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Triathlon Training Nutrition Guide

Your diet can make or break your triathlon goals. Learn how to fuel your training—and get better race-day results.

1 MONTH BEFORE THE RACE

Fuel Your Workouts
As your workouts peak in intensity, you need even more carbohydrates to ensure proper glycogen storage and energy. Before any workout, fuel up with some whole food carbohydrates and follow your cool down with some more carbs and a bit of protein, White says.

However, if your workout lasts more than two hours, you shouldn’t wait until your workout is over to replenish your energy reserves in order to maintain intensity. “Your body only has so many calories saved up inside. You’ve got to replace them while you are exercising,” says White. During moderate- to high-level exercise, you are burning between 500 to 1,000 calories per hour. And your body typically only stores about two hours’ or exercise worth of carbohydrates. Try eating sports gels or beans mid workout. They are calorie-rich sources of simple carbohydrates and are easy to consume mid workout, he says.

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Feed Your Immune System
When your workouts peak in intensity, so does the oxidative damage in your body and your need to protect yourself from illness. If you hit all of the colors of the rainbow with your food choices, eating a lot of produce with a range of antioxidants, you will prevent the majority of the sniffles, Mueller says.

If you find yourself still feeling run down or sick frequently, up your barriers with a multivitamin that includes Coenzyme Q10, which can be especially helpful in speeding recovery, suggests White. And no matter how busy your schedule is with long endurance workouts, you still need at least eight hours of sleep a night. Sleep gives your body needed time to recuperate from your workouts, he says.

Rehearse Race Day
Plan a few extra-long workouts so that you can experiment with different day-of nutrition options. While you should focus on carbohydrates for before, during, and after your workout, you’ll want to steer clear of fiber (more on that during your one-week-out plan), Mueller says. Remember the sports gels and beans you’ve been eating during workouts? They are perfect course companions.

Last but not least, before you begin your rehearsal workouts, you should weigh yourself. Then, once you complete your workouts, weigh yourself again. You should have sweat out no more than 2 to 3 percent of your total body weight. If you lose any more fluids, you’ll experience a significant drop in performance and can risk your health, she says. Adjust your day-of hydration plan accordingly. Write down whatever nutrition and hydration choices work for you in your training log so you’ll remember what to do come race day.

Next: What to eat one week before the race >>>

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