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Improve Your Performance by Improving Training Availability

Mar 08, 2024

Training availability is an important consideration for every high-performance endurance athlete. Illness or injury can leave you unable to train properly and set your goals back weeks or even months. Fellow sports dietitian Dane Baker joins me to share practical tips for improving our immune system and overall training availability.

Training availability refers to an athlete's ability to consistently train or be available to play. 

Injury and illness are the main factors that can disrupt training availability, and setback an athlete's goals. While we can take steps to reduce the risk of illness and injury, it’s impossible to completely stop them from occurring. This is why Dane prefers a focus on immune tolerance over immune resistance. By building a robust immune system, athletes are better equipped to tolerate illness and reduce its impact on training. 

If you’re looking for ways to build a stronger immune system, Dane recommends focusing on these key factors:


Good nutrition plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and minimising the impact of illness on training availability.  We touch on some key nutrients in this research, like zinc and vitamin C that bind to the pathogen which may reduce inflammation and help you tolerate the illness better. Similarly, there's some pretty good research to show that probiotics can decrease incidences and shorten the effects of illness. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to rely on supplements.  Consuming a proper diet provides more than enough of these essential nutrients.

Rest and Recovery

Adequate rest is essential when an athlete falls ill. Rushing back into training can lead to further setbacks. Gradually increasing the training load under proper guidance can help athletes regain strength while minimising the risk of recurrent illnesses. Remember to focus on quality instead of quantity when resuming training. 

Getting Good Sleep

Adequate sleep and recovery are vital for maintaining a robust immune system. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can weaken the immune system, making athletes more susceptible to illness and increasing the likelihood of training disruptions due to illness or injury.

Travel Considerations

Travelling for races or competitions exposes athletes to an increased risk of illness. We touch on a few strategies that can keep you safer: 

  1. Minimise exposure: Wash hands frequently, avoid touching frequently touched surfaces, and consider wearing a mask in crowded areas.
  2. Plan strategically: After a demanding race or competition, a lot of athletes just want to be at home in their own bed, but we need to prioritise recovery. Taking a rest day and allowing for proper recovery before returning home can help prevent illness.
  3. Post-race nutrition: Pay attention to nutrition even after crossing the finish line. The post-race period is a critical time when immune systems can be compromised. Make sure you’re still getting those nutrients that support your immune system (like Probiotics and Vitamin C), during and after travel. 

Training availability is a key contributor to improved performance for athletes in all sports. Dane Baker shares what you need to know to understand this concept, monitor its impact, and address the key factors that affect it.  By prioritising big rocks like nutrition, sleep, stress management, and proper recovery, athletes can improve their immune system's tolerance, reduce illness incidence, and unlock their full potential! 


Ready to start working on your nutrition? Put the right foundations in place with our Triathlon Nutrition Kickstarter Course!
Consider it your warmup on the path to becoming a SUPERCHARGED Triathlete! ⚡


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