If you have already done an iron-distance triathlon, you will know the impact that getting your nutrition right or wrong can have on your race. It is thought that between 30-50% of long distance triathletes experience gastro-intestinal problems while racing. Issues can include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, flatulence and abdominal discomfort. That’s a lot of unpleasant race day experiences. So, if you are new to Iron-distance triathlon, it’s important to take the time to develop a nutritional plan well before race day and to use your long bike and run training to practise it.
Whether you are a seasoned competitor or undertaking your first Olympic Distance triathlon, you do need to plan your nutrition and hydration needs for this type of event. You might be able to get away without consuming energy drink or gels during a sprint distance triathlon, but it isn’t recommended for longer events. Continue reading
Some people like to eat the same breakfast every day, some people like to try different foods. If you are training and competing in endurance sport, it’s a good idea to vary your breakfast according to the timing and type of training session you do. This helps you to consume carbohydrates, protein and fats in different amounts, and eating different foods over the course of a week also broadens your intake of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients which support good health. Continue reading
Vegan diets have become noticeably more popular in recent years. Many people will choose to exclude all animal products from their diet for ethical reasons. Others may see it as a healthier way of eating. Or it may well be a combination of the two. I’ve certainly observed an increase in the number of endurance athletes who are turning to veganism. That’s great if it’s the right decision for you, and it is certainly possible to be both vegan and a high performer, but you do need to be aware of several potential risks to both your health and your performance if you follow a vegan diet which isn’t well balanced and doesn’t take account of potential nutrient deficiencies. Continue reading
In January 2016, I wrote a blog post about the potential benefits of doing occasional training sessions in a glycogen depleted state, in other words with low carbohydrate stores. Various research studies have shown that this has benefits for endurance training, specifically in upregulating the process that creates mitochondria, the “batteries” of the muscle cell which burn fuel for energy. The more mitochondria you have in each muscle cell, the better for performance in endurance events. Training with low glycogen has also been shown to increase fat oxidation, your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. This is thought to have benefits for endurance performance by sparing the limited glycogen stores available in the muscle. The longer you can use fat as your primary energy source, the longer you can make your carbohydrate stores last. You can find my earlier blog post here for more detailed information on how training with low glycogen stores at certain times may be beneficial. Continue reading
While delayed onset muscle soreness – commonly known as DOMS – is perhaps associated more with body building, weight lifting and fitness sports like Cross Fit, it can also be a significant issue for many endurance athletes, particularly at times when there may be little recovery time between training sessions or when either volume or intensity are significantly increased. Multi-day endurance events may also be adversely affected by DOMS. Continue reading
There are many sports nutrition products on the market which claim to improve performance and stamina. Some, like energy gels with added caffeine, have a solid research base behind them and are generally accepted to have a positive effect in most people – although not everyone. Others, often containing various combinations of herbs or micro-nutrients, have less robust research behind them, especially that specific to athletes, and a less well accepted mode of action, but some people may find them helpful. Continue reading