When I had a first go at a triathlon nearly 15 years ago little did I know that I would get so invested in the sport. I could swim a few lanes in the pool, had done multi-day cycle rides with a friend, a 10-miler running event and most importantly I enjoyed taking up a challenge. Looking back, I remember how I would happily fit in swim-bike-run sessions into my day and just repeat in no particular order without thinking too much about the detail.
Now that I am in my 40s with two young children and a busy job, my challenge has switched to how can I still train for triathlons and improve without getting a mental breakdown! After all, this should be fun and not adding stress!
Training for and completing my first Ironman 70.3 in 2021 has taught me one thing for sure: It is still possible. However, it does seem to have become much harder because the swim-bike-run and repeat approach does not really work in the same way anymore. There are endless colds and coughs brought home from the children, niggles/ injuries and an ever more demanding job I now have to contempt with. It’s such a fine balancing act not to tip over into the dreaded overreaching status on my watch which can easily turn into a cascade of disaster thereafter.
Of course there are no magic answers, and everyone’s circumstances are different. In my case, there is one thing however I have started doing and that is to finally track my menstrual cycle AND experiment with advice on how to train/ eat/ fuel during different days of my cycle. It’s a no brainer really but why only now? Well, maybe because sports science has historically developed around men and not so much around the unique physiologies of women so there just has not been much information out there.
One example is that I never had a clue that during the second half of my cycle (luteal) there is a need for more carbohydrates and high-level intensity training might not be the best choice. So what have I changed as a result? Keep the high-intensity intervals to the first half (follicular) and leave the steady-state endurance focused training with proper carb fuelling to the luteal phase.
Being part of the Vox Performance Project provides me with a set of tools to validate some of my learnings from tracking/training/fuelling with my menstrual cycle so far and ultimately be more strategic about eking more out of my performance. Wearing a continuous glucose monitor and track my glucose live on Supersapiens has been a revelation not just in terms of focussed fuelling during my sessions but also just to see what certain foods do to my blood sugar levels. Who knew what rice does to your glucose!
You can follow me on Instagram @nadinebrody for periodic updates!
Until next time,