Tips and tricks for properly fuelling yourself before taking on your next triathlon event.
Plan your meals
One of the easiest ways to keep a track of your nutrition and to make sure that you have sufficient levels of energy is to plan your meals in advance. Although meal planning is a bit of a faff, it will ensure that you can get the right amount of energy and carbs in before a workout and the right amount of carbs and protein in for recovery after a workout.
After you’ve decided that a meal plan is a good idea, you’ll need to work out what meals to put into it. Make sure that your meals contain lots of carbs to keep your body fuelled for all the extra training that you’re now doing. A mixture of both simple and complex carbohydrates is always a good place to stay. Simple carbs are found in foods like fruit and milk and sugars, while complex carbs can be found in foods such as pastas, rice, beans and vegetables. You’ll want to try and focus more on your complex carbs as they are slower to break down and so your body will burn through them at a slower rate and therefore they have more of an effect.
On top of this, make sure you’re having a good amount of fruit and veg and other nutrients such as protein to aid in muscular recovery.
Poor digestion? Drink water. Bad skin? Drink water. Feeling fatigued or nauseous? You guessed it, drink water. As basically the solution to just about every problem, its important to keep yourself dosed up on water.
The amount of water that someone should drink per day varies from person to person. It can rely on a persons size, sweat rate, activity levels, and even the weather. The easiest way to see if you’re properly hydrated is to check the colour of your urine. If your pee is consistently straw coloured then you’re on the money. If it’s clear and you find yourself going to the toilet many many times per day, then you might want to slow down on your water intake.
Follow the 10% rule
There’s not harm in having a some cheat foods every now and then. The 10% rule is the idea that 10% of your daily calories can come from treats or deserts, crisps or biscuits. As long as you’re keeping a healthy balanced diet, you can be guilt-free about that evening glass of wine or that bar of chocolate after dinner.
Your pre-race dinner is an important one. If you have too many carbs then you can end up feeling sluggish and lethargic and the last thing you want to do is go swimming while feeling stodgy. So make sure your last supper is a nice balanced meal with an standard balance of proteins and carbs and fats. You will want to avoid foods that are high in fats and fibre. This will keep your gut happy and consequentially, keep your whole body happy when it comes to race day.
Your pre-race breakfast wants to take place 2–3 hours before the race begins, giving yourself ample time to digest and deal with your food. Again, avoid fats and fibre on the morning of the race so you’ve got a happy gut when you’re on the starting line. Most runners will have a bowl of porridge and a banana to get them up and ready for the big race.