Triathlon is a demanding physical endurance sport that requires athletes to swim, bike, and run for extended periods of time. Proper fueling is essential for triathletes to maintain energy levels, prevent dehydration, and optimize performance. In this post, we will discuss the role of nutrition in triathlon performance and provide tips for choosing the right foods and fluids to fuel your body before, during, and after a triathlon.
Rotate your running shoes!
If you want to avoid injury while running, it is important to vary the shoes you use. Running in different models and styles will allow you to engage different muscles in your feet, which can help prevent overuse injuries. Additionally, it is important to give your running shoes time to decompress after each use. A good rule of thumb is to rotate between at least two pairs of shoes and avoid running back to back in the same pair. This will help ensure that your shoes have time to recover and remain in good condition for longer.
Nutrition for Performance
How to eat to perform the best? What to eat to avoid stomach cramps? When to eat to avoid the wall?
Nutrition is often underestimated, but it is really is another discipline in the sport of triathlon. Follow along with these essential nutrition tips from pre-exercise to recovery for performance and health.
Image © Kylie McKenzie.
We all have this one good triathlon buddy that seems to struggle keeping up with his training. Typically they always use the same excuses, along the lines of “life happened” and “too much work” or “my wife wants some quality time on Sunday”.
But then that imaginary friend of ours hits a particular milestone, where he runs out of excuses that he can make to avoid going with you for a suffer fest of a ride up that local hill.
We, Triathletes, are noble men and women. We don’t want one of us to lose their face. We want them to keep their dignity; thus why we present an ongoing list of excuses that can be used in many scenarios.
- Too much work
- Got fired, can’t train
- New job, no time
- Gave two weeks notice, can’t train
- When she goes to see her mom, then I’ll join
- When she will get back from her mom, I’ll have more time
- I’m on an all-inclusive resort, nowhere to train
- Just came back from vacation, need to catch-up with work
- Oh, I’m going to this triathlon camp next month – I’ll make it up there for all the missed runs
- My head hurts
- My ass hurts and I ran out of chamois butter!
- It is raining
- It is snowing
- It is too cold
- It is too hot
- It is too humid
- It is too dry
- 20% chance of Thunderstorm!
- Can’t train outside, because it is too hot/cold/rain
- I feel I am getting sick
- Kid is sick, need to sit with him
- Kid is no longer sick, no time, have to drive him to school
- Nowhere to train in the city. Once I move to this new neighborhood..
- It is Thanksgiving day, and I’ll start again after Christmas
- After New Years actually
- Nowhere to run
- It is too flat, no hills
- It is too hilly, no flats
- Too much shit to do before a business trip
- Too much shit to do after a business trip
- Can’t train on a business trip
- I hate hotel gyms and treadmills
- There is nowhere to run, no 1/2 mile loop in a local park is to short. I hate running in laps.
- Bike on maintenance in LBS
- Got bike back, but they did not adjust derailleur/brakes/steering/whatever.
- Did not take running clothes with me
- Forgot my running shoes
- This is my walking sneakers, not running
- My stomach feels funny
- I just ate some fatty protein, can’t train
- I’m getting bored in the pool
- I’m getting bored on the treadmill
- I’m getting bored on the track
- I have chlorine allergy
- Allergy season goddamnit!
- There is too much traffic to ride bike outside!
- I’m fed up riding on TrainerRoad
- Zwift is only fun first 5 seconds, then it is like TrainerRoad
- I am too sore after last month workout
- I am overly rested, need to ease-up training!
Please help to keep this list going, contribute in comments below!
What upgrade did you get for your bike this tax day?
I feel pain. Should I train?
A quite useful flowchart from pro-runner and coach Phoebe Wright – whether or not you should run when you feel some pain in your lower extremities.
But! Keep in your lazy mind, that if you can’t fucking run you can still fucking cycle and if you can’t do that because whateve – you can swim. No days off!!!
The Law of Diminishing Will
Chance of going for a run is inversely proportional to the time elapsed from the moment of awakening.– Someone who presses snooze 5 times every morning
The pretty basic principle that applies to many aspects of our lives – the longer you wait to take action, the less likely you are to take any action.
