While fuelling with the right foods at the right time is paramount for a successful triathlon training session, appropriate fuelling after your training session is equally important.
For triathletes training across three different sports, this often requires multiple training sessions in one day, or significantly longer training sessions – so eating for recovery is essential to support training sessions throughout the week and ensure you’re able to get the most out of every session.
There are some key aspects of recovery nutrition which play a role in supporting the body’s recovery from training sessions. Two particularly important nutrients of focus for triathlon recovery nutrition include carbohydrates and protein.
During an intense training session, your body utilises carbohydrate as it’s predominant fuel source. In order to recover from the training and allow your body to prepare for future exercise, those carbohydrate stores need to be replenished. This can be achieved by consuming a carbohydrate rich snack or meal after completing your training session (within 60-90 minutes is ideal).
Carb-rich post-training snack ideas:
- Fruit smoothie
- Rice cakes
Carb-rich post-training meal ideas:
Whether you opt for a snack or a bigger meal option will depend on what is most convenient or appropriate for the timing of your training session. Aim to consume 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight for triathlon recovery. For example, a 70kg athlete should aim to consume 70-113 grams of carbohydrate following a training session.
During a triathlon training session, your body and muscles are placed under physical stress which causes small, but necessary ‘damage’ to the muscles. This physical stress is essential as it acts as a stimulus for training adaptations to occur, in layman’s terms it helps you grow stronger and faster. However, for these changes to occur successfully and the muscles to recover it’s important to fuel them with the right nutrition. Protein is essential for this process, as it contains amino acids which work in the body to start the process of repairing damaged muscle and preventing further breakdown.
To best support muscle recovery and growth, aim to consume a high-quality source of protein as soon as possible following your training session. Ideally, aiming to consume 15-30g of protein is recommended. If your next main meal is more than 30 minutes after the end of your session, this can be included in the form of a snack.
Protein-rich post-training snack ideas:
- Greek yoghurt
- Protein smoothie
It can also be included as a main meal which include a lean source of protein such as chicken, beef, tofu, fish etc.
Protein-rich post-training meal ideas:
- A chicken and salad bread roll
- Tuna wrap
- Beef based pasta
To best support recovery from training it is important to include a source of both carbohydrate and high-quality protein as soon as possible following training. This will work to not only support your recovery, but also energy and general health and immunity throughout your training schedule.