathlete shares his nutrition philosophy for long-course training.

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An age-group triathlete shares his nutrition philosophy for long-course training.

Michael Valdes, 33

Location
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Occupation
Stay-at-home dad to 4-year-old daughter and infant son

Standout results
Dropped 1 hour off his initial half-Ironman time (hit his goal of 5.5 hours)

Backstory
After moving to New York from Nashville, Tenn., Valdes started commuting to work on his bike and realized how poor his fitness was. To get into shape, he picked up running and eventually triathlons. Now in his third season, he races mostly half-iron-distance races and would like to shave another hour off his time (to get to 4.5 hours). He also escaped a life of drug addiction and is passionate about approaching triathlon as a platform to inspire others and help them live a more purposeful life.

“I focus on real, nutrient-dense foods, equally as much as training.”

“For longer weekend training sessions, I will fuel with both whole foods and sports supplements. For a Saturday morning, I’d have coffee and make a peanut butter and honey sandwich on sourdough (I stay stocked on Bread Alone sourdough) that gets packed in my bike jersey. If I am biking under 70 miles, I will take three water bottles—two bottles are filled with a carbohydrate mix and one with just water. I will ride for the first hour with water then start the fuel bottles. My drink mix consists of Cytomax Cyto Carb 2, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator and a BCAA and glutamine. On super hot days I will add Hammer Endurolytes. This is usually enough to get me through the bike and often some sort of following run, of around four to eight miles.”

“I firmly believe in the importance of probiotics: I make my own kombucha, and I also consume a variety of fermented vegetables.”

“For morning workouts under 2 hours, I will not eat anything. I just have coffee beforehand, with a little milk in the coffee. I feel completely strong and not hungry with this intake.”

“I eat a diet that is very high in healthy fats and vegetables. A Vitamix-blended juice of herbs and vegetables is one of my main sources of vegetable intake: spinach, kale, chard, ginger, lemon, cilantro, parsley, dandelion, beets—some of those and sometimes all of those, depending on what I have on hand.”

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