Sharing feed schedules as a resource for others

loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Mem​ber
edited March 2015 in Resources
Similar to @evmo's post on swim calendars, we're looking at various resources that we might be able to host for the benefit of more marathon and aspirant swimmers.

Feed schedules can be a mystery, especially early on. If you are interested in sharing yours and want to do so anonymously, can you [url="mailto:"]email[/url] it to me? (You can get my email from my profile if that link doesn't work). We'll look at putting a collection up in a separate section to the [resources] category for others to see as part of an ongoing resource.

You can specify whether you want to be anonymous or otherwise. Also, please note for which what swim it was used. If it was one of the Channels, we'll all be familiar with the context. However if it's a lesser known swim, could you please include a brief synopsis? (Distance, time, water temperature).

EDIT: Delighted to see this topic finally take off in this format, so I edited the title slightly. thanks to the two people who originally PMed feed schedules, you want to just them up here so?



  • bump; so interested in learning from others on this.
  • RonCollinsRonCollins Clearwater, Florida, USAMember
    If you go with 30 minute feeds, you can easily keep track of the time in your head. Drink on the :30, and drink + solids on the hour.

    Ron Collins
    Clearwater, Florida

  • Thought I'd post it here and @loneswimmer can scrape it to put wherever he is collecting these.
    FYI - I am not one of the stud-muffins here. Just a slow, fat, 58 year old.

    My schedule is pretty simple:
    1) Night before: 2 capsules of ginger. (I am very prone to motion sickness)
    2) 2-2.5 hours before swim, 1 or 2 PowerBar or Clif PROTEIN (not energy) bars - the idea is to keep blood sugar levels stable & protein is good for that. If I eat any "real" food, it's probably oatmeal w/ raisins; no sugar or milk. Oatmeal is about the longest burning of the complex carbs, plus I like it.
    3) 1 hour before swim: 2 Aleve (I can't do this now because of stomach ulcer issues)
    3) 45 min before swim: 3 ginger capsules.
    4) 10-15 min before swim, 150 calories in 12 oz water.
    2) Starting at 30 min into the swim and then every 30 min thereafter, 150 calories in 12 oz of water.

    Current "recipe" for 1 serving of drink: 100 calories pure maltodextrin, 50 calories from a strawberry Clif Shot w/caffeine. (50 cals = 1/2 of a Clif Shot.), 1/2 scoop of Endurolytes (a Hammer Nutrition product). Clif Shots are basically maltodextrin and cane sugar (sucrose) with some electrolytes.

    No solids, although I have been known to beg for a small piece of a Snickers bar.

    I also have a number of Clif Shots on hand in case I feel like I need more calories, something that seems to happen often after 4-5 hours.

    If I am swimming in the ocean, I might have 2 capsules of ginger added at about 3 hours. Fair warning: It burns going down.

    BTW, I am convinced that the standard wisdom of a max of 300 calories/hour is wrong and believe that more can be done. I am currently working on a protocall to test this systematically during my training for next year's swims.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    My feed strategy is pretty simple: koolaid, with a rotation of gatorade every 4-6 hours. I dilute 50 grams of koolaid (or gatorade) powder into 750 ml of water to give a 6.7% solution (carbohydrate solutions are supposed to absorb best at 6-8%.)

    I am for 60 grams of carbohydrate (240 calories) an hour. I usually feed every 30 minutes, but go to more frequent feeds if the volume of liquid (900ml/hr or 30 oz/hr) is making me a bit nauseous.

    When nauseas strikes, I take ginger. (I read a study somewhere that said that people undergoing chemotherapy who took ginger for three days before treatment experienced less nausea after chemotherapy. I keep thinking it would be a good idea to have ginger pre-swim, but haven't tried it yet.)

    After I've vomited, I have my crew open up some Canada Dry Ginger Ale (it's made from real ginger, though I'm not sure how much). They flatten it out a bit by capping the bottle, then gently shaking, then opening the bottle a couple times. They fill a tiny bottle (like the 1.25 oz GoToob bottles), and toss it to me. I have a tiny sip, and tuck it down my suit, and then try to count off strokes (say, 250) before I stop and have another tiny swig. Doing this for about an hour seems to reset my stomach.

