While the chosen LC nutrition approach has offered me substantial benefits, I think it could be further optimized. Here are few ideas for the coming season.
Introducing changes into a new nutrition intervention, that worked so well in the previous season is quite hazardous. I think that with time I will still get more fat-adapted, and will manage to perform better in high intensity training sessions with even lower carbohydrate needs. While this can of course turn out to be false expectation, there are still a host of ideas that I would like to try in order to even further optimize nutrition – training matrix.
The first appealing intervention that caught my interest in the literature is also in total disagreement with the current mainstream (marketing?) thinking. It’s the idea of withholding carbohydrates and/or other nutrients in the hours after exercise. The training session is performed with adequate fuel to ensure the quality of training and the following recovery window with low carbohydrate availability amplifies post-exercise signaling. This approach theoretically achieves both a “training harder” (in presence of carbs) and “training smarter” (low carb induced attenuation of training) effect. While sounding good on the paper, one also needs to think of possible negative consequences, especially the likely reduction of immune system function after exercise and greater risk of overtraining.
The other thing that I will try to implement in new season is addition of more “key workouts” in high carb state. So far, I performed only a couple of long workouts with “race high” carb availability, mainly to test race nutrition strategy. I the following year I plan to perform one high intensity session per week done in high carb state during the crucial build period, 4-12 weeks before the race. While I still expect to be performing better on LC in the following year, I believe these high carb sessions will give me another positive training adaptation that could prove beneficial in race situation.
Other training-nutrition interventions suggested in literature include training after an overnight fast, prolonged training without carb intake and training twice daily with low glycogen in the second session. While I employed all of them in the previous year, mainly in base period, I think that by further optimizing their placement in my training schedule will help me achieve better training results.
On the paper these strategies look rather hazardous and not in congruence with current mainstream guidance. Therefore these changes need to be implemented precautiously and gradually, carefully monitoring the negative effects while also measuring the results. Triathlon training is certainly an art; one sometimes needs to gamble in order to achieve greater results. I undoubtedly would not stand on the podium in Hawaii and would not be writing these pages, if one year ago I didn’t took a chance and totally turned things around!