Triathlon Diet Lifestyle: One Size Does Not Fit All

[caption id="attachment_8756" align="alignright" width="211"]triathlon diet - lifestyle - training - ironman These 4 Items Belong In Each Endurance Athletes Lifestyle But Not All Are Going To Be The Same.
Source: Nutrition Translator[/caption] Triathlon diet and/or lifestyle there are those that are seeking the magic bullet and turning to sites and blogs, like mine, for answers.  I get questions and comments on all of the social media platforms that I am on seeking advice.  The problem with this advice seeking is that sometimes you can read the emotion and what they are really seeking is the one size fits all answer.  Unfortunately that does not exist because we are all different and as a matter of fact each day for each individual is going to be different. Let me provide you with an example.  That example would be me and here is how the last week of my triathlon, diet and lifestyle unfolded.
  • Monday: Tired from the weekend of training I pushed my run to the evening to go with Karen.  The moment we started running I could feel my legs weight 1,000 pounds each.  That morning I had a 3 egg omelette with mushrooms for breakfast, toast with salsa verde and poached eggs for lunch and post run I had chocolate waffles with banana and almond ice cream.  I pushed my carbs to the evening because that is when I was going to be running.
  • Tuesday: Decided to not workout in the morning as I was tired and would do a recovery spin and some strength/core at lunch.  The ride and lifting went well and I felt good throughout the workout.  So good that I asked a Facebook group I belong to if anybody wanted to swim and run on Wednesday morning.  That day I ate for breakfast: toast with almonds, raisins, banana and honey.  Lunch consisted of an Asian slaw salad and dinner was a falafel waffle with a greek salad.  All was going well to date.
  • Wednesday: Nervous about the feeling in my legs I was contemplating skipping the run.  I jumped in the water and swam 1.2 miles in 44 minutes. It was slow and sluggish but felt good enough to run.  I put in 6.3 miles at a pace of 9:30/mi.  Just about right and my legs didn't hurt too bad.  I ate a well-balanced diet that day that was based on carbs early in the morning to take care of my workouts.
  • Thursday: Wanted this to be a recovery day so I planned on riding for an hour and running for 15 minutes off the bike.  I felt better than I thought and put in a 20 mph bike ride and then ran an 8:21/mi pace off the bike.  Where did this speed come from?  I was on top of the world that in the afternoon I went and did 40 minutes of core/strength.  Look out world.  I also started tracking my meals via My Fitness Pal again and that really helped.  That day I had my carbs in the morning to again help in the recovery from the workout as well as burning off those carbs throughout the day.
  • Friday(today): I woke up with muscle soreness in my back.  The reason was that this was the first time I had done a focused core/strength workout since prior to Ironman Texas......a long time!  The always scheduled 6:30am OWS was happening and I had decided I would run 6 miles out of the water with Drum.  As I drove to the lake I could feel my back and I thought that I would wait until I got out of the water to decide on the run.  Jumped in the lake and lo and behold I was (my version of) Michael Phelps.  That 44 minutes swim was now finished in 39:10.  A 5 minute improvement which is otherworldly in my book.  I decided not to run because tomorrow I am riding for 5 hours and on Sunday running for two hours.  My breakfast this morning was French Toast and my plan for the rest of the day is to focus on protein and less on carbs.
If the people who asked me what I eat, how, why, or when were to follow this routine they may either find it too easy or too hard and the reason is that they are at a different spot in their endurance lifestyle than I.  More than that though they have different stresses in their life that can also affect their decisions on what to eat and how to get their triathlon and diet lifestyle to coincide. So when I get these types of questions I do my best to provide a response that includes some sort of disclaimer that this is how I do it or that I am not a registered dietian or a sports nutritionist.  That the answers I am providing are from my own research as well as trial and error.  Yes, there are certain 'rules of thumb' when it comes to eating for the endurance lifestyle but how one person's body reacts to a specific diet is not indicative of how another's will react.  The way I provide examples for this triathlon diet lifestyle is as follows:

How The Triathlon Diet Lifestyle Can Be Interpreted In 'Real' Life:

  • My results are not indicative of the results that you will have.  Similar to past performance does not predict future performance in the stock market.
  • There are guidelines that apply to everybody but not everybody will do it the same way.  This is similar to a golf stroke. There are certain mechanics but look at Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods and try to tell me that one is right and one is wrong and I will tell you both have won Major championships.
As you can see there is no one size fits all when it comes to training or nutrition for endurance sports especially an Ironman. I don't eat solids in an Ironman race but you may need to or have to.  I don't eat meat, but that may be something that you enjoy.  I choose not to race 5Ks and would rather train for and race for a 140.6 mile race.  Neither is right or wrong or better than the other except in that this is what works for me.  Figure out what you like and enjoy and instead of keeping up with the Joneses set the path for yourself.

Triathlon Diet Lifestyle Guidelines That I Believe Apply To All:

  • Cut out processed foods and eat real foods as much as possible.
  • Surround your workouts with carb based meals.
  • Listen to your body and if it needs to rest then rest and don't push it.
  • Recovering from your workouts is just as important as your workouts so get the proper nutrition into your system post workout.

Do You Believe There Are Universal Rules For Triathlon or Diet?

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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