    @Leonard_Jansen: In diabetes land, we are taught "The Rule of 15": It takes 15 grams of pure carbohydrate 15 minutes to absorb. (Proteins and fats would slow that down). I'm sure there's individual variation on that, though. I'm comfortable with 60 grams of carbs (240 calories) an hour, and haven't really tried to push it. I know you absorb faster when your blood glucose level is low, and can do some fancy stuff by using fructose (I think?) to enhance absorption, but I think fructose is supposed to cause GI distress when consumed in large quantities.

    This may be good reading:

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    I like to keep my feeds pretty simple as well. I don't use solids or gels at all, ever. (Well, I tried one once, and it was nasty....)

    In a 24 ounce water bottle, I mix 4 scoops of Carbo Pro (400 calories) with about 1/4 a scoop of unflavored whey protein. I add water and a splash of apple juice for flavor. Mix.

    *Note, I used to use only 3 scoops and would get hungry. The addition of the 4th scoop eliminated that entirely. I've also tried Powerade, instead of apple juice, always resulting in stomach issues.

    I take a feed every 30 minutes. A 24 ounce bottle typically lasts me 3-4 feeds. (I try for 3 feeds/bottle, but often it takes 4 to get it all down. And sometimes, I can down a whole bottle in one stop...) I'm not real religous about how much liquid I'm consuming- As long as 24 ounces doesn't take me 5 feeds, I know I'm ok. I listen to my body- if I'm hungry, I drink more. If I'm not, I put down as much as I can handle.

    In some swims, where I've been hot, I will take a feed and then supplement with straight water. I don't use electrolytes.

    I usually pee a little at least every half an hour. If I'm not peeing at least every hour, I increase my water intake.

    And when my shoulders hurt, I add infant liquid Advil to my feeds.

    On my doubles, at the turnaround, I consumed 32 ounces of water with a powdered Gu Recovery mix. And carrots.
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    edited September 2013
    Thank you, Thank you. This is very helpful. Keep posting here. I am still trying to figure out what works for my body. 2013 was a pukey year for me. @Leonard_Jansen I too use the ginger caps pre-swim w/ a little candied ginger. Used to think it helped, but this year, not so much. I might try @JenA 's ginger ale during the swim.
    @ssthomas Yes...That liquid Advil is gold for my shoulders. I use high-test children's formula, not infant.
    I don't want to say what doesn't work for me, but I can tell you that I must have my 5 Hr. Energy shots on anything over a 4 hr. swim. Liquid happiness & a legal PED.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    JBirrrd wrote:
    I say what doesn't work for me, but I can tell you that I must have my 5 Hr. Energy shots on anything over a 4 hr. swim. Liquid happiness & a legal PED.

    I may or may not steal that idea for my next long swim...
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    As with anything, test it out first on a training swim or two....but you knew that. :)
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    edited September 2013
    Note: I'm slow, so this may not be a strategy for record breaking.

    I feed ever 40 mins. The food is always the same: Half apple juice and half water in a 24oz bottle, with three scoops of Vitergo and half a teaspoon of ginger powder in every bottle. I down 1/4 of a bottle every time.

    Once, in Portland, I tried solid foods. Only diluted Gatorade on the half hour, a small scoop of mashed potatoes or mashed fruit on the hour. It worked out well calorie-wise, but chewing and swimming are not compatible for me, and the Vitergo/diluted juice strategy works much better.

    In Tampa, I started adding liquid Advil from Hour Four, which I think was too late in the game. Given that Tampa ended with a myofascial shoulder injury that kept me out of the water for many weeks, from now on I'll take liquid Advil from the very first feeding (I also tweaked my breathing, which I think was to blame for the shoulder injury, but that's for a different thread).
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    heart wrote:
    In Tampa, I started adding liquid Advil from Hour Four, which I think was too late in the game. Given that Tampa ended with a myofascial shoulder injury that kept me out of the water for many weeks, from now on I'll take liquid Advil from the very first feeding (I also tweaked my breathing, which I think was to blame for the shoulder injury, but that's for a different thread).

    Wouldn't the pain killers mask the symptoms? I'm usually hesitant to add pain killers in my feeds.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    JenA wrote:
    I think fructose is supposed to cause GI distress when consumed in large quantities.

    The last time I researched all of this, I came up with the idea that absorption rates have to do with concentration (molality). It all boils down to this: if your GI sees a very low concentration, it will absorb the compounds quickly, otherwise, it will decrease the concentration by adding water. In the case of fructose, you're loading up on small molecules which result in a high molality. Switching to a complex carb like maltodextrin (essentially a long chain of glucose) allows faster absorption and you'll end up with roughly the same energy yield at the end. The GI distress is caused by your body diluting the concentrated mixture with water.

