Nutrition and weight-loss
At the start of this program I felt that whilst not overweight, I could do with knocking 4 kg off – no point in carrying dead weight around, even on a flat course like Lisbon. However to balance this I also must ensure that my training time isn’t compromised by a lack of energy or a failure to recover between sessions.
There were several factors I had to take into account when arriving at the correct nutrition strategy. In the 70.3 I mustn’t go into the run in a glycogen depleted state. I also don’t want to start the bike section burning carbs – which should thus help preserve glycogen for the run. To that end I’ve focused on efforts to enhance fat burning on the bike and learning to take carbs on board during runs.
Remember, before this program my longest runs were recreational 1 hour trail runs so there was never a need to take fluids or carbs with me. Conversely I rode bikes for fun and had no need to restrict carb intake on rides.
So, the routine I’ve settled on is to do all my bike training in a fasted state and restrict carbs for the first hour. I’m using Zipvit Sport ZV0 hydration tabs until 75 mins into a ride then supplementing the fluids with ZV7 gels and ZV8 bars.
On runs, even short interval sessions, I’m taking gels onboard, getting used to the feeling of running hard and taking gels without water – something that whilst not ideal, may be the reality during the race.
All my swims are in a fasted state too, which will also be the case at the event.
Post-training recovery is something I’m putting a great emphasis on, so the use of both recovery drinks and regular food immediately after training ensures that from session to session recovery is optimised. I’ve found the biggest recovery boost coming from ZV5 night-time recovery drink. On days when I should be shredded, I’m waking up fresh. Typically, lunch is my first meal of the day.
As far as weight-loss is concerned, I’ve taken several small steps that can be boosted if necessary should I not be getting lean enough as the race approaches. Other than during and after training I don’t take on any high GI carbs. I also don’t take on any fructose from any source – fruit included. There are no nutrients in fruit that I can’t get from vegetables and I believe that we’re too prone to converting fructose to body fat unless exercising.
I’ve been keen to place energy and recovery ahead of weight-loss until I get accustomed to new training patterns. Nevertheless a week before my first month weigh-in my watch is loose on my wrist and I can remove my jeans without undoing the button.
Other than avoiding high GI carbs, there are a few other little tweaks I’ve been keeping in my back pocket to encourage fat loss. At the end of this week I’ll know if I have to put them to work.
I feel the nutrition side is working well, closer to the race I’ll do some race simulation of my energy and fluid intake and if necessary step up fat loss efforts. But for now though it’s all looking positive and even a glass of wine with evening meals has been permitted.
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Next week: mind games