It’s a 3-day endurance event not for the faint-hearted. Over three big days, you swim 5km, ride 300km,and run 50km.
Recently Triathlon Nutrition Academy athlete, Jody Walker, competed and not only finished as the first female overall, but also smashed a bunch of course records in the process. Woohoo!!
When she was preparing for this race, she found there wasn’t a lot of information out there about the Ultra355 (race reports or interviews), so naturally, we asked her to jump on the podcast and share her experiences with you.
What made her want to do Ultra355
A goal/deadline - motivation to recover from an injury
What type of training prepares you for a 3-day endurance event
Training - anything from 16-18 hours to 20 -21 hours
Taking nutrition seriously –...
Counter intuitive for many triathletes I know - those over-achieving personality types who love data, numbers, keeping track and keeping control.
I’m not saying stop if you are currently tracking and love it BUT you don’t need to track or start tracking. You can lose weight/drop body fat without having to count calories.
What to consider when counting calories:
Limitations with recording – Label tolerance – did you know the labels can state 20% on either side - different from actual?
The accuracy when estimating portions. When you eat at home you can weigh – but when you eat out you have to estimate.
Research shows that by tracking what you eat when you record, you can change your habits BUT are you being accurate and truthful when you record?
There are limitations with estimating...
When you have that dialled in – you will have more energy, get to your ideal body composition, recover faster, perform better in the second/third session for the day and not be stuck on the couch after long rides – SUPERCHARGED!
The BIGGEST mistake triathletes make when it comes to their nutrition? To be honest, there are MANY! But I think the top three biggest mistakes triathletes make are:
Not fuelling properly during training
Yet most triathletes see a dietitian LAST, after they've:
Tried and failed to get their ideal body composition
Tried every random fad or quick fix diet
Struggled with fuelling and vomited their guts up on the run, had to race to the loo multiple times, or planned their training runs around the toilets on their route!
Bonked, hit the wall, repeatedly fallen into a hole or peeled themselves off the pavement
Suffered from a stress injury/fracture or chronic fatigue.
As an Advanced Sports Dietitian, I can help you with your training and a meal/race plan and I've worked with many triathletes, both 1:1 and in the Triathlon Nutrition Academy. What I, and they, can tell you, is the long term benefits kick in when you engage further - take ownership, prioritise your overall health and learn and understand the foundations - the HOW and WHY of...
Once you’ve figured out the basics of the sport – what you put in your mouth is the next thing you need to turn your attention to (BEFORE you drop $20K on a new bike) because nutrition really is the fourth leg! Your body is what’s going to get you to the finish line faster.
Success from triathlon comes from being minimally affected by the swim and the ride. It's about getting to the run in the best possible shape that you can, so that you can continuously run without stopping or bonking or hitting the wall or vomiting your guts up and trying to keep a nice even pace on the run.
I explain the 'what, why and how to' of triathlon training nutrition 101 - the foundations including:
Pre training nutrition
It's so hard to pick just 3! There are so many things you should be doing to improve performance.
My advice - get the fundamentals sorted first. Instead of chasing shiny objects and doing the 1%ers – here's where we need to be.
My 3 nutrition habits you should be doing every day to help improve your performance as a triathlete:
1. RECOVERY NUTRITION
2. EAT A VARIETY OF PLANT BASED FOODS
FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES, NUTS, SEEDS, LEGUMES
This statement may be seen as controversial - but if I don't say it, then who will!??
Putting my Advanced Sports Dietitian's hat on, I can tell you that aiming for 120g of carbs an hour is a mistake!
And let me tell you why...
For the majority of you, it is a mistake, because you're not going to be able to tolerate that level of fueling.
A number of people have mentioned protein powders to me lately – as if it was the best thing in the world. I’m going to dive a little deeper into protein powders (and try not to offend supplement companies in the process!!)
FIRSTLY – I have a food first philosophy. It is extremely easy to get enough protein from food without the need to supplement.
As a supplement, that’s exactly what they should be used as: an addition to a balanced diet when you can’t get enough protein through real food for whatever reason.
Reasons we might advise using a protein powder:
Academy member, Renee, is a great example of how eating more strategically, instead of constantly trying to eat less and cutting carbohydrates, can lead to body fat loss, without really trying.
In our recent podcast episode, Renee shared her nutrition journey prior to seeking support from an endurance sports dietitian specialist. She’s been on a big ride (pun intended) and has seen many nutritionists, dietitians, naturopaths etc.
Some of the key light bulb moments she’s realised about eating for triathlon…
You don’t have to count calories to lose weight
Eating more carbohydrates hasn’t led to weight gain
By eating more strategically around training, it’s easy to achieve your body composition goals
Understanding how to fuel for swim, bike, run has...
I like to take a holistic approach to triathlon. I’ve got the nutrition side covered but feel it’s of value to bring in experts to help you in other areas.
Triathlon is a crazy sport. Training for three sports means you’re up early, home late, you may have a full-time job you need to work around too.
Then the weekend can be taken up by 6 hours rides, long runs. Or race weekends away for races, training camps etc. All this means there aren’t many hours left in the day or days in the week to be at home spending time with your partner.
I see couples and families break down because of triathlon. One partner does the sport and the other doesn’t and it can put a strain on relationships. Or, even if they are there as your no. 1 crew, everything usually gets put on hold until after event. This is where relationships can also break down.
When you don’t have the support of those important to you, not having your mind in the game can...