    In conclusion: I stick with maltodextrin and away from simple sugars.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    @heart, et al: how do you all measure how much liquid meds you take? For Swim the Suck last year I put a full 'serving' of Kid's ibuprofen (I think 30ml) in a 12oz bottle of water mixed with crystal lite. I drank thru that at 2 feeds (I think 2:00 and 2:30 feeds).
    But I was worried of preparing a 2nd bottle. How much can one take? With loss from spillage and time going by, lack of solid food in belly, etc.
    I'll tell you tho, I did need that ibuprofen during StS!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    Does anyone have any experience altering their feeds to account for cold water? What are easy ways to add some fat and protein to a water bottle that don't involve steak and a blender? I've heard whale blubber is a great way to heat up fast, but try finding that on Amazon...

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    @malinaka, AK Air flights 101 (SEA to ANC) and 152 (ANC to OME), get off the plane, buy whale blubber, then return. ;)

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • I like feeding every 30 minutes as well. I mix 300 cals of Malto and cytomax (50% each) and add in 70 mg of caffeine to 24 oz. of water. Half the bottle every 30 minutes and a piece of granola bar on the hour. My purple (on request only) "pain" bottle gets 200 mg of ibuprofen as a little extra.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest

    My Fellow Sharko et al,

    I have been using whey protein powder with my Malto and Cyto for a long time and it has worked well and is easier on the stomach....I have heard that flax seed oil is a good fat to add...I have been drinking it in the morning with my steel cut oats before a big swim....I am thinking I will add to the carbo/whey protein drink and report back....I am a big believer in a large bowl of warm steel cut oats about 1 1/2 hours before the swim as it relases heat and energy early on in the swim...

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I feed every 30 minutes. Also when I swim
  • Thanks everyone for their input. Do you ever heat up your liquids? I am trying to get into this sport, obviously have never done a channel swim, but I used Generation Ucan every 30 minutes with 8 oz of water for the SCAR swim (think it ended up being 195 calories/hour took in). Used the raspberry the entire time and suprisingly did not get sick of it, but tomorrow could be a different story.
  • In a recent 6 hour I made up 2x feed, and asked my support to dilute to 1x from a thermos of hot water immediately before drinking. Worked pretty well, but you have to test to make sure it isn't TOO hot before passing to the swimmerl. The warming effect is probably only minimal (300 g fluid in a 100 kg body), and it was 18C in the water, so not cold, but it was nice psychologically.....
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I have simplified my feeds over time. I now feed every 30 minutes. Liquids only. maltodextrin flavored with a little apple juice. 450 calories/hour (it's a lot, but my system can handle it without any distress). 800mg of ibuprofen when the muscle pain starts slowing me down (usually around 5 or 6 hours in).

    I buy the cheapest bulk maltodextrin that will go into solution quickly.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    I use 1 packet of Gu Roctane powder in 21 oz bottles (240 calories per packet), start feeding after the first hour (I like to get into my "groove" before taking a break) and then every 30 minutes thereafter.

    Roctane has a moderate amount of electrolytes in it so in a salt water swim after 5 hours or so I will occasionally do straight water and a regular gu or something else solid like a banana. I really like using Roctane since it makes the mixing really simple (no need to add anything but water) but suspect that for swims over 10 hours I might need to look at something with a lower electrolyte content.

    I tried using kids ibuprofen on a couple of swims but not sure it helps that much. I now tend to use shoulder pain as an incentive to concentrate on proper technique. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    @IronMike, that's a great question. I just go with the dosage on the package. I use infant Advil and add the dosage for adults (I think it was something in the vicinity of 2-3 teaspoons per 4 feeds or so, but am not sure.)

    @timsroot, that's certainly a concern. But Advil is not just a pain masker, but also an anti-inflammatory. And so, it actually works to calm an inflammation if one occurs.

    I remember reading in the USMS magazine something about someone who took in too much NSAID and ended up almost dying from renal failure. The key is probably to stick to the recommended dosage. And, I hope that with the tweak to my breath and head angle, some of the shoulder peril will go away on its own.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    @heart and @timsroot: Advil really is a good anti-infammatory. You can take quite a lot and be ok. I take about 50 mg every 1.5 hours, sometimes 100 mg if I'm in pain. I did the math with my doctor before Tahoe and we realized I could take 100 mg most of the way and still be fine. I think the daily limit is around 1800 mg, if I'm remembering correctly. I prefer a constant, slow drip to stay on top of the pain... seems to work better than waiting for pain and taking a larger dose. (For the record, I didn't take even close to 100 mg every 1.5 hours.)
  • i keep it very simple...

