With triathlon and running season approaching, let’s take a look at the importance to the endurance athlete of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits.
Lean down to increase speed
Athletes know that every extra pound wastes energy and hurts performance. Hence, the gravitation toward feather-weight running shoes and carbon-based bikes you can lift with a finger. The goal? Reduce weight and increase speed. However, an often-overlooked weight factor of athletes looking for speed is their body weight.
Award-winning endurance sports journalist and best-selling author Matt Fitzgerald has written more than twenty books on triathlon, running, fitness and nutrition, including Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance. In it, Fitzgerald writes that you can better your performance by being leaner rather than adding more hours to your training schedule.
Fitzgerald’s six steps to race weight success include:
Quality of diet
Managing your appetite
Balancing your energy sources
Monitoring weight and performance
Timing nutrition throughout the day
Training to get – and stay – lean. Fitzgerald suggests that an important element to getting leaner is managing hunger. Differentiating between actual physical hunger and emotionally triggered cravings is a big step in controlling how much we eat. Keeping unhealthy foods out of reach, and healthy foods always within reach, is important.
Strength train to manage weight
Fitzgerald has found that strength training is also a key element in reaching that coveted race weight. Research proves it in the laboratory, and endurance champions prove it on the podium.
Adding strength training to your endurance training routine will not only help you to manage your weight, it will enhance many other aspects of your performance.
So, whether you are training for a triathlon or a long distance running event, add some strength work into your training plan on a regular basis.