The holy month of Ramadan is almost upon us and it’s going to take a toll on us in this searing heat. Most importantly, triathlon training in Ramadan becomes such a headache during this time due to fasting and schedule changes. The biggest fear we all have is the fear of losing fitness. Fear not, because, with little effort, you can easily maintain the fitness if not improving it even after fasting for the whole day.
Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.
Every year I go through with lots of permutations and combinations to set the best possible plans for triathlon training in Ramadan. Sometimes I failed, sometimes I hit the jackpot. The fact is Ramadan is a great time to improve your fitness and to lose weight if properly done. So, utilizing this month can be beneficial for you in many regards.
Fasting has a number of significant health benefits including lowering cholesterol, improving fat burning metabolism, improving digestion and so on. As an athlete, you can utilize these positive aspects of fasting in your training routine. Today, I’ll shed some light on triathlon training in Ramadan specifically.
First, let me elaborate on some guidelines that I follow during this time as a triathlete.
Eat less during Iftar
We have a tendency of eating a huge meal during iftar. Eating too much will actually make you tired more. Your body is already fatigued after fasting whole day now you have given a mammoth task of breaking all the food down which takes up even more energy.
Also, the best time to keep up your training during this period is after the iftar so if you eat a heavy meal, it would become difficult for you to perform any exercise with a full stomach. Not to mention, feeling drowsy and lazy are just some other typical reactions of overeating.
What I do usually, is to break up the iftar in two parts. I take in lots of fluids and fast absorbing carbs to break my fast. I eat just enough to prepare my body for a short session after iftar. After the workout, I take in rest of the calories which acts as the post workout nutrition and start my recovery process.
Keep the training sessions short
Endurance is a key part of triathlon training and we tend to believe that without putting in the longer swim, bike, and run sessions, our endurance may suffer. I see plenty of people, running 2-3 hours or putting in longer bike sessions after breaking the fast. It really doesn’t help your fitness that much in my opinion.
Endurance sessions take a long time to recover from. Since you are fasting the next day, your body doesn’t get enough nutrition to recover from the previous workout. Now if you add more training stress on the next evening, it all gets piled up. You’ll feel weak, your work life will suffer, even worse, you can fall sick.
Rather integrate some short 30-60 min interval sessions post iftar. How long the sessions should depend mostly on your experience as an athlete and how much training stress you can take. Maintaining zone 2 intensity with pretty hard interval efforts are a great way to increase your endurance and fitness.
Utilizing pre-iftar time for strength training
The wait before breaking the fast can sometimes be painful. How about utilizing that time in great effect to distract yourself? I have mentioned in a previous article how strength training is crucial. Why not drop by to your nearby gym for a short 30-60 min session if you have time.
Since you have less time to train in Ramadan, it’s easy to forget strength training. The beauty of strength training is, it’s not as physically demanding as an aerobic endurance session. Keep the weight light and repetitions low for the strength workouts. You can also add core workouts to the mix as well.
Ohh, don’t forget to stretch either. It’ll be a welcoming relief for your body and will be primed for some post iftar endurance session, ready to take on the challenge.
Don’t skip late night Sehri:
I know that’s the oddest time to eat. Even I hate eating at 3 am in the morning. But eating proper food is very important at that time. The energy is going to help you recover from the earlier workout and keep you going for the next day on an empty stomach.
You don’t need to eat a lot but eat the right foods. Take in carbs such as rice, sweet potato or banana, etc. whichever you feel applicable. Add some protein sources. And don’t forget the milk. A glass of milk goes a long way towards giving you that energy boost throughout the day.
Stay active during the day
Just because you are fasting, it doesn’t mean you have to stop being active during the day. Rather if you fall in that trap, it’ll hamper your progress later on. Suddenly you’ll notice complacency in your daily decision making, either when you are training or in office life.
That’s why don’t stop your daily activities. If you commute through a walk or by cycle, do that, albeit at a slower pace. If you have the habit of getting up early in the morning and going to the park, do that. Staying active helps in your triathlon training in Ramadan. Don’t be so idle throughout the day.
Now comes the topic of triathlon training in Ramadan. Please keep in mind that training differs from person to person so do modify according to your needs.
-Add 2 sessions per week.
-One of the sessions should focus only on swim techniques and drills. Spend around 30-45 minutes doing proper drills and get a feel for the water.
-The remaining session should be an intense one. Do 6-10 short intervals in between easy swim recovery. The intervals should be really fast and hard.
-2 sessions per week.
-For the first session, add sprints or hill repeats. Do two sets of 30-second sprints 10-15 times with 30 seconds recovery. RPE should be 9.
-Next session, include one hour of sweetspot ride. In terms of FTP, it’s around 88-94%, in term of RPE, it’s around 7. Do 3 sets of 10 minutes. If you feel good, increase the duration of the sets gradually. Do a brick run after this.
-2 sessions per week.
-My first recommendation would be to add a fartlek run around of around 30-60 minutes. Run at 3k-5k race pace during your sprint segments.
-Lastly, add a short tempo run. Tempo runs are great to simulate long runs without spending too much time. Start with a 2k tempo run, gradually increasing up to 5k during Ramadan.
I hope this guideline is going to keep you on track during this holy month. Always remember, a triathlete finds a way no matter what challenges are presented to them. So, use any situation in your favor and don’t let external factors compromise your lifestyle. Keep up your triathlon training in Ramadan.
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment below if you have anything to share. Do like, share and subscribe to my blog to find all the latest updates if you find it useful. Follow me on Instagram or on FaceBook with the username @TryAthleteLife. See you next time.