    I weigh 90kg so i need between 80 and 90 grams of carbs per hour to maintain good levels of energy over a decent swim (more than 3 hours).

    I have a sensitive stomach to gels so i have been testing natural foods, in particular potato. My formula...I blend one cooked medium potato with the skin on (45 grams of carbs) into a puree, add a pinch of ginger powder and 160ml of water. This makes a perfect 300ml drink that i can pop down in 10 seconds every 30 minutes. Tip - don't freeze the puree as it coagulates.

    I have been testing this for a while now with zero stomach issues and it seems to work.

    As for drinking...750ml per hour for normal days or 1L on hot and or windy days. If i am in an event where i am eating then the food already has 160ml of water added so the remainder (400ml) is sports drink. Toward the end of the race i also have some flat coke...yep sound terrible but as the body starts using its own fat reserves the caffeine assists this process. Plus the sugar is a nice treat.

    Don't forget a treating yourself every other hour (you deserve it)...
  • Mine is still a work in progress. My longest race is a 10K and my longest training swim is 10 miles (currents and 60 degrees), so it has been developed by those experiences to come up with my first official plan that I'll use for Charleston (12 miles, downstream). A little nervous that something will go wrong with it, but I've never had trouble at any long workouts. Here's what I have so far:

    Grits, peanut butter toast, and a banana 2 hrs before.

    1/2 orange gatorade and 1/2 water every 30 minutes
    Kona Punch gel every 60 minutes
    full gatorade, cold water, and "breathe easy" warm tea available PRN
    Oatmeal cookie or Clif bar PRN
    Albuterol @ 1 hr before race and @ 3 hrs into race (prevention)

    Everyone I swim with likes Maxim but when I tried it last winter, it didn't sit well on my stomach. I've used half gatorade/half water for so many vomit-inducing workouts in college and it always makes me feel good and settles my stomach, so it has crossed over to open water nicely.
    I have severe asthma, so my entire swimming career has been careful planning for my lungs, as well. Gotta include that in my feed plan too.
    I'm also allergic to quite a few foods, including dairy..which is in a lot of prepared bars, etc. It's not that I love Clif bars, but I can eat them and they work.
  • cynswimscynswims Member
    edited October 2013
    Thanks everyone for sharing your feed details!

    My longest swims have been 6h in Lake Tahoe (water temp 65-66 deg F). I start with my regular breakfast and a couple ibuprofen tablets beforehand. During the swim I alternated Heed and Perpetuum every 30min, including a dose of liquid ibuprofen ~5 hrs after my first morning dose on land. The powdered drink mixes were mixed with warm water on the boat (thanks, terrific crew!), 1 scoop powder to about 12 oz water. I had a gel (Gu or Hammer, and I try to avoid those that have significant caffeine) each hour. I am 5'3" ~120-125#.

    I fed from a large bike bottle on a rope with bright pink floats attached to my motor escort. I seem to be blessed with windy days on that lake. Feeding on a bottle on a rope is tricky in a winds that exceeded 20+mph for some of the swim. I was either getting dragged by the boat if I was upwind from it or I was frighteningly close to it if I was downwind.

    Coach's notes say I only got down 2-3 oz on a couple feeds in rough conditions, more typically I got 5-6oz. One says I got 12oz during a long stop but I am skeptical of that. I felt I was a little behind on hydration on the swim I am describing (Though there is a theory that I drank some of the lake too!) I try to balance drinking as much as I can comfortably with keeping feeds short.

    How do people feel after a swim? I wanted salt and was vaguely queasy and sugared-out after each of my 6h freshwater swims so I may try to mix in some broth feeds. I don't care for the idea of taking solid food (though in fresh water it might be okay). I haven't felt queasy while swimming, at least.

    Since I haven't done really long swims most of my training swims are 10K or shorter. I used the same formula for a 10K race (but no warm water at the feed station :) and it seems perfect for that.

    I plan to do a Tahoe length crossing in 2014. Looking forward to getting more practice and learning more here.
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    Coming from an ultra running background, I'm a caffeine addict. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get some caffeine in on long swims?

