Endurance sport nutrition
Nutrional needs of training and racing(part I).
This has been one of the biggest challenges I have found in triathlon and multisports.
So have listed some ideas to prevent other athletes falling into a similiar scenario:
- be organised with particular emphasis on nutrition. A good start is to have meals organised in advance for after heavy training. Also having plenty of 'healthy' snack food in the home like fruits is a good starting point.
- don't underestimate the importance of nutrition, especially for events longer than one hour.
- If you are having trouble with nutrition, ask for advice from a coach or other experts in endurance sports nutrition.
- trial race day diets in training so the body is used to it.
Here is two more specific dietary suggestions:
- Before embarking on a long cycle ride(3hrs +), consume a large 'smoothy' that tastes great and includes several eggs, milk and fresh fruits. Update 1/5/2008: am now cosidering using less milk(was up to 500ml) and replace it with crushed ice a and malt(maltidextrin).
They are easy to make, are easilly digestible and always taste great. Having consumed one of the above 'smoothies' within hours of a long ride, I got off my bike and the legs felt better than ever. Since then I have continued doing it and the results feel great.
- don't underestimate your fluid/electrolyte requirements. If you are taking on fluids in events when you start feeling thirsty you are most likely leaving it a bit late.
Look forward to getting some helpful advice on this area, feedback is welcome.
Nutrional needs of training and racing(partII).1/11/2007
Back about 1990 I had the option to choose a couple of extra 2nd year university papers. So I chose to do one called 'Biochemistry of Human Nutrition and Dietitics'. Even though got through it with no problem and we covered a load of information, I didn't really link it into my sports training/racing diet beneficially. For example we learnt about nutritional diseases and alot about vitamins. Organic chemistry(favourite subject) and chemical structures of vitamins were easy for me to recall, but knowledge at this level is hard to relate back to doing an endurance event. Of course we also learnt about how cabohydrates, fats and proteins were utilised and broken down/converted to energy etc.
It is easy to be intelligent/well educated but lacking common sense at the same time(really it was just neglectful thinking). An example of this for me, was turning up to events that were 6+ hours a day in the early 1990's, with almost no consideration of race day diet. Only really now am I thinking about diet, and probably still not enough.
Everybodies physiology and dietary requirements will vary, so what is written here shouldn't be taken as gospel. For me, it seems as though good quality protein makes a difference. Some things I do recall from back in 1990 is that eggs have the perfect balance of proteins(logically if you think about it). Recall reading that Cameron Brown's race day breakfast consisted of a big plate of scrambled eggs among other things. My pre-race breakfast will include at least 2 raw eggs in a thick shake(My body weight will be about 85kgs).
O.k, I know there will be some people that will be alarmed at this many eggs, because of all the Cholesterol.
Several years back when sharing a house with a Cardiolist(medical Doctor), I asked the question. "What is the latest fad/recommendation in healthy diets for a healthy heart?" Before he answered I also said," I ask this because there was extreme emphasise put on how harmful Cholesterol is to the hearts blood circulation". He replied that "the cholesterol danger had been over emphasised in the past". Sure cholesterol can be harmful, but it is more a case that some people are pre-disposed to its ill effects.
He also replied that anti-oxidants were being talked about more and the beneficial effects of these in reducing heart disease. Examples of anti-oxidants are Vit-E/ Selenium and the phenols found in some fruits. Anti-oxidants are useful in reducing the harmful free radicals that are releaesd into the body as waste(cellular breakdown products).
Will leave it at that, as anything more technical will no doubt be boring.
My favourite foods are fresh/ripe fruits and lean protein sources like fish, wild Duck and wild Venison. Will have to eat a bit more rice in place of all the raison bread I am currently consuming also.
For my muscles to feel good at the end of 180kms of cycling I require more that the well promoted 'carbo loading'. Maybe 'carbo loading' is the answer for some but I am yet to be convinced this is the case for my physiology.
More than just ATP from the breakdown of glycagen(carbo) stores when exercising/racing for anything more than 2hours is required to continue on without spiralling to a state of exhaustion.
Will go into my race day diet more as it gets closer, but am already practising it before and during my biggest volume training days.
Nutrional thoughts as I prepared for my first ironman.
My training update:
- have fallen off a bit from where I was two weeks back which is disappointing, so glad things were ahead of schedule then. Still managed a good weekend of training, but can feel some extra weight has been put on in the past two weeks.
- have heard others say they can loose fitness fast, but it takes longer to get it back. For the past six months this hasn't held true for me; I do loose fitness fast(say two weeks with little exercise), but get back to full fitness within a couple of training sessions. Am hoping the same holds true for loosing the couple of pounds I just gained in the past two weeks.
- to combat any possible weight gains I am going to write down a list of my favourite healthy foods and take the list with me when going to the supermarket. Keeping weight off and even loosing weight is a big challenge for me at present, and it is a focus area because I believe it to be very important to go well. Seems like there is a smaller fresh foods section in the supermarkets than the past, but more ready to eat foods.
Update 09/01/08- only made a mental list of healthy foods which has included alot of fresh fruits available at this time of year. Keep going back to weetbix for breakfast as it is easy and trying to eat a variety of meat, vegetables potatoes and rice. And of course my personal favourite smoothies.
Links on Nutrition outside this site.
Here is a link by the 'Australain Institute of Sport', that will help if you want to gain your muscle mass(Also more great nutrition information at this link) :
And here is site with some nutrition journal articles :
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