my kitchen run bike swim

the long course fuel you’ve been looking for

November 1, 2016

If you’ve ever trained for anything long course (marathon, ultra, 70.3, Ironman, etc.) you know how exhausting gels, blocks and bars can get–the stickiness, the sweetness, the awful tastingness. I’ve definitely consumed my fair share of maltodextrin. During this past year of Ironman training my coach sent along an amazing recipe to help me properly actualize my race nutrition plan: carb-heavy rice and potato cakes.

I must preface this entry by reiterating this is not my recipe, but rather appropriated from Coach Jorge at E3 Training Solutions. You can see his original post here.

The recipe is simple and only requires a few ingredients.

rice and potato cakes

You will need:

  • 6-7 medium sized peeled potatoes (I found yukon golds work best)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of sushi rice*
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt
  • optional: chicken or veggie stock concentrate (for taste)

*sushi rice, or medium grain rice, is essential as regular white rice will not hold together as well

Prepare rice as normal. You can also precook the rice in a bit of olive oil before adding water. I also salt the rice as these cakes should err on the side of salty. If you decide to add chicken stock for flavor (or veggie stock) Trader Joe’s chicken stock concentrate works perfectly (comes in small convenient packets). I add the concentrate during the rice cooking simmer stage so that the sushi rice really absorbs the flavor.


In a separate pan, boil the peeled and cubed potatoes. I let the potatoes really cook down so there’s no doubt they are ready to be mashed. The mushier the better. Make sure to drain as much water and moisture from the potatoes as possible.

I let the rice and potatoes cool just a little before mixing together so that they form more completely. Think: sticky.

You can combine the rice, potatoes, bit of olive oil, salt and chicken stock in a large mixing bowl and mash together using a fork – or – if you have a stand mixer, as I do, you can let the Kitchenaid do its magic. Consistency is important so I add in equal parts potato and rice and adjust until the mixture is similar to cookie dough. If the cakes are “runny” they will be more difficult to eat. I’ve found adding more rice helps if the mixture seems to soft. If the mixture is too thick you can also add a bit of olive oil, but don’t over do it, and don’t add water. As Jorge mentioned in his original post, salt liberally as these will lose saltiness during refrigeration.

Once I have a nice consistent batter I scoop into a rectangle glass baking pan. The thickness should be between 3/4″ and 1″. Smooth out and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of four hours.


When you are ready to run or ride, cut the rice and potato into even brownie-sized squares (approximately 1.5″ x 2″). Last, wrap them up! While a bit time consuming, I’ve found a dual-layer of wax paper and aluminum foil is the best solution for wrapping the cakes. The cakes will be less likely to stick to wax paper and will mitigate any chance of accidentally ingesting foil on the go.

Each cake has an estimated 20g of carbs. What I like about this fuel is the cakes are actually pretty tasty; also, it’s a nice way to break up the monotony of gels. (Typically I will alternate every 30 minutes between a rice potato cake and gel or blocks.) And they are also easy to digest!

Happy fueling!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ironman redux: redemption at IM Maryland - david the tornado November 11, 2016 at 4:37 am

    […] to say I didn’t make a few minor errors. For example, I decided to freeze my on-course race nutrition a day before I left to keep things cold and fresh on the trip down to Maryland. They say you […]

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