Gearing up for your very first triathlon? If so, you need to make sure that you understand how to eat to fuel this higher level of activity. How do you know how to eat when training for a triathlon?
Triathlons are very demanding on the body and without the proper nutrients, you’ll find yourself facing high levels of fatigue and possibly even risking injury as you simply won’t be able to keep up with those training demands.
Many people either don’t eat enough in the training period before their triathlon or they aren’t eating the right combination of foods.
Let’s look at what you should know.
Total Food Intake Must Come Up
First, take note that your total food intake must come up when adding this level of training into your protocol. You should be aiming to eat five to seven times per day, consisting of smaller meals that are easily digestible.
This will ensure your food needs get met without you feeling heavy and sluggish.
If you make sure to eat a source of protein, carbs, and fats in each meal, you should be hitting a good total daily intake that is in-line with your energy needs.
Carbohydrate Intake Should Be High Around Training
Next, when planning your training sessions, make sure that you keep your carbohydrate intake high around the workout period. This means doubling or even tripling your dose of carbohydrates about one to two hours prior to training.
This will ensure that your muscle glycogen levels are topped off and you have the fuel you need for those long training sessions.
Then once again, immediately after the workout, get in another good dose of carbs. This will help to replenish used stores and help fuel recovery.
Take note that you should still be choosing healthy sources of carbohydrates here. Don’t think that just because you’re eating 100 grams of carbs means that you can feast on whatever you like.
Remember, quality food in means quality performance will be seen.
Don’t Neglect Protein
Protein is another must for the hard training triathlete. Protein often gets neglected in endurance athletes because they focus strictly on carbohydrate intake.
And while carbs are important, protein is as well. Remember that each time you’re out there training, you’ll be breaking down muscle tissue – tissue that then has to be repaired.
Protein is what will do this repair process. Aim to get in a good dose of protein with each meal and snack that you consume.
Be Mindful Of Healthy Fats
Finally, don’t shun healthy fats. You’ll want to keep your intake lower during those times right around training as too much fat will make you feel weighed down, but at other points in the day, bring it up.
You still do need sufficient fat in your diet to keep your hormone levels where they need to be and promote all around good health.
Just stick to healthy sources here once again. Nut butters, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, salmon, and avocados are all great options.
So as you move through your triathlon training, keep these quick points in mind. They’ll help ensure that you have all the energy you need to get through each training session that comes your way.