Every year, millions of people train for and participate in triathlons.
In order to successfully train for this grueling race, your nutrition needs to be on point.
Not sure if you’re eating the right things to fuel you through your workouts? We’re here to help.
Read on for six great nutrition tips that will help you power through triathlon training.
1. Avoid Overly Processed Food
Processed foods aren’t going to do your body any favors during your triathlon training.
First of all, when you eat lots of processed foods, you’re not providing your body with the nutrients that will actually give you the energy you need to make it through your training sessions.
Many sugary, processed foods also cause the muscles and joints to become inflamed.
When you’re training for something as strenuous as a triathlon, there’s already going to be a lot of inflammation in the body. Adding in processed food on top of that is just going to inhibit your body’s ability to recover.
Remember, too, that things like protein bars and energy gels are also highly processed. While they’re fine in moderation, going overboard on them can seriously hinder your progress.
2. Start Your Day with a Good Breakfast
For triathletes-in-training, it’s ideal to eat small meals frequently throughout the day. This helps you ensure your body has the consistent energy it needs to make it through training sessions and workouts.
Regular meals are also necessary for helping the body recover.
Skipping breakfast is also not recommended. This can lead to sluggishness throughout the day. It also increases your chances of overeating later on.
If you feel like you’re having a hard time getting quality training sessions in, take a step back and think about how much you’re eating. Depriving your body of the nutrients it needs will likely cause your training to suffer.
3. Make Your Pre- and Post-Workout Meals Count
You should be eating consistently throughout the day. But, you also need to time your meals appropriately to maximize your training session.
Most experts suggest eating between one and three hours before a training session.
Pre-workout snacks or meals should be high in carbohydrates for easy energy and digestion.
A good rule of thumb is to consume 1-1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. Some good, high-carb options include oatmeal, rice cakes, a banana, or a bagel.
Include some lean protein in your pre-workout meal, too, to help you stay satiated, especially during longer workouts.
Avoid high-fat foods before a workout, as they take longer to digest and can cause cramps or make you feel sluggish.
What you eat after a workout is just as important. You should focus on consuming more carbohydrates as well as lean protein to promote muscle recovery.
You should also avoid high-fat foods post-workout. Since fat slows digestion, eating it after a workout will hinder your body’s ability to digest the carbs and protein it needs to recover.
4. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for making it through your triathlon training, as it helps lower your body temperature while increasing blood volume.
In addition to plain water, experts also recommend consuming low-sugar sports drinks as well to replenish electrolytes after long workouts.
Be on the watch for signs of dehydration during and after your workouts:
- Dry lips and throat
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty completing workouts
These symptoms should go away with proper hydration. You’ll also know you’ve been getting enough water in if your urine is regularly straw-colored.
5. Don’t Forget Your Vitamins
There are a number of essential vitamins that you should be consuming regularly to improve your body’s ability to recover. Getting enough of these vitamins also boosts your immune system to prevent sickness that can derail your training.
Vitamins you should be taking in include:
- Vitamin C to reduce inflammation and promote faster healing
- Vitamin D and calcium to strengthen muscles, joints, and bones and prevent injury
- Vitamin E to prevent injury and prevent oxidative damage
- Iron to ensure sufficient oxygen is delivered to the muscles
- Magnesium to promote muscle relaxation
- B Vitamins for muscle recovery.
You can get many of your essential vitamins from a good multivitamin. However, you can also increase your consumption of certain foods to help meet your needs naturally.
Citrus foods and bell peppers are high in vitamin C, and lots of foods, including breakfast cereals and orange juice, are fortified with vitamin D. Dark leafy greens like kale contain Vitamin E, iron, and calcium, and you can find magnesium in foods like bananas and avocados.
Whole grains, squash, and Swiss chard are all good sources of B vitamins.
6. Carboload Correctly
Carboloading refers to the process of consuming lots of carbs prior to a big race. The idea is that, by loading up on carbs, you’re giving your body plenty of glycogen to ensure you have enough energy to power through.
It’s a tradition among endurance athletes, and many find it to be highly effective.
In order to reap the benefits of carboloading, though, you need to do it the right way. You can’t just pull a Michael Scott and eat a pound of fettuccine alfredo right before the race!
About three days before your race, start eating between 3.5 and 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 pounds, for example, you’ll want to eat between 525 and 675 grams of carbs.
You’ll also want to consume more simple carbohydrates in the days leading up to the race.
Eating too much fiber can cause digestive issues that will make your experience a less-than-pleasant one.
Things like white rice, white bread, and white potatoes are all good options, as are fruits like bananas, mangos, papayas, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
Looking for More Triathlon Training Tips?
You’re all filled in on proper nutrition for triathlon training. If you still have questions, though, don’t worry.
Be sure to check out our other blog posts today for information on everything supplements to increase endurance or specific drills that will increase your speed.
Have a specific subject you want to learn more about? Feel free to contact us and let us know!