Over the past several weeks it has become increasingly apparent that there is one thing that can not be discussed enough with athletes. We have found that athletes of all experience levels including those with decades of endurance training to newer athletes, Multi time Ironman competitors to first time sprint distance triathletes; we have even recapped unfortunate race results with athletes, that are not currently working with our coaches, to come up with solutions that have lead to peak performances since then.
What is this one thing? Many athelete’s nutrition plans suck! We aren’t simply talking about calories here. We are talking the whole deal. Fuel, fluid and frequency
There is one simple solution for this and it is the age old 7 P’s philosophy. Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Athletes focus meticulously on specifics of the race, often over prioritize equipment selection, train diligently sacrificing sleep and family time and game plan pacing and strategy. Somehow, through all the deliberation of event planning many overlook nutrition. The fuel that keeps you going and gets you to the finish line.
Why do so many athletes do such a depressingly poor job of this? It is more than likely because it creates fear and uncertainty. This uncertainty creates paralysis and a nonchalant approach.
We recommend you begin planning now. Reduce your worries and keep it simple, knowing that your original plan is likely to change during training and with trial and error. You can begin by focusing on these key factors:
- Begin with the most basic. What will you eat prior to the event?
- Total kJ burned – kJ roughly equate 1:1 to calories – If you use a HR monitor be warry of the calories it says you are burning. They often tend to be high, sometimes up to 30%
- Total caloric need – this is not likely to be 100% of your total burn but more than likely 40-60%. Intensity & time dependent. 90g of carbohydrate/hour is currently believed to be maximum uptake.
- Total fluid need
- How to achieve total calories from fluid and solids