Nutrition tips for endurance athletes
17th May 2018
For endurance athletes, getting the balance right with your diet can be the make or break for your performance during training and competition. Take a look at our 5 nutrition tips to aid your training and performance.
- Variety is the spice of life!
Enjoy a varied balanced diet that includes all key food groups to support performance. Eat 5 a day of fruit and vegetables to help achieve macro and micronutrient targets.
- Training is a time to trial – race day is not
Trying out new fuelling strategies on the day of the race rather than in training is a common mistake. Training is the time to experiment with the types of foods to consume and timing to avoid stomach discomfort on the day of the race. This can include testing out supplement products to see how this impacts a training session, such as BCAA Train + Sustain
- Protein isn’t just for bulking
Ensure you are eating optimal amounts of carbohydrates and protein to support training at the correct times. One of the biggest myths is that eating higher amounts of protein results in an increase in muscle size and bulking, which would not benefit endurance athletes. Endurance athletes require protein to help repair muscle broken down by training.
- Maintain adequate hydration
Maintaining hydration levels is essential for performance, both physically & mentally. It is important to start each training session and race well hydrated, take on-board the right amount of fluids during the event/training and restore hydration levels as soon as possible afterwards in order to replace the water and salts lost in sweating. It is important to evaluate your sweat losses and fluid needs during training. Keeping track of body weight before & after exercise and monitoring changes in urine colour for example can help assess hydration status
- Recovery is the ultimate preparation
Recovery is an essential part of training; ensure you are taking in enough protein to make sure that every finish is getting you ready for you next start. This can include meals or snacks such as beans on toast, jacket potato with tuna, low fat cheese or a sandwich with chicken, egg or tuna. Supplements can be a convenient way to get an appropriate amount of protein a the correct time post-session, such as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey.
Remember that nutritional needs are highly individual and will also vary depending on the category of Triathlete event you are participating in. What works for one person may not work for another. Finding the right strategy for your needs requires a bit of experimentation. Try new things (in training) and aim for the simplest plan to meet your unique situation.
by Reece Barclay – PRO Triathlete, Coach and Optimum Nutrition Ambassador