Triathlon training nutrition tips

Triathlon training nutrition tips

Here are five great nutrition tips from professional triathlete Caroline Livesey to help you get the most out of your training this year.


A question I get asked all the time is: "How do you fit all that training in while still working full time?"

I race as a professional athlete on the Ironman circuit - so I am part of an endurance sport which perhaps requires the most training of all sports in order to reach the top level. In my main training blocks I fit 20-25 hours of training around an average of 42 hours a week at work - week in, week out. It’s not easy - and I still fall short of what the full time pros are achieving.

When they ask that question I think people want me to tell them there is some sort of way to cheat time - or that in fact I don’t actually work that much. Neither of these is the case. Many, many hours of hard training over nearly ten years is behind my recent successes - and that hard work continues all year round.

It is this consistency that is the key - and there are a few tricks which I have found invaluable. Here are five nutrition tips which you may find useful through the winter months - especially if you have just resolved to pick up training again in January.


Primal pantry bars1. Be organised. Whether you train hard or not - one of the golden rules of good nutrition is to be organised.

If you have planned your food for the day you will not be as tempted to eat the cakes/muffins/sweets/chocolate/biscuits that someone just happened to bring into work (any excuse!).

Make extra food and freeze it for those "need to eat now" scenarios when you are late home from the gym.

Always plan lunch for the next day when you are making dinner. Either make too much and take the leftovers for lunch - or make yourself a salad while you are waiting for dinner to cook.

I also like to have healthy snacks with me at all times - Primal Pantry bars are one my favourites for pre-training, but I also make my own energy bars. If you want some ideas then check out my nutrition blog "Hungry Athlete".


Rawnola cereal2. Don’t change everything at once. If you know that your diet needs an overhaul don’t be too ambitious. Change one thing at a time and make it a habit.

If you don’t eat breakfast for example, make eating it a habit first before you try to change the other parts of your day’s nutrition. It only takes a couple of weeks for something to feel normal.

Breakfast is so important - and eating something sustaining like porridge is an excellent way to prevent the afternoon binge.

I have a very set eating pattern which I find stops me having to think too much about "what" and "when". I can vary the calorie intake depending on my training load but I still enjoy the routine and I know I am going to have enough energy for my big sessions after a hard day at the office.


pasta bowl3. Eat Carbs! There are so many crazy diets out there - and there is a lot of backing for the low carb diets. I agree that too much processed starch is not good - but you have to eat carbs to be able to train. Fact.

So by all means cut out the pasta/bread (if you eat these for every meal then you are overdoing it!) - but make sure you replace with natural carbs like sweet potato, quinoa, potato, rice etc.

Getting the right balance of carbohydrates in my diet enables me to train consistently and train hard.


Coffee and toast4. Pinpoint your "problem foods". Mine are wheat and dairy. I suffer from IBS - but most people have a problem food of one sort or another.

Maybe this food makes you feel tired, doesn’t digest well, or gives you stitches/cramps when you train. Food can even have a huge impact on sleep patterns.

So if you are suffering from any strange symptoms like occasional insomnia, stomach aches, headaches or fatigue then try experimenting with cutting out types of food that you eat a lot of.

When I cut wheat out of my diet I noticed a massive increase in energy and much better sleep quality. But remember Rule 3! If you go gluten free make sure you replace the gluten-based carbs with something else.


Nutribullet smoothie5. Veg veg veg. The Government guidelines of "5-a-day" is targeted at your average person. If you are training and racing hard like I am then your body needs way more than this to stay healthy.

Although I am not a vegetarian, I probably eat more vegetables than most vegetarians do. We are lucky enough to live near a fabulous fruit/veg shop and we have a box of fresh veg delivered each week – and it does not take me long to get through it.

I was also recently given a nutribullet and find that smoothies are another great way to ensure that I am getting enough greens - and without the goodness being affected by cooking.

If in doubt, double up on your portions of veg. Usually I cannot see the rest of my evening meal because it is buried under a forest of broccoli or kale…


Salad boxSo that’s it - nothing complicated or heavily scientific - just a healthy and consistent approach to how I eat so that I can keep up the levels of activity in my life.

I am rarely exhausted despite the busy days and I attribute that mainly to good nutrition, quality recovery, and organisation.

Everyone has their own timetable challenges and I expect many age-group athletes have to fit in even more into 24 hours than I do. But without good nutrition it is just a matter of time before you are too exhausted to continue.

So stock that veg drawer, buy a nutribullet, fill your handbag/manbag with healthy snacks and get a BIG tupperware collection.

Then get out there and start fitting more into your day!

 

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