Training for a triathlon is not just about swimming, biking, and running, like a lot, but it is also about getting adequate sleep, eating right, eating enough, stretching/foam rolling, cross training, making time for your social life, and staying sane. I have put together a relatively “light” training schedule for myself with two workouts from each discipline (swim, bike, run) plus one cross training (yoga, strength training, or pilates) workout each week. More intense training plans might include a third day for one or all three disciplines. Either way, recovery is super important. During heavy training, proper nutrition morning, noon, and night, is essential for recovery, but it is particularly important before and after workouts. Before, because you need enough fuel to get through your workout, and after to replenish your energy stores while your body is in a heightened mode of insulin sensitivity.
This weekend I had a 1 hour long swim on Friday evening, a 4 mile running time trial on Saturday morning, and a 2 hour bike ride with some climbing on Sunday morning. I wanted to make sure I had enough energy to make it through my planned activities in addition to recovering and feeling good for my next activity, so here is what I ate to fuel my workouts this weekend…
I started off Saturday morning with a cup of tea and nice and voluminous bowl of four seed porridge with a heaping 1/2 cup of frozen cherries and cinnamon sugar pecan butter.
Two hours later I went out for a 4 mile time trial run. My goal was to run at the maximum pace I could sustain for 4 miles, which was about an 8 out of 10 on a scale of perceived exertion. The motivation behind doing a time trial is to establish a baseline to track future improvements, and set heart rate and pace zones based on the results. Training with zones deserves its own post, but in a nutshell, it makes you a more well rounded athlete, maximizes training with minimal impact on your body, and can prevent overtraining.
The weather was beautiful, the course I did was nice and flat, and I felt great! I actually surprised myself with the pace I was able to sustain for the full 4 miles. I have always been a slow runner, mainly because I never pushed myself past my comfort zone. Over the past year and a half I have been challenging myself a bit more, and I am realizing that I can actually run faster than I think. After a 10 minute warm up, I ended up finishing the 4 miles in 34:52, making my average pace 08:43 min per mile at an average heart rate of 173 bpm. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me, because I am used to seeing an average 10:00 min per mile pace and a heart rate over 180 bpm on my Garmin. I cannot wait to see how I improve over the course of the triathlon season.
After kicking my own @$$ I came home and did some light yoga stretches while roasting some butternut squash to go alongside leftover slow cooker chicken tacos.
These tacos were super easy and tasty. The original recipe can be found on Pass The Sushi.
In the morning, I threw the following in the slow cooker:
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
8 oz enchilada sauce (check to make sure it is gluten free!)
4 teaspoons taco seasoning (also check to make sure it is gluten free!)
a few dashes of Cholula hot sauce
a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper
Set it on low for 4.5 hours. After it was done, I removed the chicken breasts to a cutting board, shredded them with two forks, placed them back into the slow cooker, stirred in 2 oz of cream cheese and 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese, and voila! I served them with corn tortillas, black beans, roasted butternut squash, salsa, cilantro, and chopped spinach. Check out the fiancé’s stunning 3 taco version from the previous night. Isn’t he lucky?!
Later that day we went to the Denver Art Museum with my Sister and family to celebrate her birthday. We snapped photos on the deck with the timer while they checked out the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit.
The following morning, in preparation for my bike ride and attempt to celebrate Easter Sunday, I tried out a new buckwheat/quinoa pancake recipe. Guess what happened?!
Pancake FAIL!! However, I made them edible with blueberries, cinnamon sugar pecan butter, and coconut flakes. I can’t even count how many times I have had pancake failures for breakfast. I follow a recipe each time and I am amazed at how many pancake recipes I come across don’t work. Maybe I should just stick with recipes I know do work. Oh well, it gave me enough fuel for my ride.
Before heading out a few hours later I packed a few of these guys and mixed up some lemon lime Skratch labs hydration mix in my water bottle. I love this stuff. No mystery ingredients or wild colors, with subtle sweetness and sustained energy.
After riding for about 1 hour and 45 minutes with 1,300 ft of elevation gain with some of my new lady friends, I came home and heated up leftovers from my Sister’s birthday celebration dinner the previous night at The Cheesecake Factory (GASP!). I had “SinnyLicious” Shrimp Creole with brown rice, heated up with frozen okra and spinach for extra greens.
My number one tip to make leftovers more voluminous, nutritious, and enjoyable: add more vegetables! Oh, and hot sauce always helps too.
I also had a granny smith apple while doing some stretching and foam rolling.
Providing your body with proper nutrition during heavy training does not stop at before and after activity, it is important all day every day. Centering your diet around whole/unprocessed foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fat, omega-3s, and fibrous vegetables will help maximize your recovery, so you feel great for your next workout. Trust me.
And now for the giveaway winner…
I loved reading about your creative nut butter concoctions! You have all surely inspired me. My favorites were: cinnamon roll, vanilla chai, s’mores, and cinnamon plum. Without further adieu the winner of a batch of my chili-cherry-carob almond butter is…
Congratulations Ray! Please email me at nwstobsession (at) gmail (dot) com with your address and I will send it out soon! Thanks to everyone else for entering, be sure to try making the recipe for yourself.