Thinking of Joining USA Triathlon?

Be a part of our 550,000 member community of multisport athletes. Membership benefits include a subscription to the quarterly USA Triathlon magazine, discounts from USA Triathlon partners, inclusion in the national rankings, excess accident insurance at events, and savings at races. To see why you should join or renew today, visit the membership benefits page. Already a member? Login below.

Forgot Your Password? | Login Help

Fueling for an Ironman

By Marni Sumbal

I believe that training and racing in a triathlon, especially at Iron-distance, is a gift. The more that I think about it, any time you challenge your body with an athletic goal, it is a very special thing. From 5k running to marathon running and any other sport that makes you happy, your body is a gift that allows you to get stronger, faster and more skilled.

Therefore, the opportunity that many of us have to use our body for sports is something that should not be taken for granted. So rather than making training and racing your life, it is important to recognize that training and racing is your lifestyle, because you are healthy and well enough to train and race in your sport of choice.

You can't out-train a poorly planned diet. If your body does not receive the necessary nutrients to stay in optimal health, there is no way that your body will perform and adapt during exercise like you desire.

So rather than spending all of your energy, time and money on sport nutrition products, training plans and expensive equipment, consider the power of food to fuel your active lifestyle.

On Sunday, I will be doing my sixth Ironman. My diet has not changed throughout this journey from what I normally eat on a day-to-day basis without training for an Ironman. The only thing that changes with training is my sport nutrition as I always adjust what I eat/drink before, during and after training based on my workout load/volume and intensity. I always fuel my body before workouts, I always fuel during workouts and I always fuel post-workout; what and how I fuel differs depending on the training.

What never changes is my appreciation of real food to fuel my muscles, brain and body. It not only helps me prevent disease but it tastes good and leaves me satisfied and happy.

Here are a few of my recent creations that have been fueling my Ironman journey. You might find that these fit into your nutrition plan for your next big race — why not give one of them a try? Enjoy!

Baked pasta casserole
Cooked pasta and macaroni noodles
Mushrooms
Broccoli
Red bell pepper (sliced)
1 can tomato Parmesan soup
Cheddar cheese
Nutritional yeast  (~2 tbsp)

 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In casserole dish (rectangle) pour can of soup and add veggies. Cover with noodles (about 1/2 cup per person) and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
3. Slice a few pieces of cheddar brick cheese to place on the noodles and season with your choice of herbs/spices.
4. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until noodles are crispy. 

m 
 

PB&J  morning eats
2 slices whole grain bread
Smuckers Natural PB
100% Fruit jam
Raisins, walnuts and honey
Greek yogurt plain (0% Chobani or Fage are my fav)
Fresh fruit

 m
 Fresh fruit and breakfast bread
2 slices bakery breakfast bread
Fresh fruit and plain yogurt
 m

Roasted potatoes w/ mixed whole grains and veggies
White and sweet potatoes (sliced)
Mixed whole grains (cooked - I mixed brown rice, spelt berries and wild rice and cooked for about 90 minutes)
Tofu (firm)
Mushrooms
Red bell pepper
Frozen corn
Sunflower oil 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes on baking sheet and toss in about 1 tbsp oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and season to your liking with a little salt and rosemary.
2. In casserole dish, place veggies and tofu and bake until soft (they won't brown in the glass dish).

 m

Eggplant lasagna
1 large eggplant - sliced
Marinara sauce
Firm tofu (crumbled before placing in dish)
Corn (from the cob, cooked and then sliced off)
Spinach
Garlic (chopped)
Shredded cheese
Nutritional yeast
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In large casserole dish, light coat with a little olive oil before layering.
3. LAYERS: Eggplant, marinara, tofu, corn, spinach, garlic, nutritional yeast. Repeat. Then top with a little cheese.
4. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until eggplant is lightly brown and soft. 

 m

Risotto with veggies and tofu
Corn (cooked)
Tofu (grilled on skillet in a little oil until brown)
Chives
Risotto (or jasmine/orzo)
Mushrooms (cooked)
Zucchini  (cooked)
Marinara

Combine in a bowl starting with the veggies and then top with a serving of rice. Mix together with marinara. 

 m
Summer salad
Avocado
Mango
Carrots
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Almonds
Mixed leafy greens
Cranberries
 m
 

Sweet and spicy tempeh w/ fruit
Tempeh
Quinoa
Broccoli
Peaches
Cherries
Olive oil

1. Grill tempeh on skillet on medium heat in a little olive oil.
2. Cook quinoa according to package (1:2 ratio of quinoa to water) while tempeh is cooking.
3. Slice fruit and steam broccoli. 

 m
 

Summer veggies w/ quinoa
Beets  (fresh, cooked)
Tofu
Mushrooms
Onions
Sliced cheese
Red quinoa
Fresh basil
Corn on the cob
Hard boiled egg
Olive oil

 m

 

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, and is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC, providing one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, Fla., area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a USA Triathlon Level I Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% Play Harder, Brooks ID, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. She enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to IronGirl.com and Ironman online in addition to USA Triathlon.

To contact Marni, email trimarnicoaching@gmail.com, visit her blog trimarniblogspot.com or her website trimarnicoach.com.

Active.com