Training and Nutrition

As individuals are now deep into base-building phases, moving on to race-specific training, or in some cases are already beginning their racing season, nutrition is a topic that shouldn't be overlooked in regards to successful triathlon training. Not just race-day nutrition, but your overall nutritional plan.

I'm talking about properly fueling your body to train, recover, and race.  Triathlon training is not a diet. In order to perform at your highest possible level, and reduce the risk of injury, proper nutrition is key.

I hear far too many athletes talk about losing weight, cutting carbs and calories, in an attempt to get to their "race weight". Spoiler alert: I used to be one of them. My worst race of my career was when I weighed the least.  My best race? About 7-8 pounds heavier than what I thought I needed to be. Ah, what a little education can do.

Chances are, as a triathlete (or swimmer, or cyclist) you need more calories than you think each day. A balanced and well thought-out diet includes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Yes, fats and carbs - don't be afraid of eating healthy fats and good quality whole grain carbohydrates. The percentages of each macro-nutrient will of course change throughout the year as you progress from off-season, to pre-season, and through your race season, but you need all of these macro-nutrients to ensure that you're maximizing the impact of your training and staying healthy.

My education as a triathlon coach, as well as my education in sports and performance nutrition, has really opened my eyes to what a proper pre-season, race-season, and off-season, diet can and should look like. Incorporating a well balanced, whole-food based, nutritionally sound diet during your training is critical. You'll train and recover better, and you'll race better as well.

Questions? I'm happy to help. Jump down to the comments and ask away.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Tis the season - for over indulgence! Yep, the holidays are fast approaching. And I get it. Thanksgiving is such a great time to be with friends and family. It becomes pretty easy to have that extra glass of wine, and have seconds of your favorite dish. But it's simple to make some smart decisions on your food that day. So get yourself in the kitchen!

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving, or attending a feast elsewhere, there are some great dishes you can make to ensure you're eating well and not feeling like you're depriving yourself.

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The Off-Season

It's almost upon us. The off-season. And unfortunately a lot of athletes don't know what they should be doing between their final "A" race of the season, and when they need to pick themselves up and start serious training again. 

I've written about the off-season before. You can read that blog post here. But I'll summarize, and add to it, today. So, what should you do when your season is over?

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The Challenges Of Being An Age-Group Triathlete

It's been a great season for our athletes. PR's, podium finishes, a trip to World Championships in Canada. I'm a proud of the effort and dedication my athletes have put forth.

Yet for some it's been an interesting season. Work and life are providing all the challenges they need. And that's the interesting part of being an age-group athlete. Best laid plans are often disrupted. And I'm not even talking about the potential for an injury.

One of our higher performing athletes is active duty in the Coast Guard. Just as our training was hitting a high note, and some key races were fast approaching, he'd receive orders to be away for two weeks. Okay, we adjusted. Then he was deployed to Houston to help deliver aid after the hurricane. You can't argue with that. But suddenly the training is on hold, and the season is completely upside down.

Another athlete had some new job responsibilities added to her plate. You know, a conference call with an east-Asian office on Thursday nights at a god-awful time. So Friday AM sessions are out. So we adjust the week around. But those new responsibilities sometimes mean longer days. Workouts are missed. Okay, we adjust again. But getting momentum and regularity was a challenge. Target races are rescheduled. 

And how about a new addition to the family? That will assuredly add to the stress of scheduling workouts while balancing life at home. Add to that some extra work thrown into the mix, and races have to be skipped as preparations just couldn't be accomplished. An Xterra Pan-Am qualifier last year had a heck of a time getting in one Xterra race this year.

Balancing life and work and training. That's part of being an age-group athlete. Dealing with conflicts and changes to schedules creates the need to be flexible on all fronts - for both athlete and coach alike. But it can be difficult to digest and process at the time.

It's easy to give up and say "well, this season is over", but it doesn't have to be that way. Keep your focus. Find alternatives. Change your "A" race (as annoying as that may be). Explore other racing options like targeting a mountain bike enduro instead of letting all the Xterra prep go by the wayside. Easier yet, choose a shorter distance target race. You can't get in the training hours necessary for an Ironman? Find a 70.3 instead. Or even an Olympic distance race. True it might be your ultimate goal, but move that target to next season. You have myriad options available to you.

It's not all or nothing, and that's important to keep in mind. Work with your coach to find alternatives and adjust training and racing schedules to accommodate changes as they arise. You can find a new goal to keep driving you through this season and into the next.

Equally as important: Utilize your coach during this process. That is part of our job after all. Being a coach requires not only understanding the training that's necessary for the athlete, but it requires that we be a sounding board. We're here to  listen to you, the the athlete, and help you navigate the options available to still have a successful season no matter what is thrown your way.


Performance Improvements and Success Stories

Recently I've written a couple of blog posts discussing the importance of improving athlete limiters and the proper development of energy systems. The goal being to ensure not only the improvement of said limiters of an athlete but to further develop their strengths as well. With that in mind I thought it was time that we highlighted a few of our athletes here at Podium Training Systems to show not only the scope of racing that happens amongst our athletes, but also the type of improvements and success they've had and how we achieved those gains.

I reached out to a small number of my athletes to see if they would be willing to share their experiences over the past season or two and provide me with what they felt were their biggest improvements.

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