WHAT TO EAT ON A MIDDLE-DISTANCE TRIATHLON

An MD triathlon combines a 3 km swim, 80 km cycle and 30 km run. It is a demanding triathlon that requires a combination of training, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition in the right balance.

The nutritional strategy for these distances must satisfy a number of requirements in terms of digestion, water intake and energy intake.

BEFORE YOUR MIDDLE-DISTANCE TRIATHLON

The purpose of this period is to prepare your body for the coming event. This phase must be used to reduce any deficits in vitamins and minerals, prevent any problems with digestion and top up your energy and hydration levels.

-          D-7 to 3: The objective of this period is to protect your alimentary canal that will be severely tested during your triathlon. This is achieved by avoiding anything that will give it a lot of work to do.Stick to a balanced diet with at least 50% carbs and continue to drink plenty of fluids. Reduce or even avoid all raw vegetables and fruit. Avoid legumes (lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc.) and wholemeal cereals. Avoid greasy dishes that are difficult to digest as well as any spicy food. As for drinking, water is the priority. Coffee should be kept to a minimum if it has a laxative effect on you and, above all, do not drink alcohol during this period. This is to keep the level of acidity in your body to a minimum.

-          D-3: The purpose of this period is to build up your energy reserves. Increase your intake of complex carbs. Drink one to two bottles of maltodextrin between meals. Drink a lot of fluids to keep your hydration at optimal levels. Reduce the quantity of raw vegetables, especially if you have sensitive bowels.

-          The day before: your evening meal should contain easily digestible carbohydrates that are low in fibre. You do not need to prepare a bigger meal than you would normally have because your energy reserves are topped up. Example: seasonal vegetable soup, chicken breast, pasta (seasoned with a tablespoon of oil and a little turmeric), stewed fruit.

-          Three hours before: your last pre-race meal should be high in calories and easy to digest. E.g.: Water or fruit juice, energy cake or energy cream, stewed fruit. Keep hydrating.

-          Standby rations: this period can be stressful and use a lot of energy. The aim is to keep your energy reserves up and stay hydrated, making sure you don't end up hypoglycaemic before the race. A pre-race drink is perfect here.

DURING YOUR MIDDLE-DISTANCE TRIATHLON

You must adopt a nutritional strategy that this suited to your triathlon. This event can lead to periods of dehydration, which must be kept to a minimum, if you want to cross the finishing line. So, water plays an important role. Drink small mouthfuls regularly from the start of your race. Find the energy drink that fulfils your needs and is to your taste, so that you can take in enough carbs and sodium to compensate for the energy you burn off and the minerals you lose through perspiration.

There are a range of options, such as energy drinks, gels and bars. Try out all the products during your training sessions in order to find the combination that suits you perfectly.

-          Swim start: You cannot eat during this phase, so eat a short distance energy gel to give yourself a boost, just before the start.

-          Transition 1: You need to compensate for the losses during the swim leg. Drink and take a short-distance energy gel to recover from the swim and get off to a flying start on the bike.

-          Cycle: This is the ideal leg for drinking and eating. Start drinking as soon as possible. ISO + is the ideal drink because it gives you a big dose of liquid, carbs and minerals. Have an ISO+ bottle and a water bottle on your bike to rinse out your mouth. Also have 2 short distance energy gels or 2 ultra fruit bars to top up on energy.

-          Transition 2: drink a bottle of water to keep hydrated and you will also be able to rinse your mouth before your run. If you start to feel tired, have a long-distance energy gel during the run.

-          Running: Take advantage of water stations to stay as hydrated as possible and keep up your race pace. Prepare 2 -3 long distance energy gels that you will eat during your run to regularly take on energy and avoid any sudden tiredness.

RECOVERING AFTER YOUR MIDDLE-DISTANCE TRIATHLON

You have completed your triathlon and you should feel proud. However, don't forget to recover because your body has overcome a significant challenge and is in a state of fatigue, to a lesser or greater extent. The priority is to rehydrate, recharge your energy reserves and repair damaged muscle fibres.

-          Have a 500 ml recovery drink.

-          Eat 2 after sport protein bars with your drink

Resume a balanced diet as soon as possible, with a priority on food that gives you antioxidants (fruit and vegetables).

marie-fauchille

Marie Fauchille

Dietician - Nutritionist, fan of multi-sport races and rowing

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