Gold medalists love this triathlon breakfast

There’s no denying that the 2021 Olympics were quite controversial, but they were still highly inspiring, both during the competitions themselves, as well as in more personal ways. (Also, do we all agree that there is a need for more equestrian dressage in the world?)

Although, hey, a person can dream—especially when it comes to being an Olympic athlete—learning about their training habits can help us get better at our own workouts. Unless you’re a four-minute mile runner, shouldn’t you know what sneakers a speedy runner can wear? During lockdown, how did they keep training?

The gold medalist triathlete Flora Duffy, from Bermuda, used Brooks running shoes when COVID-19 kept her from training at the gym. Additionally, she shared what she eats for breakfast before a game with CNN, saying that she always eats rice, a banana, and an avocado before a game. Three staples found at your local grocery store; nothing fancy or complicated.

Curious whether or not Duffy’s triathlon breakfast would win her a gold medal from a dietitian, I decided to ask one I was friendly with, Kelly Jones, RD, what she thought of the meal. What if you jogged before a long run? Would it work? She uses it as a pre-run breakfast for her professional athletes, college athletes, and nonathletes, all of whom have different workout routines.

“Rice and bananas are the best carbohydrate sources for runners, since they contain a good amount of energy. Their low fiber content will not disappoint those who feel excessively full during a race.” Jones says. Keeping blood sugar from going up and down too fast can result in feeling lethargic and hungry.” So the carbs in the rice and banana supply readily available energy, and the fat in the avocado helps prevent the body from using that up too quickly. Throughout the race, energy is therefore more stable and sustained.

It’s probably the first thing you think: Where is the protein? American’s are pretty hooked on this nutrient after all. Jones says you shouldn’t eat a lot of protein before a marathon, as you need it more after you workout and during recovery. Considering a triathlon breakfast, she says carbohydrates are more beneficial from an energy standpoint. The purpose of this is to maximize the body’s ability to store carbohydrate in muscles as glycogen, which allows the athlete to maintain a higher intensity for a longer period. As carbs make up so much of the diet, there won’t be as much room for fat and protein as normal. A high carb breakfast before a race will top off glycogen stores in the body, and will also maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of avocado:

Although protein isn’t necessary before a triathlon, Jones recommends eating moderate amounts to support the immune system and reduce muscle damage during long distances. Runners who run for an hour or more require additional carbohydrates, otherwise they’ll be too drained to finish. “This can be in the form of sports drinks, sports gels or blocks, or even honey or maple water, since they’re the most digestible forms during activity and will go straight into someone’s bloodstream more rapidly than rice or a banana,” she says.

The perfect triathlon breakfast cosigned by a registered dietitian. In order to keep going in the long run, you need foods that provide long-term energy. Are you tired of being bored when the miles keep going? Those are entirely different matters.

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