Tri-Umphant! 10 Weeks to Your First Sprint Tri
Smart Nutrition RulesRule: Drink up.
"Fluids are your first priority," notes Marni Sumbal, RD, a triathlete coach and sports dietitian in Jacksonville, Florida. Aim for five to six ounces every 15 minutes; stick with water on your shorter training days (one hour or less) and sports drinks with carbs and electrolytes on longer and more intense ones. The easiest place to sip is on your bike, so equip it with a water bottle cage before you start pedaling, for both training and race day.Rule 2: Practice.
"Most people can digest anything when they go slowly; it's when you ramp up intensity that you run into tummy trouble," Sumbal says. Sample various sports drinks or effervescent electrolyte tablets during your training to make sure they agree with you when you race. "You'll be pushing a little harder than normal, and this extra nutrition will help your body handle that added stress," Sumbal explains. Look for a drink that contains about 30 to 60 grams of carbs in about 20 to 28 ounces of fluid.Rule 3: Fuel up for the start.
About two to three hours before the race, eat a 200- to 300-calorie breakfast of mostly carbs and a little protein, such as toast with peanut butter; oatmeal, nuts, and fruit; or a hard-boiled egg, yogurt, and an orange. "That should be enough to keep you going for the next few hours," Sumbal says.Rule 4: Don't overdo it.
You'll probably burn 600 to 700 calories in a sprint race, but you can't replace everything you're burning. Shoot for 120 to 200 calories an hour, which you can get from a sports drink. For longer train?ing sessions or races, you may need to take along sports gels for a boost.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2013.
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