  • caburkecaburke Charter Member

    Gu with caffeine

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2015

    Caffeine pills. Mash them up, dissolve in your regular liquid feeds. With all due caution, obviously.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Some of the Clif Shot Blox flavors have caffeine, I like the orange ones for that. I also like the margarita flavor for the extra salt, since I tend to cramp. I usually down 3-6 of those before a swim (usually with a banana) and they function as time release calories and caffeine. I've never had a problem digesting them while swimming, but chewing them while swimming disturbs me somehow.


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    I also like Clif Blox, although we have a household problem with my son stealing them...
    Sometimes, I need something other than my liquid feed and that works well.

    I also use Miso soup, which I love for hot feeds. Easy to digest, salty, and warms my cold Raynaud's fingers and toes. I look forward to those feeds every time.

    And I usually feed every 1/2 hour, whether I want it or not. :)

  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Not sure how useful this will be for people as my feed schedule for supported swims is pretty ultra simple.

    I feed once an hour on 300ml of single strength luke warm Maxim very lightly flavoured with summer fruit cordial.

    Longest swim on this feed schedule, so far, was 13 hour fresh water swim in 13-15C (57f).

    For some context I am a big bloke with decent fat reserves and on the slower side of average for speed.

    For unassisted OW swims up to 10-12k and pool training sessions I don't tend to feed at all.

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    Not sure how I missed this the first time out.

    I go every 30 minutes for the first 2 - 2.5 hours and every 20 thereafter.

    I mix my bottles so that once I am at every 20 minutes, I am getting in 1.8 calories per pound of body weight per hour and I drink roughly 6 ounces of this mix per feed. I drink additional water to taste.

    As others have mentioned, I use maltodextrin and have found it very easy way to get in the pretty high amount of calories.

    Tried ginger in the past and while it kept me from losing my cookies, I still had the actual nausea.

    To speak to another issue brought up, I use tylenol rather than advil specifically because of the kidney issues. Tylenol is harder on your liver but is less of a short-term risk than nsaids are and they give roughly equivalent pain relief for me.

    In general when I talk to new long distance swimmers, I tend to find that their feeding plan doesn't use the amount of calories that experienced athletes are successful with.

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest

    I feed every 30 minutes, switching between liquids and solids on each of the feeds. My goals is to take in 300 calories within an hour.

    Liquids are electrolytes of some type. Solids are what ever I can eat. Sometimes I use endurance type bars and other times real food. My favorite snack every was fresh cantaloupe at 7am after an all night swim.

    I have used gel packs but I find they make my tummy upset. One can only eat so much gewwwwww.

  • SolitudeSolitude Member
    edited April 2015

    tortuga said:
    Coming from an ultra running background, I'm a caffeine addict. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get some caffeine in on long swims?

    Buzz Bites. Loaded with caffeine. Small Chewy chocolate.. Love 'em.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited April 2015

    I've done two 13 hour + swims with the same feeding regime but reduced the number of feeds for the second one. Fed after hour one and hour two, then switched to 45 minutes until 5 hours, when I moved to 30 minute feeds. Just used CNP Profuel, (250ml, warm, flavoured with summer fruits) with occasional bits of banana in fresh water swim, (and one cup of tomato soup!) and occasional chopped peaches in syrup for salt water swim. Hardly any solid food. Keeping it simple! Will do the same for Zurich and perhaps stick to 45 minute feeds until after 8 hours. I've discovered from the 9 x 6 hour+ training swims I've done in the past 2 years that I have a sudden energy dip after 3 hours, every time, which is why I move to 45 minutes after 2 hours. I sometimes feed on 10k swims, but mainly just because I like food. I can survive a 10k without.

  • waterworldwaterworld Member
    edited January 2016

    Hi All,
    Over the years I've noticed that it's rare that two swimmers have the same feeding regimen. It has become more scientific than when one Brit crossed Gibraltar on port wine and fruit, and Abo Heif preferred hamburgers and chicken. The trend now is, of course, towards gels and sports drinks.
    There is no "one-size-fits-all" program, but I'd be interested in a cross section of opinions. Please share your feeding routine, including food or drink of choice, frequency and amount, and what adjustments you make for water temperature. The results of the unofficial "poll" will be posted here.

    admin note: this post was originally the start of a new thread, but was merged into a previous thread on the same topic.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Not a lot of experience in this (longest swim so far, 7 miles, but some 5+ mile swims in the mix) but it's about food and that always strikes a responsive chord!

