I get this question every once in a while, people kind of shake their heads and wave their fingers at me and say "triathlon, ridiculous....you're crazy." Well, I agree, I think I am crazy....but not really for doing triathlon, but for a host of other reasons :).
I will say that yes, I do think doing the Ironman distance races require a dose of insanity, mostly because really, your life becomes about Ironman. No doubt. I suppose I could be someone who wakes up at 4:00 a.m. and rides the trainer, or goes to the gym and runs on the treadmill and during Soren's nap, i'd ride the trainer and after Soren goes to bed, head to the pool. I *could* do this and I know people that do, but right now, that all sounds just very...very....tiring. So, what I decided to do when my kids are "little" is race the shorter stuff, meaning, maybe two workouts a day during "peak" training, but definitely not three. And yes, i've done three workouts a day......and yeah, I feel a little insane for writing that, but then again, someone once asked, "how do you do an Ironman". That's how. 2-3 workouts a day....about 15-20 hours, maybe more a week.
So, how does one do all this. Not just "eating well" and, not even really sleeping because when you're training that much, you're jittery at night. Yeah, you'd think you'd sleep well, but you don't...or maybe you do, I can't even remember, but I don't remember waking up, ever and thinking "oh wow, I slept well". Great, so now you're training 15-20+ hours a week, how do you keep doing it?
With a very very good nutrition plan, that's how. I don't just mean, fruits, veggies, etc, I mean, you need a good nutrition plan for before, during and after. So, don't skip breakfast--really, even if "I can't eat breakfast before I run, I throw up." Well, find something that doesn't make you throw up. Maybe try greek yogurt instead of fruit loops? Do NOT start your workout hungry. You can be a little hungry, but if you're "really" hungry. Stop and eat.
If you have a workout that's longer than an hour, bring water with some calories in it, or eat something along the workout.
After, you workout for longer than an hour, you need to eat protein. Period. I prefer protein with a carb, but that's just me :)
What really gets me through these workouts and aids in my recovery? First Endurance Products. Why? Because when I was training for both my Ironmans, I thought I used proper nutrition, but I don't think anything I used was a good fit for me. I always had stomach issues and battled small injuries. I have a REALLY sensitive stomach and First Endurance makes products that I can use before, during and after workouts and quite honestly, they don't leave me running for the toilet like most of these other products. Additionally, last year was quite stressful for me with racing, but using first endurance, my body felt recovered and ready-to-go!
What do I recommend? My favorites:
EFS: this is a powder that you put in your water, my favorite is fruit punch, gives you calories for your workout and it's clear so you don't have those ridiculous stains on your shirt or around your mouth like kool-aid :)
Liquid Shot: this is a liquid that comes in a canister, carry it with you on runs or on your ride. I LOVE this stuff. Tastes delicious, and my favorite is that it comes in a pre-marked canister so you can see how much you're "shooting" as you're running, so you know how many calories you're taking in.
Ultragen: Where to begin? This is a powder that you can put in water or milk or mix in a shake post-workout. This stuff is addictive. I swear. I love the Cappuccino flavor and sometimes i'll workout even harder knowing I can have this after :) I have zero time to stretch these days. I walk in the door and I have to chase after a toddler. Dave will mix me up some Ultragen with skim milk and boom, around 300 protein filled calories and i'm ready to carry on through my day.
I love these products and I use them because they WORK. Far too many products out there are stuffed with "fillers" that you don't need and could be why I was left with many an upset stomach through most of my long-distance training.
So....as you're investing in triathlon, or any sport that requires some training, go the extra mile, do your homework and invest in a good nutrition plan!!