Strength and Conditioning for the Endurance Athlete - Nutritional Considerations

We’ve all been there… staring at the stairs with dread the day after a strength and conditioning session. Perhaps, you’ve even tried a run the next day and found your legs just aren’t what you’d expect. What is causing the muscle soreness that we often experience after S&C? Is it a bad thing? And are there any nutrition strategies we can use to prevent this feeling?

As a triathlete, when we strength train, our body is put under a different stress to what it might usually experience during a typical swim, bike or run session. Our muscles become sore due to the microscopic damage that occurs. But this damage isn’t ‘bad’ - its an important part of the adaptation process, and is ultimately going to make us stronger and fitter.

But, the right nutrition also has a role to play – it can help reduce the soreness, is critical in how our body adapts to the strength training, and ensures we are ready to go for our next swim/bike/run session. From a nutritional perspective, there are 2 key things we should consider:

1. Carbohydrates

You might be surprised to see carbs at the top of this list! But if we think about the exercise pattern of a strength session, it has a lot of similarities to an interval session we might do on the bike or run. OK, there is probably a little more rest in between sets during the strength session, but carbs are still key to fuelling much of this training. As a result, you end the strength session with lower muscle glycogen levels (the carbs stored in our muscle).