We're continuing our discussion about triathlon as peak triathlon season continues. Over the past 3 months we've covered the basics of swim, bike, in triathlon. This month we're going to focus on the 4th discipline--but what is that?? Here at Blue Sky we discovered -- after a heated discussion, perhaps with the fists flying-- that maybe people have different ideas about what that 4th discipline is. Is it nutrition? Is is recovery? or is it transition? In the spirit of democracy we'll cover all three over the next three months. However, because I write the newsletter I WIN..achem I mean, we randomly decided to cover nutrition first.....
NUTRITION: Often referred to as the 4th aspect of a triathlon. As your race gets longer and longer, nutrition plays a bigger and bigger role in your quest to become a triathlete, but without proper nutrition in your training and racing for any distance race, you won't be able to get out of bed in the morning or make it across the finish line of a race. Efficient athletes have proper nutrition at the right time.
What should you do? The two most important "WH--" questions when thinking about nutrition are What and When?
What do you need?
1. Hydration (meaning what you should drink, but I love to use buzz words, see below in our product spotlight. I'm fancy like that. Plus it makes me feel smart). Think about Goldilocks when you're planning out your nutrition-- the key is not too much or too little. Depending on your size you need to drink as little as 16-18 ounces or up to 20-25 ounces an hour. For distances that take longer than an hour, make sure you're drinking an electrolyte drink as well (Heed, Tailwind, E-Fuel, not gatorade please, yuck).
2. Calories (meaning food, yes another fancy word from me). When exercising it's important to eat food that your body can easily disget - complex carbs such as gels, sport beans, etc - and stay away from solid food that can sit in your stomach like a gut-bomb. How many calories do you need? Again, it depends, if a race is under 90 minutes you don't need to eat any calories during the race as long as you properly fueled before the race. For races longer than 90 minutes, here again it depends on the length of the race, but in general you will need 150-200 or so calories an hour. This can be in the form of sport gels and your electrolyte drink. Overall don't forget the cardinal rule DON'T TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY!
When do you need to worry about nutrition?
This falls in to 2 categories- pre-workout/race and post workout/race
1. Pre-Race: The week leading up to your big race, don't change your eating. Eat as you normally would eat, but taking extra care to make sure that you are hydrated going in to the race. If you are racing an Ironman or Ultra marathon you can reduce the amount of fiber a few days before the race, but otherwise don't change-- we like you just the way you are--. The night before the race eat a NORMAL sized meal-- pasta, chicken with rice or potato, pizza- whatever it is, make sure it's NORMAL size, not biggie size. We've been tricked into thinking we need to 'carbo load' the night before the race and that's not the case. Sorry to burst your bubble. Morning of the race top off your nutrition eating 2 -3 hours before the race if you have time, or something light (that you've practiced during training)--training is the time to test out foods
2. Post-Workout/Race: THIS is when your body 'carb loads'-- your body is recovering from the intense training and racing. You need to replenish what is lost so your body can rebuild. The sweet spot is within 30-60 minutes post workout/race. At this point you want to eat something that is a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. For example: almond butter/banana sandwich, oatmeal with fruits, greek yogurt with berries, avocado toast or a handy recovery fuel provided by Hammer Nutrition or any number of sports nutrition companies. Remember training causes physical stress and depletion, recovery allows for recovery from that stress.
Whoa that got serious for a second there. Overall don't forget to consider nutrition as an important part of your training and racing. Proper nutrition will help you fly by your competitors with enough energy to smile:)