Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page -

Think ahead to race day and think about what shape you want to be in. That work and planning starts now. Op­ti­mal fit­ness and health will pro­vide best per­for­mances and max­i­mum en­joy­ment. Suc­cess, then, en­tails eat­ing with a strat­egy. Eat to max­i­mize re­cov­ery. Fuel to sup­port key work­outs and op­ti­mize train­ing adap­ta­tions. Work to­wards de­sired body com­po­si­tion changes. Eat to sup­port a healthy im­mune sys­tem and hor­monal func­tion. Th­ese good nu­tri­tion habits, prac­tised daily, will set the stage for race day. Pick a strat­egy and stick with it when it comes to the ac­tual race day plan. Use pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences, as well as sound sports nu­tri­tion rec­om­men­da­tions, to come up with a plan for race day. The idea is not for it to be per­fect im­me­di­ately, but to give you some­thing to play around with in train­ing. Try your pro­posed race- day break­fast be­fore key work­outs. Test out sports drinks, bars, gels and other foods that you plan to have dur­ing the race. Again, the idea is not to repli­cate an en­tire race plan in train­ing, but to test out cer­tain el­e­ments, gaug­ing how they sit, how the taste or tex­ture ap­peals af­ter hours on the bike, in dif­fer­ent weather con­di­tions and af­ter dif­fer­ent race- day break­fasts (or pre- race din­ners). Some things take a while to fig­ure out and even small changes, such as flavour, tex­ture or con­sis­tency, can make a big dif­fer­ence. Train your gut: Just like train­ing your mus­cles, your gut needs some work­ing out if you ex­pect it to per­form on race day. For some key work­outs, or even just por­tions of a key work­out (i.e. an hour or two of a fourhour ride), test the ac­tual rate (amount of food and drink per hour) you would plan on tak­ing in dur­ing an ac­tual race. Your gut needs to get used to hav­ing this vol­ume and con­cen­tra­tion in it. We be­come bet­ter able to tol­er­ate, and ab­sorb, foods and flu­ids that we are ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing more fre­quently. Take notes. Treat your­self like a mini ex­per­i­ment and be prepared to change and ad­just that writ­ten plan ac­cord­ingly. Use smaller races to put your race plan into ac­tion and, per­haps, re­fine fur­ther, not­ing that weather and tem­per­a­ture may also af­fect the strat­egy. Re­flect on what you have learnt from the off-sea­son and take this through to your races. This might mean that you know you have to take cer­tain foods or sports foods and drinks with you to a race be­cause what they are serv­ing on course does not suit you. Or that you have a par­tic­u­lar pre-race break­fast that just seems to work. Try to be f lex­i­ble, in­tu­itive and self­con­scious. Some­times even the best laid plans just don’t pan out and you can be left scram­bling on course feel­ing un­der fuelled, de­hy­drated or bat­tling GI dis­tress. This is where you need to be prepared to tear up the script and lis­ten to your body. Tune in to what it needs and feel your way through. Dig deep into your mem­ory – it’s likely that you have ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enced such a sit­u­a­tion in train­ing and were able to get through it. Be­ing able to rec­og­nize that this course of ac­tion is, in it­self, part of the plan (al­beit a backup plan) re­moves much of the stress which can worsen the sit­u­a­tion. Stay calm and be re­as­sured that al­ter­na­tives (fuel, flu­ids, tim­ing, etc.) will gen­er­ally get the job done.




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