From our observations, there are plenty of nutritionists who provide advice to open water swimmers based on their land-based experiences.
It is vitally important for these well-meaning advisers to fundamentally understand and consider that involuntary salt water intake, seasickness, hypothermia/hyperthermia, or water-logged membranes of the mouth negatively affect how the swimmer feels and how they react during an open water swim.
Although these nutritionists give scientifically correct advice, some of them do not take into account the indescribable and vitally important emotional uplift swimmers receive when they chew on something delicious in the water whether it is a cookie baked by a spouse or parents or a favorite drink. In other words, the psychological effect of a warm drink or a favorite candy may be significantly higher for a swimmer than its caloric value is judged by a nutritionist.
When an open water swimmer discusses nutritional and feeding plans with a qualified nutritionist or their advisers who may be more familiar with land-based endurance sports, it is important to share the non-traditional elements of open water swimming with the nutritionists who are not familiar with the dynamic aquatic world that sometimes includes turbulent salt water.
Swimmers and their advisers were not so scientifically oriented prior to the 1950s, but the best open water swimmers of that era ate “regular” food on their swims, including swimmers who ate everything from chicken to beef jerky on their marathon swims. Their swim times still stand up quite well even to this day – and they did not take any gel packs, formulated energy drinks or scientifically balanced foods. They just ate and drank what they lived on and trained with.
Photo shows Micha Burden stopping for a fueling stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
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