Taper Nutrition for Ironman – by Nicola Drabble.

Iron Man is just around the corner.  Although I’m not doing it, I will be down in PE supporting my fiancé Jonathan.  I feel like we have been eating, sleeping and breathing Iron Man since September and I have no idea what we are going to talk about afterward!  We were chatting about his tapering nutrition over the weekend and I thought I would share a few tips with you all.

As your training volume will be decreasing over the week, so you need to decrease the amount of calories you consume.  You don’t want to run the risk of gaining even as little as 2 kg over the week as you will feel it on race day.

  1. Don’t over eat at meal times. Try eat smaller more frequent meals.  Slow down and chew 30 times as this will help you feel fuller.
  2. Make sure your meals are balanced. Eating sufficient nutrients from all food groups is very important.  Remember to include different colors of vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates, and lean proteins.
  3. Stick to foods that are normal to you and that your body knows. You don’t want to eat something different that will cause any gastric upset and stay away from spicy foods.
  4. Cut down on caffeine. It is recommended you don’t have any caffeine after 11am to ensure no sleep disturbances.  Also, if you will be using caffeine supplements on race day, by reducing your caffeine throughout the week, it will give you more of a boost of race day.
  5. Increase your salt intake the day before the race.  You can season your foods a little more than usual and if needs be take a salt tablet.  Research has shown that increasing salt before the event is more effective than overloading on race day and will help decrease bloating and fullness.
  6. The day before the race make sure you have a good lunch with either pasta, rice or potatoes, vegetables and lean protein. Your dinner should be smaller to reduce gastric upset and to ensure a good nights sleep.  A sandwich or wrap with a protein filling will be sufficient.  Try to eat at least 2 hours before you intend to go to sleep to prevent reflux.
  7. Dehydration can result in fatigue and loss of concentration, therefore preventing dehydration is key to sustained performance. Start hydrating at least two days before race. Your urine should be just yellow/ straw colored.  If its dark/ you can smell it you are dehydrated.
  8. Lastly SLEEP! I know it is not possible for all of you, but try to get in an extra hour throughout the week.

    Website:  www.nicoladrabble.co.za

    Facebook: Nicola Drabble – Registered Dietitian

    Twitter: @NicolaDrabbleRD

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