Triathlons are brutal on the body. For all their rewards, if you’re not doing the right things before, during and after exercise, you’re going to suffer come race day.
“Remember to get the basics right”, says Ana Maria Cretu. “Keep a good balance between physical preparation and the goals you’d like to achieve”. Featuring in World and European Triathlon Championships across the globe, Ana is no stranger to big challenges.
And it’s this balance of training, nutrition and mindset that contributes to your ability to endure more. So let’s explore three principles all triathletes need to master…
- Don’t over-train
“You’ll find it’s more harm than good in the long term” says Cretu. “You (and your body) need to have the right rest. Know your limits and avoid injuries as much as possible, no matter how minor. You can always do exercises in your downtime to help with this.”
Get a feel for what’s right for you. If you’re waking up every morning filled with aches and pains, it’s probably time to scale it back, or at least rethink your approach. Don’t feel pressure to do more, just because other people are, this is about you.
As Cretu explains, “By all means take inspiration and advice from others, but be sure to tailor your programme based on your own frequency, ability and race calendar. Everyone is different”.
- Eat (and drink) right
From rapid recovery to that mid-race sugar rush, what you put into your body is just as important as the energy you exert. Getting nutrition right will transform your performance and keep you at your peak for longer — and it’s not rocket science.
Carb loading is recommended in the days leading up to any training or race session that lasts longer than 90 minutes. Bananas, berries, rice, Greek yoghurt, oatmeal and whole grain bread, are all great pre-exercise foods.
Sports drinks and carb gels are the go-to energy supply for triathletes during extended training sessions and races.Staying hydrated throughout eradicates thermal stress, delays fatigue, and prevents injuries associated with dehydration and sweat loss.
For fast recovery, foods packed with complex carbohydrates and protein are essential.
- Set goals and stick to them
Like it or not, defining your goals, writing them down, sharing them with close friends and family, and repeating them in your head over and over, can greatly improve your chances of seeing real progress and achieving your dreams.
Break your goals down into smaller, more achievable ones, and suddenly everything seems a lot less daunting. If you’re taking on a standard distance event in 6 months and want to shave 10 minutes off your 10K run, work out how much time you have to knock off per month, per week, and per day. Turn that mountain into molehills!
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