Interview | Kimberley Morrison
Ironman athlete Kimberley Morrison didn't have the easiest start in life, undergoing complex heart surgery at the age of three - but after coming through that, Kim was determined & ambitious, and threw herself into sport. Though a successful triathlete from an early school age, Kim fancied herself a hockey player and enjoyed spells at Loughborough, Chiswick & Teddington.
The call of the triathlon was too great though; Kim switched back to the sport after teaming up with coach Perry Agass and she has never looked back. After picking up medals on the international stage, in 2016 Kim took choose to take on some Ironman races, where that medal winning success has continued. We spent some time chatting to Kim to find out how she fuels herself as an Ironman athlete...
So pre-race, an number of athletes from different sports have spoken about how important it is to eat the right food(s) the night before competing. What kinds of meals or food are you having the night before a race? "The knowledge that a pre race meal works well for you is key... helps with confidence, certainty and a cool mind; for me it’s white rice, grilled fish (preferably a white fish) some potatoes and a sprinkle of salt.. accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir (no not a sponsor of mine, I just enjoy it!)"
Are you having anything on the morning of the race? Can you eat up until you get to the start line? "A 3am alarm isn’t something I set.. I can eat 90mins before a race without adverse tummy issues. I keep the food simple and pack it full of energy.. for my recent 100mile TT where I rode a 3hour 44minute split (2nd fastest British girl on record) my breakfast plate;
White NYC Bagel
Nut Butter & Jam
Banana & Coffee
+ ma bar (oat bar packed with 55g carbs)"
What are you having post-race? Can you have whatever you like? "Post race I consume my Torq recovery shake as soon as possible with a banana and my Torq hypotonic drink. I do indulge a little post race to keep me happy but I always choose high protein options with sufficient carbs to ensure strong recovery. I tend to avoid fats at this time as I have seen them inhibit my recovery in the past".
Does your diet change much between off & on season? "Just like Georgia Davies, the swimmer you interviewed, I eat a good quality diet with plenty of variety and this doesn’t change in the off season. My calorie consumption is less as I’m not fuelling the training and the indulgence is a little more frequent; favourites of mine include Fizz, G&Ts, cheese and desserts"
Do you eat much when you're in the gym, or out training? Do you keep a protein shake or bar within easy reach? "Historically I wouldn’t think about fuelling training in the level of detail I do now thanks to nutritional support from Alan Murchison and Emma Patel. I think about the intensity/ duration and fuel accordingly. For example a 4 hour ride with some intensity work I would fuel with 65g carbs per hour in the form of Torq nutrition, dates, bananas and a snickers (my absolutely favourite!).
High protein snacks are always on hand post sessions and I always go for a pear/ apple/ peach (I am very seasonal) post sessions to top up my ‘10 a day’"
The topic of hydration is something that comes up a lot when we speak to athletes, is hydration an important performance & nutrition element to your training and competing? "I struggle to perform optimally in a dehydrated state so hydration is crucial. I am not able to stomach lots of liquids so for me it’s 600ml fluid per hour of training and have an additional 3Ls per day in the form of water, coconut water, cranberry juice, Torq hypertonic and Three Tulsi tea."
Max Lahiff, a rugby player down at Bath, mentioned that he considers sleep to be the King of recovery; do you find something similar? "Sleep alongside my demanding training programme as propelled me from an age group triathlete to a professional multiple IM70.3 Champion. It is easy to say there isn’t enough hours in the day.. but I prioritise sleep and get up to 10hours over a 24hour period.. this has been work in progress and my husband reminds me daily of the importance ... he thinks I spend too much time cuddling our Alaskan Malamute dog! I also spend a lot of time recovering in our Jacuzzi Hot Tub!!"
Coming back to nutrition, what is the most common meal in your household? "Building up to key races I am a little obsessive with what I consume and all the macros/ calories are tracked. I try to get at least 180g protein, keep fat around 60g and carbs fuel the day so this varies. I stick to a 300-500 calorie deficit leading up to key race (two or three time per year) and then fuel sufficiently 2 to 3 days out".
The most common meals in or house; the local butchers filet steak on the BBQ with corn on the cob, celeriac chips and steamed greens.. that’s if my husbands cooking. If I’m cooking I am proud of my venison spaghetti Bolognese"
And your cheat meal? "Our cheat recipe is a Thai Takeaway .. stunning flavours."
As an athlete, is there anything you particularly avoid - either because you're allergic, or you're not a fan of the taste, or its negative as part of your lifestyle/training? "I avoid sauces, processed meats, tins, jars and biscuits."
Final questions away from nutrition: Do you have a favourite place to compete? "Sweden, I love the country, the people and the atmosphere.. it is a magical pace to be surrounding by stunning lakes and breathtaking countryside."
Is there a particular race that stands out in your career so far? "IM70.3 Buenos Aires, this was my first professional Ironman race ever and in 2016 I took the Win"
Do you have any pre-race rituals i.e. putting your left sock on first, or always wearing the hat? "I visualise.. 3 nights out, every night before the race. Thanks again to my husband for reminding me.."