With an Ironman in my future, nutrition and training has taken the spotlight. I had the opportunity to speak with an Ironman a few months ago and he gave me a lot of valuable information that may be helpful to you. I've pasted the highlights below, the remaining info can be found on the above link.
- Never eat in transition. Wait to take nutrition until you are 5-10 minutes into that leg of the race. If you eat before then there is a good chance you'll get sick.
- Take in nutrition every 30 minutes, at least. As an endurance athlete you need to take in enough to keep your performance strong (Me, being the silly girl that I am was cutting my nutrition intake down to facilitate weight loss)
- What you eat the night before a hard training session matters more than what you eat that morning. It takes about 8-12 hours for your body to metabolize the nutrients.
- This may not be true for everyone but he had better hard training days when he consumed a higher amount of protein the night before. A 1/2 block of tofu or the equivalent.
- Alternate your speed work and distance work; you cannot do both at the same time. Ideally you want to build a solid base of distance and then work on speed.
- Add at least one sprint run workout a week to your regimen. It will help you get faster. Try a 10 second sprint, 30 second walk set 10 times. Or a pyramid where you sprint 25m, walk 25m, sprint 50m, walk 50m up to 200m.
- Bike fit is critical to a good race. Some people like a loose fit while others like it tighter, play around and find out what's best for you.
- All those fancy aerodynamic helmets and zip wheels don't help you on race day. Studies have shown that those only help if you're maintaining 30+ mph speeds.
- Rotate your focuses. I.e. focus on swim one week, run the next, and bike the following week. This can be done in monthly rotations as well.
- The fastest runners have the shortest steps. The elite racers have about 120 foot falls per minute while the average runner has 80. Improve your turnover by doing high stepping drills.
- A lot of triathletes are now moving towards the natural body movement training. This means instead of hitting the weights they do a series of push ups, crunches and pull ups. Start with 15 of each and do 10 times.
- Never skimp on sleep. Get at least 8 hours; this is when your body recovers from a hard workout.