Triathlons are a sporting event that combines swimming, cycling and running into one race. There are several race distances that can be classified into sprint distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run), half Ironman or 70.3 (1.9 km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run) and Ironman races (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2 km run). Races are open to all fitness levels categorized in age groups up to the elite level with separate races for children.
Training for three separate disciplines can take up a lot of time and can put a large strain on an athlete’s energy reserves.
As most triathletes train 5-7 days of the week, often twice a day, it is important that they adopt eating strategies that promote recovery and maximise energy to help train at their best.
Generally, good quality carbohydrates for energy and proteins for muscle maintenance and recovery are the main focus of main meals for triathletes.
Having an adequate carbohydrate intake in and around training sessions is the key to a successful session. On days when double training occurs adequate carbohydrate included in main meals and extra snacks can be used to ensure the second session is as good as the first. Protein foods and snacks are also important to stimulate muscle recovery from the training sessions as well as contribute to the athletes overall muscle maintenance and immune system.
Our very own Dietitian and Sports Dietitian Zara is an eager and experienced triathlete who races age-group triathlons in a friendly competitive manner.
Sports nutrition is not just about race day nutrition, it is about what you practice daily to help fuel your training sessions, adapt to the training, grow muscle and get the best out of yourself. We spend about 80-90% of the year training and 10-20% racing (give or take), so it is no wonder our everyday training diet matters the most!
Want help planning your everyday training day nutrition? Book in appointment with an Eat Smart Dietitian to see where you can make some meaningful changes to get the best out of your sport.
Written by our Eat Smart Dietitian & Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Zara Nance