    Tried and didn't stay with: dates ... yes, my nutritionist friends tell me good things, but they take too long to ingest and I'm slow already;

    Tried and likely will use again:

    Perpetuem cafe latte--this one surprised me... I like coffee but wasn't sure how it would go down while I was swimming... it worked fine, pretty much agreed with me;

    Trader Joe's vanilla protein shake--As with Perpetuem, tasted okay, agreed with me, kept me together.

    Glukos Energy gummies--quick to eat, tasted fine, agreed with me (Clif shots were okay too, but I liked the Glukos better)

    I never seem to care for most sports drinks, prefer water--but again, when I do feel the need, the Glukos sports drink probably is the least undesirable. ;) But I don't normally like sports drinks.

  • Swam the Length of Tahoe this summer -= 22 miles, 65 degree water. 11 1/2 hours

    1 scoop Generation UCann (plain) mixed with 12 oz water (usually 3 oz per feeding)
    1 egg (whites only) - every 2 1/2 hours
    Electrolyte solution (Hammer); no sugar - whenever I wanted to supplement

    Fed every 30 minutes on a 3 hour rotation:

    30 minutes - Generation UCann
    30 minutes - Generation UCann
    30 minutes - Generation UCann
    30 minutes - Generation UCann
    30 minutes - Egg Whites / Electrolyte
    30 minutes - Almond butter/Coconut packet / Electrolyte


    No issues.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin


    Any others want to share their feed plans?

    Any newbie questions?


  • Infinit every 30 minutes. I like some coke towards the end if it can be arranged.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited October 2017

    Have now switched to UCan Raspberry and Cranberry, 1 scoop in 250 ml water, on the hour, supplemented by black tea with a teaspoon of fruit sugar on the half hour if I ask for it. No solid food. Takes me too long to eat it and I don't find it beneficial. Will have this cold in water above 19C and would prefer it warm, (150cold/100ml hot water) in temps below this. Tried this on two big swims this summer, up to 16 hours, and it works, so I'm keeping it simple in future. :)

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    4 scoops CarboPro and a dash of whey protein into a 24 ounce bottle. Mixed with either apple juice or NUUN electrolytes. I drink 8 ounces every feed, which is every 30 minutes (i.e. one bottle lasts 1.5 hours, or three feeds). That's roughly 250 calories/hour. I tend to alternate the apple juice with electrolytes for variety. After some time, I desire solids: risotto seems to do the trick. I also like to throw in carrots and cookies for variety if needed. I upgrade to caffeinated NUUN when I get sleepy, and CarboPro Motivator pills when I start to fall asleep while swimming. I still add liquid infant Advil to my feed bottles when I need it. On long swims, it's scheduled. On shorter ones, it's as requested. I never exceed more than 600 mg of Advil every 6 hours.

  • pavlicovpavlicov NYC USASenior Member
    edited October 2017

    My feeding plan usually starts days before the swim.

    Days before the swim: Drink plenty of electrolytes. Like a lot. Make sure I am not thirsty.

    Eat plenty in the evenings so I don't wake up hungry in the morning.

    Reduce simple carbs or any carbs (I don't eat many carbs to start with) in the days coming up.

    Day before swim. Only complex carbs in small amount, very little vegies. Mostly protein. Burger!

    Before sleep night before swim: 2 scoops of UCAN in about 400ml water.
    In the morning: 2 scoops of UCAN in about 400ml water. I slice of bread with avocado and turkey (if there is time before swim).
    45min before the start of the swim: 2 scoops of UCAN in about 400ml water.
    On top of the hour (starts either 30min into the swim or 45min into the swim): 1.5 scoop of any UCAN that is available (but not with protein) in about 250ml water
    On bottom of the hour: as much water I feel like drinking with UCAN Hydrate electrolytes (1 pack for about one bottle - 500ml)

    NO solids. After about 5h of swimming, I will ask once in a while for UCAN with protein on top of the hour instead of without the protein. Probably every 2-3h or so.

    I have swam longest about 9h with this feeding plan.

    Disclaimer: I am an UCAN ambassador and if interested, I have a private 10% coupon for those who would like to try it out. But I don't feed UCAN because I am an ambassador. I am an ambassador because I feed UCAN (and this way I can have coupon for myself).

