Nutrition for Triathlon (Part 2) Fuelling Recovery

Elite Sports Nutritionist Matt Lovell, has put together this article that will offer professional insight on that will aid recovery after a Triathlon, or any endurance event. Nutrition for Triathlon – Fuelling Recovery is the second article by Matt that can be used as a guideline for your training.

Fuelling Recovery

Carbohydrate replenishment to fuel subsequent days racing must begin immediately post training. This may better consumed as a series of smaller servings, rather than a large meal, while it becomes increasingly important as the competition goes on, to provide quality sources of protein. The carb constitutes parts of an athlete’s daily intake and is not meant to be additional consumption; merely more effectively timed feeding.

 So, to Summarise:

Carb Loading – Don’t consume excessive protein and fat

  • A high Carbohydrate diet the day before competition, coupled with adequate rest, increases the amount of carbs stored in the muscles as Glycogen
  • Glycogen levels determine the intensity and duration of performance
    • – If loaded, you can go HARDER for LONGER!!!
    • Carb Loading the day before matches doesn’t require high GI sugars – use sugars in moderation to regulate blood sugar – around training with BCAAs

Protein – the amount of protein should be reduced during your carbo-load

  • Proteins are acid-forming in the body and a higher acid load means your body cannot clear lactate!
    • You feel the burn earlier and cannot perform as long at high intensity
    • Go semi-vegetarian over the last 3 days and maintain training adaptation by tapping in amino acids after training.
    • Certain “alkalising foods” like veggies, greens-drinks and bicarb may help reduce the burn!

Extra considerations for Iron Man/ Ultra Distance:

 As the distance increases, the fact our body can only store a limited amount of glycogen becomes more important. A common strategy is to try and get a balance between burning fat and carbs to spare glycogen to last until the end of the race, and prevent depletion. “Fat adaptation” is the process of increasing the enzymatic capacity for fat oxidation following adopting a low carbohydrate/high-fat diet. Fat adaptation increases dependence on fat, but can decrease the capacity for carbohydrate utilisation and impair high-intensity performance in (Havemann et al., 2006). However, long duration, lower-intensity exercise may be enhanced meaning this may play a role in iron-man. In addition, eating fat just before an ultra-distance race will increase dependence on fat and may help spare glycogen without the down-regulation of carb capacity seen with a chronic 3-day fat-adaptation strategy. Experiment with pre-race meals of nuts, seeds, hollandaise, salmon and eggs to see if this fatty feed helps your ultra-endurance (always experiment BEFORE race day!).


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