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2018-10-30 5:30 PM


Subject: Training Nutrition
Does anyone have a good training nutrition to follow when training for a Full Ironman? Maybe you can steer me in the right direction of a good nutritionist to talk to. Thanks in advance.

2018-10-30 8:37 PM
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Training Nutrition
I can't recommend a specific nutritionist off the top of my head (at one point, my coach had some recommendations on her website, but I can't find those now) but you can probably look online for someone in your area who works with athletes. Not sure it is necessary--it would probably depend on how healthy your basic diet is right now, and your level of knowledge about nutrition or willingness to spend the time to get some basic knowledge relevant to IM training.

Since this past summer, I've been training for my first IM in November. I've done triathlons of various distances for the past seven years, and mainly HIM for the past three years. In general, my diet seems to keep my energy levels steady; I've never bonked (run out of energy), recovered well from most workouts, and neither gained nor lost any significant amount of weight, so I'd guess my diet is working for me.

I honestly can't say there is any fundamental difference in my diet now than when I was training for shorter events, other than eating a LOT more food to fuel the high volume of training! (Right now I am eating a bowl of cereal with yogurt, nuts, and blueberries, a few hours after a big dinner, because I felt hungry again.....) I've also tried to be more intentional about getting in some carbs and protein within a shorter time window after workouts (30-60 minutes) and making sure I'm starting workouts well-fueled. This can sometimes be a challenge because there are just so many workouts and some very long training days.

Here are the things I've found helpful. If your basic diet is not very healthy, you have a history of disordered eating, and/or you follow a special diet like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. then I would definitely get the help of a nutritionist!

*A good IM training diet is basically just a healthy diet, but more of it! You will need a lot of calories to get through long training days and to recover from longer workouts. In particular, carbs. IM training is not the time to try a low-carb diet! My family and friends are amazed at the amount of carbs I can put away in a meal. It's pretty impressive for a 115 pound woman!

Try to make most of your carbs healthy ones with nutritional value beyond just energy--i.e. whole grains, starchy vegetables like yams, pumpkin, and squash, rather than refined flour, white rice, and white bread.

*Make sure to get plenty of protein and iron. In particular, try to include a little protein in every meal and snack, especially after hard workouts. This both aids in recovery and helps keep hunger under control.

*Don't be afraid of healthy fats like nuts, nut butter, olive oil. These can help you get in the calories you need quickly, support the immune system, and keep you feeling full.

*Eat plenty of fruits and veggies for vitamins and trace nutrients. If your diet is low in these, a basic multivitamin might be useful.

*As mentioned above, make sure you are going into each workout well-fueled, fuel and hydrate as necessary during the workout (generally, you should be taking in some carbs in anything over about 90 minutes), and try to have a meal or snack with some carbs and protein within 30-60 minutes of finishing. I've noticed that sometimes "refueling" has to continue for several meals or even on the following day for very long training days--if you are biking for six hours and then running for an hour, for example, that's thousands of calories and, at least for me, more than I can physically get/keep down in a day! Plus in the process I have probably missed at least one regular meal. So I try to continue to get in some extra carbs and calories on the following day. I've had a similar experience each time I race a HIM, which for me is a 5-6 hour endeavor.

*Notice how your body responds to different foods before and during training. Some foods are great for recovery but don't tend to work well beforehand. (I've had to pretty much move to gluten-free carbs before morning workouts, for example.) Do a lot of experimenting to find out what foods or liquid nutrition will work for you on the bike and run and practice using them A LOT before the race. Gels, bars, drinks that you just love on a 2-hour ride, for example, may become horrible and nauseating after five hours....

*Unless you have serious weight issues, I would let hunger guide your eating. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, have a snack if you're feeling tired or hungry between meals. If you are craving something, within reason, eat it. (For some reason whenever I am training hard I crave blueberries. I have a "family-size" bag of frozen ones in the fridge at all times!) Keep plenty of healthy things on hand for snacks and extra "meals". (You'll probably find yourself needing those more than in the past!) My go-to's are whole-grain cereal, nuts, berries, yogurt, Cliff Mojo bars, whole wheat bread, and peanut butter.

*With IM training (I recall it was the same with high-mileage marathon training in my much younger days), sometimes your body will give you weird cues about needing fuel. Particularly after a really long workout, sometimes I don't feel "hungry", but just tired, sleepy, irritable, mentally foggy, or even cold. That usually resolves with a meal or snack. If feeling like that, try eating something!

Hope this is useful. I'm not a nutritionist or a coach. I have been in endurance sports for all of my teens and adult life, though (49 now), so it is something I've spent a lot of time working out.

Edited by Hot Runner 2018-10-30 8:56 PM
2018-10-30 11:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Training Nutrition

Brown rice.... it's rocket fuel for endurance training/events........that's all.

Edited by Left Brain 2018-10-30 11:03 PM
2018-11-12 3:07 PM
in reply to: DavidGJones77

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Training Nutrition
I did a little webinar on the subject a while back and am planning another here shortly.

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