Training Programme: Triathlete’s Diet Mistakes

“Any training programme should have a well planned diet. Make sure you are not guilty of these diet mistakes. Read more now!”

Eating Right
Many triathletes don’t realise what a huge part their diets play in their training and racing. It’s a cliché, but when it comes to sports you are what you eat. And if you’re out there swimming, cycling and running every day, you really can’t afford to get it wrong.

A good diet is about more than just staying slim. Yes, body composition is important in triathlon, but it’s also about fuelling yourself correctly and eating the right blend of nutrients so that your body can recover and grow stronger after each training session. If you make too many mistakes with your diet, you’ll undermine all the hard work you’ve been putting in.

Maybe you think you’re eating well already, or you know you’re getting it wrong, but don’t know how to fix it. Either way, now’s the time to find out with my list of the top ten diet mistakes that triathletes make. The more of them you ditch, the faster and stronger you’ll be.

Not eating before early training
Your body has been without food for several hours overnight, so you can’t expect to get the best out of it in your training or racing if you are under-fuelling the session.

Eat enough carbohydrates the day before and find things that are easy to eat or drink and sit well in your stomach in the morning. This could be a yoghurt smoothie, half a banana sandwich or a slice of toast with peanut butter and a glass of fresh juice mixed with water.

Eating foods that cause stomach problems
Here we’re talking essentially about ‘runners trots’ – this is a really common problem in runners that can also happen during any exercise when blood is diverted from the digestive system to the working muscles.

Eat bland, non-spicy, nonfibrous foods the night and hours before training. Stick to meals such as white pasta with plain tomato sauce the night before, and in the morning have something like a small bowl of porridge or easily digestible cereal or some white toast with peanut butter.

Not taking on fuel during long training sessions
This is very common during runs when people don’t want to carry food or gels. They often go without anything and wonder why they slow down towards the end of a long session.

Work out how much carbohydrate and fluid you need and know how much is in the drinks and foods you’re consuming. You should aim for 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour, and it follows that the smaller you are, the less you will need.

Bingeing after training and racing
Sometimes the last thing you want to do after a long session is to eat. If you don’t, then subsequent training sessions will suffer and you’ll feel tired with heavy muscles. The other side of the coin is people who eat everything in sight, using the fact that they’ve done a hard session as an excuse to hoover up anything that falls in their path!

Plan your post-training and racing eating and make sure you have the right nutrition to hand at the finish. Chocolate milk is superb and slips down very nicely; have about 300ml with some salted nuts or a peanut butter sandwich and that should see you through until the next meal. If you sit straight down to a meal then have something like spaghetti bolognese made with lean beef or Quorn mince. More at 10 Triathlon Diet Mistakes

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