Triathlon training is a demanding activity that requires adequate energy, hydration, and nutrients to perform at peak levels. Proper fueling before, during, and after training sessions is essential for optimal physical performance, injury prevention, and recovery. Below is a simple 3-Step guide to provide a pathway on how to fuel for triathlon training, covering the fundamental principles and best practices of nutrition for triathletes.
Step 1 - Before Training: The primary goal of fueling before training is to provide the body with sufficient energy to sustain a demanding workout. It is recommended to consume a meal or snack two to three hours before training consisting of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
4hrs before intake 4g per kg of bodyweight
2 hrs before intake 2g per kg of bodyweight
Up to race/ride - 15-30 gm 5 minutes before (gels, blocks, & liquid Shots)
4hrs before intake 1 oz per 4kgof body weight.
2 hrs before intake 3-5 ml/kg Up to race/ride - drink as needed.
Examples of pre-training meals include:
A sandwich made with whole grain bread, turkey, and avocado.
Brown rice with grilled chicken and vegetables
A fruit smoothie with yogurt and nut butter
Step 2 - During Training:
During endurance training, the body uses glycogen stores for energy, and it is essential to replenish these stores to avoid fatigue and muscle damage. Hydration is also critical to maintaining performance levels, especially during long training sessions or in hot environments.
Examples of in-training fueling include:
Sports drinks contain carbohydrates and electrolytes. Maximum absorption is usually at 32 to 40 oz or 1-1.2 liters per hour.
Energy gels and chews - up to 90 grams/hr of carbohydrates
Bananas or other fruit
Step 3 - After Training: Post-training nutrition is crucial for recovery and replenishing depleted glycogen stores. It is recommended to consume a meal or snack within 30 minutes to one hour after training, consisting of carbohydrates and protein.
Carbohydrates - 1-1.2 gm kg/hr after exercise > 3hrs
Fluid - 16-24 oz per lb lost.
Sodium - Consume foods and fluids that contain sodium to facilitate rehydration.
Protein - 15-25 gm high-quality protein.
Examples of post-training meals include:
Grilled chicken with sweet potato and mixed vegetables
A protein shake with fruit and almond milk
Turkey or tuna sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of fruit
In conclusion, proper fueling before, during, and after endurance training is essential for optimal physical performance, injury prevention, and recovery. A balanced diet consisting of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats, along with adequate hydration, should be the foundation of an endurance athlete's nutrition plan. By following these principles, triathletes can fuel their bodies to perform at their best and achieve their endurance training goals.
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