The latest research and advice on nutrition for triathlon racing and training...
1. Start Drinking Early On The Bike
The timing of fluid and fuel intake on the bike leg of an Olympic distance race can affect your run performance. A recent study compared drinking at 8, 16, 24 and 32 km into the bike with drinking at 10, 20, 30 and 40 km. When the subjects started drinking early they ran the 10 km 3% faster than when they started drinking later on the bike.
2. Eat Before Morning Swims
As you sleep through the night your stores of liver-glycogen become depleted. This is your main fuel source for triathlon and when it’s depleted your blood sugar starts to drop and fatigue sets in. This is bad news for swimming, because you won’t be able to concentrate on improving your technique or learning a new skill. To counteract this, eat a small breakfast that’s high in carbohydrate, low in protein and low in fat. Don’t compromise your sleep in order to prepare a fancy breakfast - just choose foods that can be eaten on the go, such as jam sandwiches, flapjacks or sports bars.
3. Don’t Skimp On Milk
If there is a superfood it is milk. It is an amazing source of protein, contains good carbohydrate and provides a whole range of vitamins and minerals. When you are training hard drink one or two pints per day. This sounds a lot but it will help you recover quicker and stay strong through tough training blocks. It’s especially useful after running, which is one of the most stressful forms of exercise. Running produces signals which tell your body to start breaking down, causing large amounts of muscle damage. Drinking milk straight after training can help to counteract those negative signals.
4. Swill Your Gel
If you’re desperate for energy during a race, but don’t feel like swallowing any more energy products, try swilling some energy gel around your mouth. There are carbohydrate sensors in the mouth which stimulate the brain into working harder. Research has shown that using a carbohydrate mouth rinse can increase 40 km cycling time trial time by over a minute.
5. Mix Your Sugars
Research has shown that a mixture of glucose and fructose drinks during exercise can improve performance by 8% when compared to a glucose drink alone. When choosing gels or sports drinks, look for products that mix glucose or maltodextrin with fructose in a 2 to 1 ratio. Examples include PowerBar Energize bars and PowerBar Power Gel.
By Phil Mosley.
Triathlon Plus Coaching Editor & Ironman Certified Coach
Copyright © 2016 Philip Mosley
The Serious Triathlon Blog
Train Smart. Race Fast.
Phil Mosley is a triathlon coach and writer.