When you are training for an endurance event such as a triathlon or marathon, it’s important to fuel your body in a balanced way. Eating the right foods will help get your body in peak condition before your event, and power you through to success on race day.
Making sure you eat enough, and at the right times, as well as providing your body the right mix of quality nutrients from wholesome sources can be challenging. What you put in your body has a huge effect on the performance you get out of it.
Adrienne Speedy, Lead Dietician at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, gives her top three tips on getting your body performance-ready for race day.
1. Make sure you eat enough
When you train for something as demanding as a triathlon or a marathon, you will need more calories in a day than the average person does. Remember to eat regularly and in enough quantities to support your training schedule. Without proper fuel intake, you could see your progress stall. If you’re feeling tired all the time, despite getting enough rest, it’s a tell-tale sign that you might not be eating enough.
2. Balance your macro-nutrients
In addition to eating the right quantities, you must make sure you eat the right kinds of foods - and in the right proportions. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats all play vital roles in the body, and athletes need to pay close attention to how much of each one they eat.
Carbohydrates replenish the glycogen in your body, fueling your training, proteins support muscle synthesis and repair, and fats provide energy and can help keep your joints healthy.
When training, it’s best if 45-65% of your calories come from carbohydrates as they are your body’s primary fuel, especially in a triathlon. Protein should make up 15-20% and fats 20-35%.
- Vegetables; potato, corn
- Wholegrain breads and cereals
- Rice, quinoa
- Skinless chicken, lean beef
- Beans, lentils
- Milk, yoghurt and laban
- Vegetable oils
- Nuts, seeds
3. Stay hydrated
Getting enough water is key, especially when competing in warmer climates. When you sweat during training you lose more than just water, you also lose salt, which is vital to proper body function.
There’s no set amount of water you should drink when training or competing as it varies from person to person, but if you are exercising for more than one hour continuously, it is recommended to alternate water with a low-sugar sports drink to help replenish salts and electrolytes.