Triathlon Nutrition: How to Get It Right
Most people think that triathlon training is all about swimming, cycling, and running. But that’s not all there is to triathlon training. What you eat during your training matters a lot.
In fact, most professional triathletes will tell you that Nutrition is the fourth and most important discipline in triathlon training. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned long course triathlete or trying your first sprint, what you eat, and when you eat it, has a direct impact on your performance.
Why Triathletes May Not Get the Right Nutrition
Just as you require the right training plan to win the race, you also need the right fuel to muscle you through. However, to some triathletes nutritional issues differ due to certain aspects and respects. Some of them include:
- Fear of gaining weight: Every triathlete has a varying demand nutrients as well as the size of their bodies especially when it comes to women. This variation can lead to poor eating habits since at most times the triathlete will be more concerned about their weight, which can compromise performance.
- Lack of education: As an endurance machine, you have to learn the basic functioning of your body as well as how high quality dieting is vital in your overall health. Most triathletes lack this knowledge and that is why having a professional coach is important.
How Triathletes Can Get their Nutrition Right
Getting your triathlon nutrition right is something you should spend a lot of time thinking about. Besides, you do not want all your training efforts to go to waste on the race day because you ran out of energy or ate something that did not sit well in your stomach. Here are expert tips on how you can fuel your training while keeping your nutrition in check.
Eat a quality daily diet
Forget energy drinks, energy bars, burgers, and frozen pizzas, and focus on real quality food. According to Triathlon experts, processed foods and junks contain all forms of ingredients that can cause inflammation to your entire body. This can derail your recovery and hamper your immune system.
While doing away with processed foods is easier said than done, it is advisable that you start small. At the grocery store, focus on buying whole foods such as lean meats, whole grains, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Try to hit all the rainbow colors especially when buying fruits and vegetables. These colors contain hints as to what vitamins and phytochemicals they hold. In addition, the antioxidants and nutrients contained within them assure less oxidative damage and inflammation due to the heavy training.
Racing or training over several hours, for example in Ironman, means that you are bound to miss some regular meals. This means that you will need more fuel within your energy stores to keep you going. As a triathlete, ensure that you are fueling your workouts properly by eating enough or else you will end up with a calorific deficit. Start with a heavy breakfast (should cover a third to half of your daily calorie intake).
Most triathletes will fall into the trap of following a low fat diet because of the fear of adding weight, which could intensely interfere with their training, race performance, recovery, and susceptibility to illnesses. Ensure that healthy fats comprise at least 30 percent of calories in your diet. These healthy fats could come from avocado, mixed plain nuts, fish like salmon, sesame seeds, etc.
When taken at the wrong time, even high-quality food can do your training more damage than good. Experts recommend that a triathlete should have some sort of food between 1-3 hours before training.
For short-term training or high-intensity sessions of less than two hours, the triathlete can train their body to depend on fat stores for energy, which requires that they consume less carbohydrate and consume more of liquid-based diets such as sport-drinks. Timely eating will leave you feeling satisfied, energetic, and light throughout your training.
Do not wait until the race day to start up a hydration strategy. Start during training. Begin by putting back 64-96 ounces of water daily based on your level of activity. Remember proper hydration promotes digestion, nutrient absorption, healthy skin, and optimal brainpower. Always keep a bottle of water with you and keep off from alcohol and caffeinated drinks as they can cause dehydration.
Whether you are training for a sprint triathlon or an Ironman, your nutrition regimen will make or break your triathlon goals. At Tailwind Endurance, we understand what this exercise means to you. Our coaches will help you achieve your triathlon goals and provide you with the resources you require. Feel free to call us today at 212 706 2166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your training.