Nutrition for Olympic Distance Triathlon
June 22nd, 2011 by Gavin
I have to admit that whilst travelling and racing over the last 2 weeks I found getting my nutrition right quite difficult.
I eat a big carbohydrate based (pasta, maybe a pizza) meal 2 nights before the race (I normally have this day as a rest or travel day too) and then eat regular light meals in accordance with how much exercise I do on the day before the race (I try avoid meat but keep up my protein intake).
I take on some hydration formulae (eg Lucozade hydroactive or dioralyte) each day from 3 days out. And if it is hot and humid like in Asia Ill take some with my evening meals.
On race morning I’m having some oats and a coffee 3-3.5hrs before. I am sipping on water and about 2hours out I have a (or maybe just half) Lucozade recovery bar which has both protein and carbs.
From then on ill have with me a light mix of water, salts and a small amount of caffeine until race time.
15-20 mins out I have a gel and some water and that’s me.
I have 2 bottles on the bike and an energy gel for an Olympic distance race. As soon as I can Ill start to drink my water and ill take my gel about 15-20km in. I aim to have my first bottle in me by 25k.
From then on in Ill drink from my second bottle which will have a simple sugar solution with some caffeine in there. Simple sugars which will be absorbed quickly . . . there’s not much blood in my stomach at this stage to break anything down and the little caffeine gives me that boost before the the 10km run.
I supplemented with a quality omega fish oil during my trip (especially post race for their anti inflammatory properties) and ZMA before going to sleep. As soon as my race in Amakusa was finished I was back in my hotel taking on some fish oil, water, protein and carbs. The Weihai race began within 30mins of me crossing the line ! I made it back to prize giving having done a jog and grabbing an ice cream bun …. I had earned it !
Travelling presents problems to my routine. I am not a big fan of eating ‘the unknown’ before a race and as I am travelling alone most of the time I have to be wary of not eating just because I am a bit bored ! A coffee and a biscuit to pass some time . . . guilty.
I have starting bringing with me my own porridge oats, energy bars and gels so that my pre race breakfast can always be the same . . but the days before are just as important and it is not easy.
Race morning came and went and I was feeling good. However I was feeling sluggish on the run. Of course the demands of the course and the competition make it very hard . Plus I had raced only 5 days beforehand and had almost of a 4 days of travel. But nutrition plays it’s part.
In Asia I found myself eating mostly out of a ’7 eleven’. Pre packed rice triangles, yoghurt or flavoured milk, simple breads. . . it was nearly impossible to find fresh fruit or veg and I didn’t want to spend too much time wandering around. And in China I tried to stay away from those foods which would have been washed in tap water before being served . . . that left me with limited options. I wanted to avoid anything that I didn’t know 100% what it was and so I found myself snacking more …. biscuits, rice, pizza for dinner. Too much simple carbs and not enough nutrient dense foods.
I was always ‘eating on the go’. My body clock was a bit out of whack. I was hungry at random times. I was moving between hotels, different beds, flights and eating plane food whilst trying to remind my heart and muscles not to switch off completely.
It is not easy but you have to be able to deal with such things when travelling and racing.
All the little things add up.