So it is pretty straightforward – you wake-up, you sip your coffee, take a dump and then immediately lace your running shoes and off you go! Because if you don’t, then “too many meetings”, “I don’t feel like running” and “oh, let me check that recent episode of walking dead”. Heck, even the dead are fucking doing some exercising!
Nothing new on race day
So they say you should never try new equipment or gear on a race day, that you always should test it way before the race in training.
Pessimistic cowards! Always try new equipment on a race, not before it!
When you ride your shiny brand new super aero triathlon bicycle for the first time – you go faster than you naturally are capable of. This is happening because new gear has this effect which some pessimistic people call placebo. I call it “wow new bike I am awesome” effect. The only drawback is that it only works once. Second time – no significant boost. So why waste this effect on training rides?
This effect applies to everything – new swimming goggles won’t get foggy only the first time you wear them, who cares if they don’t fit your face perfectly? You can always adjust them during the swim. A new shiny wetsuit is supposed to be tight! It is not you who is fat and did too much of wishful thinking that you can fit into M size when you were wetsuit shopping last night on a race expo. Running shoes are meant to cause bloody blisters! Severe pain makes you run faster! And what a great idea is to test new nutrition on a race! If you are lucky enough you will get a gel that will cause severe diarrhea that will propel you to the finish line!
Oh, a don’t forget how awesome you will look like in the race photos in that shiny new tri-suit!
Always test new stuff on a race day!
It is not a big secret that sleep is the key to unlocking your best performance in triathlon. Seriously, runners don’t get faster during interval training. Triathletes don’t get stronger while doing hill repeats on your bike. Swimmers don’t improve endurance-wise during 30×100 repeats. It happens when you sleep. Stress, recovery, adaptation, repeat. It is not a secret, but most athletes tend to overtrain and feel guilty when they take a day off.
So here is some science from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine to back it up. Ninety-eight elite athletes were studied on three non-consecutive nights within a 7-day monitoring period.
No time to read since you need to get that after work run in? Here are some key points:
- Average sleep duration: 7h30m ± 1h05m.
- Duration and quality of sleep affect psychomotor vigilance a bit more, then it affects athletic performance.
- There is a clear connection between the duration/quality of sleep and performance. Better quality = better performance.
- Accumulated sleep debt is detrimental to performance and recovery.
- One sleepless night has no adverse effect on performance.
Have a good night!
Art of grabbing a drink
No, it is not about grabbing a drink after work in a pub next to you. It is about hydration during a race.
That should not be new to any really Bad Triathlete, but if it then here is the harsh truth:
There is no evidence that water helps you perform better. It is still up to debate if there are any advantages in drinking any fluids during a race – be it your local sprint triathlon or Ironman World Championship in Kona. What is not up to debate is the technique you use for drinking, while it is relatively easy to hydrate during a swim leg, you open your mouth and hydrate, it is not so straightforward on the run.
All these fancy running and triathlon websites are happy to deliver thousands of articles telling you what brand to drink and how much. But they won’t tell you the most important thing – how to do it correctly.
The right way to grab a drink in a triathlon during a run leg is this:
Step one – Approaching an Aid Station
When approaching an aid station, start yelling. You should yell WATER or GATORADE. Because those volunteers only have that crap Gatorade and ambrosia in the form of water. By shouting it, you are letting them know what you require.
Step two – Initial Contact
Approach a volunteer, make eye contact so he can establish this emotional connection with you and understand that utterly devastating physical state you are currently in.
Step three – Act of Hydration
Grab a cup with an open palm and drink it with one big gulp!
Easy right? Don’t be afraid about splashing your drink all over your face, because what can be better than sticky Gatorade face for the remainder of the race.
Under no circumstances, you should
- Grab the cup around the top rim.
- Squeeze one side of the of the cup, so it is pointed like your grandma’s sauceboat. Typically people do it by putting their pointing finger in the cup.
- Put that pointed top of the improvised sauceboat in your mouth.
- Drink by doing small sips.
- Reduce your record-breaking pace or stop for drinking convenience
That’s it. Follow these simple advice, and you will master this.