Being an age-group triathlete is tough. There's no denying that we all have a lot to balance when you decide to call yourself an athlete as an adult. Taining, life, sleep, work are always in a tight balance but when the training picks up in peak season, it's critical that nutrition does not get pushed to the side in order to train more. Sadly, many athletes fall victim to the typical scenario of more time with training = less time for meal planning.
Although being tired, exhausted and not having enough time are common (and valid) excuses for not being consistent with meal prep, if you care about your health and athletic development and want to make the most out of your training, it's important to get your nutrition in order by planning ahead. Waiting until you are hungry or trying to make food decisions in the face of exhaustion will not let you make the best decisions. Additionally, waiting too long to eat or not caring about what you eat will neither assist in ideal fueling/refueling. Understanding that the way that you fuel yourself between two workouts dictates how quickly you can recover and adapt to training, your training doesn't end when you finish a workout and wipe the sweat off your face, while cooling off in the AC. As an endurance athlete, nutrition can't be an afterthought as it is part of training.
Although meal prep involves planning and that takes time, you are taking control over your diet when you plan ahead. Considering the food choices that athletes make when they are exhausted, starving, lacking an appetite, tired or even rushed, meal prep makes post-workout eating convenient, accessible, easy and effective. And since most endurance athletes are checking off their longest workouts on the weekend, you will have more time for rest and recovery when you know that your meals are ready for consumption.
While I hope that you are making healthy eating part of your weekly routine, I can't overstress the importance of prepping food for your weekend training so that you can get the most out of your body when you place the most stress on your body.
Here are some of the foods that I prepped for this past weekend of training. I can't tell you how great it felt knowing that real food was ready for us when we returned home from our hot and exhausting workouts and finished up our recovery drinks.
Potato and veggie egg casserolePeppers, onions and corn layered on the bottom of a casserole dish, coated with olive oil. Then topped with thinly sliced potatoes and covered with 5 scrambled eggs (seasoned with salt, pepper and mixed with a splash of milk). Baked at 425 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Then topped with cheddar cheese.
Refreshing veggie "salad"
Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and garlic, mixed with chopped mozzarella and dressed with olive oil, salt and lemon vinaigrette.
Sweet potato cookies, banana bread and banana bread muffins
All from Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook.