NUTRITION – the other Discipline in Triathlon
NUTRITION – the other Discipline in Triathlon
Everyone hears Triathlon and they go Swim, Bike, Run – 3 disciplines WOW - but there is actually a 4th discipline and if you don’t nail it the other 3 will suffer and quite possibly can end up causing the dreaded DNF (did-not-finish) on race/event day no matter how much training you did. It is NUTRITION - if you are not eating and hydrating properly you will suffer – during training and definitely on event day .
I will be honest my nutrition plan this time around has been absolute #!@*@ . Let’s face it, you will always drop a bit of weight when training for Iron distance events but I have never dropped 40lbs any other time. Now some of this is due to the running streak but a lot of it is due to just not eating enough or properly.
So with 2 months to go until race day I have to start working on my nutrition and get my plan in place because quite frankly I have not been on top of this at all. That means I need to decide what to use, then use it when I am training so I can test what works for me and what doesn’t. When I say what works and does not that means:
- Do I like the taste? If I don’t like it - I won’t use it - no sense carrying it.
- Does it give me gut rot or make me noxious? Nothing worse than bad stomach or worse throwing up during or after a workout.
- Do they work together? This means will the electrolyte complement the gels, wraps, etc, etc that I am going to eat. I learned this the hard way – for me I cannot use Nuun electrolyte and Guu gels together – causes agonizing stomach craps and gut rot. L
- What am I eating when not training?
- Am I eating enough calories during the event/training session?
- Am I eating enough calories overall?
So what I do know is that when working out on the bike /run I need to be eating every 45 minutes and drinking every 15 – 20 minutes. I have not been doing that and I can feel the difference so I am going to start doing that again.
Part of my struggle is that I am trying to find the right combination of products that I like and can take together. Since I am trying to go more natural I have been trying more of the natural gels. I was using Huma Gels and quite liked them once I got over the texture and they seemed to work with my NUUN electrolytes (no upset tummy) but where I used to buy them is no longer carrying them – ARGGGHHHH. So then I thought Honey Stinger – I will try them and well the blocks and wafers are good the only flavour of gel I like is the Mango Orange all the other flavors taste like Cough syrup – YUCK. I am trying a new electrolyte – sorry forget the name but it is all natural to and hoping it will go well with the Honey Stinger stuff and then I will have that part down and then I just have to start doing it while I train. On the course I will always take banana’s from the aid stations – Potassium – I can’t say enough – completely helps with leg cramps and well Salt tabs – I always carry those as the weather gets warmer.
You may say every 45 minutes to eat!?! I know it sounds like a lot but the trick is to eat and drink before you are hungry or thirsty and to maintain your energy stores consistently for the calories burned. My first 2 Ironmans I ate but I only ate when I thought I felt hungry. My last Ironman I ate every 45 minutes – as best I could since I lost a lot of my nutrition in the first corner of the bike course! But every aid station I rode through I grabbed a banana ate it- by the time I got to the run course I never wanted to see another banana.
On my overall nutrition I know I have not been eating enough. The reality hit me 2 weeks ago . I had done all my tri training and then had thrown in a hot yoga class and suffered all week. My legs felt like lead, I had headaches, and overall just felt tired all week. I kept thinking what the heck and then I realized – I had not replaced any of the electrolytes/salts I had sweated out from the yoga class. I realized my potassium, iodine, etc etc were totally messed up.
So I have started eating banana’s again daily. I have been taking multi vitamins and I have been making sure I have a small snack – such as nuts or an apple between meals and getting my calories back up as I am burning 2000- 2500 calories a day and I am pretty sure I was not eating anything close to that. Already the heavy legs are gone, energy levels back to normal and no more headaches.
Last weekend on my long workouts I made a point to eat something every 45 minutes and to try and sip electrolytes every 15 – 20 minutes and I felt better at the end of the workouts so I know I am on the right track and I should have a solid nutrition plan in place for event day now.
Really here are some key things to think about when training for endurance /long distance to ensure you are a bad ass and not a dumb ass:
- Eat a quality diet – fruits, veggies, complex carbs and proteins, decrease alcohol and increase water
- Eat enough – start w breakfast – your post workout recovery will improve
- Hydrate properly and often – helps with digestion, nutrient absorption – how much – if your urine is straw coloured good – Dark Yellow – BAD drink more.
Be Relentless and you will be a bad ass on event day.