Two weeks ago, I completed my first triathlon!! (The Lake Tahoe Triathlon – Olympic Distance)
Honestly, I did not train hardcore for this event. I did some mountain biking with friends, surfed a bunch, and hiked trails in Tahoe (I will add I did a few swims in the lake and had a couple of days of running). However, I did prepare myself with fueling myself right.
I felt great during the entire triathlon! (except beforehand, when I looked around and everybody had a wet suit on except for me…but I didn’t get cold) During the race, my energy level stayed steady, I did not get any cramps, and my mind was focused on completing my goal — not stopping, and completing the entire event.
Here is some of the nutrition guidelines I followed for before my race and to during.
Three weeks prior to the triathlon I followed a diet that I would recommend to any athlete preparing for a distance event. My meals included a mixture of a carbohydrate+protein+fat mixture of 45%:carbohydrates + 40%:protein + 15%:fat. I felt this provided me with just enough carbohydrates without overdoing it, enough protein for muscle recovery, and a good amount of fat for basic body function and repair.
An example of a good mixed/complete dinner could be: 1 chicken breast, 1 sweet potato with olive oil and cinnamon, 1 cup of green beans sautéed with olive oil. (This is a simple example..I can’t give all of my secrets out 😉 )
The morning of the race, I did stray far away from my typical breakfast. This is extremely important, as you don’t want to confuse your digestive system! I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich and ate that before I left my house. So yummy! Something good for a kids lunch too.. Anyways, I normally drink coffee, but I skipped out on my morning brew this day just to prevent a midday crash and/or dehydration (caffeine tends to do this). I ate a Cliff bar about an hour before the start of my race. You don’t want to overfill yourself, but you also need to make sure you have enough! Tricky line..
Walking out to the lake to start my swim, my energy level was on point, yet I was a little cold since the sun hadn’t come up yet. I looked around, and apparently I missed the memo to wear a wet-suit. I was pretty much the only one without one. Oops. As soon as I jumped into the water, the coldness was gone and adrenaline kicked in. I was strong throughout the entire swim, placing 30th overall out of 150. Not bad for most of my swim training being from surfing! No wet-suit obviously didn’t effect me..ha.
After the swim, I changed into my biking/running gear (I have not become hardcore into it enough to have a different biking/running outfit, I also kept my swimsuit on). Before I left with my bike, I drank about 8oz of Gatorade, a few sips of water, and ate three Cliff Bar Shot Blocks (Margarita flavor of course).
The bike ride was HARD!! I was not expecting how difficult the steep hills would be, and then the switch backs were around Emerald Bay towards midway were killers! My mountain biking practice was a lot different from road biking, but…I survived! I ate around 3 shot blocks during the first half of the race (I shoved some down my shirt and grabbed them while riding, another reason I’m single?) I had a water bottle on my bike, and would grab this whenever I was on a straight road and sip it. At the halfway point of the biking, I drank 8oz of Gatorade and drank one of the Gatorade Goos that were given out (grossssss). Coming towards the finish, I ate the last margarita shot block as part of celebration that the biking was complete.
I dropped off my bike, drank some more Gatorade then went for a little 9 mile jog on an unpaved trail. After the first mile, it was all numb legs and mindless running to the finish. I had a shot of the Gatorade Goo (yuck) at the halfway point, and drank a cup of water at each of the hydration stations. I didn’t fuel up much on the running part, as I knew I was coming towards the end of the triathlon and still felt energized. No need to over fuel yourself, this could get you a late race crash. And, to the finish without stopping did I make it! Woo Hoo!
Since the event was sponsored by Sierra Nevada….there was a beer waiting for me right next to the finish line 😉 Prefect way to re-hydrate! (Not really, but it tasted amazing)
Would I do this again?? Heck yes, except my training regimen may include some more structure 😉