Facing the Holidays with a Sound Nutrition Plan


Posted by Coach Mark Turner

As the bulk of the multisport season winds down and many of us enter into our Transition season many of us also enter the season that carries challenges just as seemingly daunting as toeing the line at a first IRONMAN race: the holidays! Unless you are that rare age group athlete who never struggles with weight issues or maintaining proper nutrition during the holidays, with their lunch outings at work, parties, colder weather-driven desire for calorie dense comfort foods, etc. the season between your last multisport race of the year and the first one of the coming year can be tough sledding. Maintaining proper nutrition during your Transition phase is just as necessary to this season of recovery and rest as it is during the height of your training.

A key component of keeping focused and following through on a sound nutrition plan during this season is to have clarity that food is fuel! Sure, it can be fun as well and indulging in a few treats and feast days during the holidays is to be expected. And should be enjoyed! But what must be avoided is the surrender to the season syndrome where the athlete lets a feast day turn into a feast week. Every excess pound gained during the Transition season will be that much more work required to return you to your hard earned base fitness as you move into next year's Preparation phase of your training.

So how? Well first, have a plan going into the holiday season. Treat it like just another phase of competition and decide in advance what is a "nutritional win" for you. Then, just like any other competition, focus on the prize!

Second, consider the following:

  • Remind yourself that food is primarily fuel. Do this often.
  • Stick to your plan for calorie intake including the days for indulgence. Being overly ascetic at first often leads to the surrender syndrome.
  • Stick to the plan, i.e. back off your calorie intake on the bulk of the days during the holiday season. One tactic that will help is to be open and clear with those around you with regards to what you are trying to accomplish for yourself.
  • When you find yourself getting off track, face the music AND the scale for a reality check! Now, just like when training takes a bad turn: refocus, regroup, and return to the plan.
  • Finally, remember you're not alone! There are many who will be on your side so seek support and accountability partners

Your race self will thank your for good holiday nutrition planning!

~ Coach MarkT

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