Maurten meets Gustav Iden | A conversation around fueling

He’s young - but that hasn’t stopped him. At age 25 he has established himself as one of the best in the game. In two years Norway’s Gustav Iden went from talented to the best in the World. He’s the living proof of what happens when you mix a huge load of determination with detail orientation. This is how to get used to hydrogel technology, according to one of triathlon’s brightest stars.

How important is fueling?

Fueling in an Ironman is often viewed as the fourth discipline. I totally agree. After swim, bike and run I guess fueling on a full distance Ironman is the most important thing.

What do people get wrong when it comes to fueling?

I think the most common mistake is under-fueling. So, they kind of have a plan of taking 60 grams an hour. And then they don’t feel thirsty so they don’t drink enough and end up at 30 grams an hour. That’s way, way underneath of what the requirements are. Having a plan is one thing, but actually executing it is the most important part.

"So, I think under-fueling is the worst mistake".

What does your race strategy look like?

I try to do at least 100 grams of carbohydrates every hour. In Daytona, I think I had one hour of almost 140 grams per hour. But I had no problems absorbing it and in the end, I had a lot of energy, so I think I can handle it. I use the caffeine GEL at the start of the bike and in the start of the run because I don’t need the caffeine kick at the end of the race. I need it in the middle of the race. So, I try to use it at the start of the legs – then I’ll make good use of the caffeine. And with the normal gel, I try to use it throughout the whole race to get the carbohydrates going.

What’s your best tip when it comes to fueling?

Always try what you’re going to use in training before. Sometimes you think you have control of the nutrition and then you suddenly have stomach cramps or bonk completely. So, always try it in training first.

Fueling in training, is it that important?

To perform on race day you have to have trained really good. And to train really good, you have to fuel. If you don’t have enough fuel during a training session and finish on a low, you’ve wasted a training session. So, for me fueling in training is just as important as the races.

How do you use the Maurten GEL in training?

If I go on a long mountain run I will always have a GEL with me, even though I don’t know how long the run is going to be. For me Maurten is safety. No matter how tired I am, if I just take this Maurten GEL I know I have enough energy to come back home.

What about caffeine in training?

The way I use the GEL 100 CAF 100 is a bit different from the GEL 100. I’m extremely sensitive to caffeine. So, I only use it in the morning sessions. Before a hard swim, I really like to have the caffeine high, so I take the CAF 100 GEL if I need some extra punch.