More about nutrition that will improve your triathlon performance.
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We have to reestablish normal body fluid levels, during the night you get dehydrated. You went several hours without taking any fluid in, and yet you were giving off fluid in expiration through your breath, through your skin, and consequently we need to replenish those fluid levels. And we also need to optimize performance. We can do certain things on our nutrition before a race, or before a workout that actually make the performance, or about the event we are about to take part in, we can make our performance better for that event. And finally, we can also by eating before exercise, we can actually improve the recovery post exercise. If we take in the proper amount of nutrients, we can now go to finish the workout off, and not be in nearly as depleted state as we would have been, had we had not taken in those nutrients before the workout or the race began. So we can recover faster, because of we did before the workout. I have several rules that I apply to this situation, this period of time before the race. I call this pre-exercise eating rules. The first one is to consume 200-300 calories per hour prior to exercise. And obviously this has to do when you've got lots of time. Let's just say you have got three hours before the race starts. You got 8:00 am start, it's 5:00 am, you have just awakened in your hotel room, and you want to do something to prepare yourself for the race nutritionally. So what I recommend athletes to do, is to eat 200-300 calories per hour before the -- in this case the race begins. So if you have three hours until the race begins, you can eat 600-900 calories. Now that's going to be modified by appetite, by body size, and by experience. That's just like a general guideline. The starting point is to eat that many calories to restock what your body perhaps has used up during the night, during sleep, and to help you prepare to be fully ready to go on the race in just two or three hours. For some people it may sound like a lot of calories, 600 calories for three hours before the race or 900, and again, it has to do with your body size, and your experience. Quite honestly though, when I have somebody doing Ironman, we try to get as many calories as we can possibly give him. I have got one triathlete I coach is 188 pounds, a big guy, 6'2”, lives in Tennessee, really hard trainer, a very good athlete. He is going to qualify here very soon for Hawaii. He is just a really good 35 year old athlete. And the morning of an Ironman race, he takes in something like about 1200 to 1400 calories. Starting about in his case, about five hours before race time. He will wake up, and take the calories five hours before the race, and then go back to sleep again. So he'll get all those calories into his system, and then again when he wakes the next time, he takes in a few more calories, and he is fully stocked. There was a study done many years ago back in it was like in 1988, by some Japanese researcher on calories prior to an Ironman Distance Race, and performance in the race. And what they found was the athletes who ate the most calories before the race had the best performances. So with that in mind, what I always want my athletes to do, is take as many calories as they can comfortably take in before an Ironman race begins. Let's be as full as stocked as we can. Let's not leave any for chance. Now if you're talking about a very short workout, or very short race, something less than an hour, then that's really not quite so critical. You know carbohydrates is not going to be a limiting factor in a one hour race even if you've somewhat been depleted throughout the night. And I will come back to the duration of races in a little bit of time, and how to deal with those. So the event you are training for may also be a variable you have to consider. Ironman Distance Race is, you probably need to take in more calories before a race like that, than you do an Olympic Distance Race, or certainly a Sprint Distance Race. Take in mostl