  • SamSam Member

    So I've read back through this thread and the thread but I'm not 100% on my feeding query.

    It seems that feeding plans are very personal but as a rule of thumb feeding every 20mins - 40 mins seems the average. But what kind of distance should you be doing before considering such a strict feeding plan? Obviously a 10km will possibly only require 1 feed (or even none). I'm going to be swimming 11 miles next in September but I'm still not sure that i'll need to stop my paddler every 30 minutes for a drink etc... It just seems a bit excessive. I was thinking of 3 feeds (being water and a gel) on our around the 5km mark. Does that seem reasonable?

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited July 2018

    @Sam, you're spot on when you say feeding plans are individual. No two responses here are the same..... that's because they're all developed on a trial and error basis. Only you can find out what works for you. I know I'd probably chuck up if I fed every 20 minutes, too much for me. For some, that's perfect. Equally, there are some people who can do very long swims on mostly water. Hydration is really important, before, during and after. The rest you have to find out the best way, by trying different things and different intervals during long training swims.

    You could try one of the above mentioned carb mixes.... I know UCan comes in sachets as well as big tubs, just as an example......and see if it agrees with you. There are loads of suggestions here. You might be a person who prefers solid food. That's something you'll find out in training. Getting it right is just as important and as individual as the actual swim training. Nobody can give you a definitive plan for either. Get in the water and try some of it. If something makes you throw up, maybe it's not for you. Then you try something else....etc. Best of luck.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    @Sam Temperature and exertion level can also factor into how often one needs to feed. I'm generally pretty hungry and thirsty at the end of a 5K, so I wouldn't attempt to go much further without feeding. In a longer swim, I need to start refueling proactively, so I don't get hungry, dehydrated or end up bonking. Coming back from a bonk is difficult and will probably ruin your swim.

    I swam a 4-lap 10K a few years ago, feeding at the end of every lap. There was a guy lurking behind me who passed me while I was feeding and skipped all of the feed stops, getting himself about 75m ahead of me. With 750m to go, it was like he hit a wall. I passed him at 600m and finished several minutes ahead. I asked him why he didn't feed, he said he thought he could make it and wanted to try it without feeding. He discovered that he could go about 9K without feeding. Air temp 90s, water 80, he was probably pretty dehydrated as well, unless he'd been drinking lake water.


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SamSam Member

    @KatieBun - I agree that water is super important. I've been training with water and gels which seems to work for me. So I'm minded to stick with that combination but just needed to work out a feeding schedule. I agree with you that stopping every 20 minutes would see me being violently i'll. Thanks for your help.

    @wendyv34 really helpful again! Perhaps 5km is too long. I think my confusion has come from the 10k swims I've done where I've been comfortable with one feed at around the 7.5km mark. I think i'll have to be more proactive with the upcoming 11 mile swim, as you say, but can't fully determine how proactive i'll need to be. I'll trial a drink and gel every 50 minutes because that looks to be a happy compromise.

  • GlobalSwimmerGlobalSwimmer New York NYMember

    My two cents - no feeding for anything less than 10K or two hours, and feeds on the hour for anything longer - generally just a gatorade and a banana (or peanut butter as a reward after few hours in). Makes life easier for the crew! But as mentioned above, everyone is different - try, rinse and repeat

  • MLambyMLamby Member

    I agree with Global Swimmer that feeding isn't truly necessary for swims shorter than two hours. Maybe some water or Gatorade if you feel like you need it. But a two hour....(or even three) swim isn't really "that long" in the OWS world imho. It would be like thinking you need to schedule feeds for a 10k run. But, CONDITIONS, and what your swim is "in the moment" are key as well. If you are training in a can easily go two hours without needing a feed. But two hours on a choppy lake? Or two hours in the ocean with 95 degree air and 88 degree water temp? Maybe a different scenario. And we are all different. Global Swimmer's mention of peanut butter makes me gag just thinking about it. :) Just remember, that you are sweating and you are burning calories. But YOU will need to figure out what works for you. And your body WILL tell you. MY reward on a long swim is a 24 ounce bottle of ice cold water on the top of my head. Someone else's may be a brownie. Figuring out this part of the puzzle is frustrating, but for ME, simple is best. If your stomach is bad, you will struggle. If you cramp, you are done. Hydration (More is best....we can pee in our shorts if we have to) and carbs are key. Steer clear of anchors in the gut. Have Fun!!! All the best,

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