Travel nutrition tips for athletes

I'm very luck to have married someone who loves to travel as much as I do. I love the comfort of my own home and familiar surroundings but I love the experience of traveling somewhere new and creating memories. What makes life even more exciting as I age, is the opportunity to combine two of my passions: racing and traveling. In other words, we love our race-cations.
Not sure if I love to travel to race or race to travel but either way you view it, I love meeting new people, exploring the world and capturing moments to be remembered forever. 

I loved traveling with Campy to cheer Karel on at his Cat 1 cycling events. 

Now, I love our new journey of racing triathlons together.

But I will never forget the many years that Karel was by my side as my number one fan....

Coach and best friend. 

With two athletes in the house - thank goodness for Campy who can always keep us smiling when nerves are at an all time high and the normal traveling uncontrollables (like traffic) cause us to be a bit stressed out. Campy never ever complains and that is comforting. He also always treats us as if we are winners. 

No matter what race we are at, Campy is always eager to explore his new surroundings and cheer us on. 

And although Campy gets the most attention when we travel...

He's usually the first to bed. 

Campy, did you do that?

In my recent Iron Girl column article, I wrote about one of my favorite topics for traveling: Traveling nutrition. I also recently contribute to Ironman.com on a similar topic of eating in a hotel room before a race.

I know for many, eating away from home can be challenging, overwhelming or perhaps something that is looked forward to.

For anyone who is expecting an upcoming travel for a race, here are two of my recent articles to help you put your worries aside. With a little practice, planning and creativity, you will find yourself enjoying your race day experience with a well-fueled body. 

Traveling Nutrition TipsBy Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC

It’s exciting to race on a new course but the downside is limited access to familiar foods. If you’ve ever eaten oatmeal with a fork, heated with water from a hotel coffee maker, you know that destination races require a bit of flexibility and creativity and come with challenges.
Be prepared to race at your best no matter the location. Although there’s no place like home, racing nutrition involves eating a reasonable amount of energy-dense, clean (and safe) food to meet the demands of your upcoming race.

Traveling nutrition tips:
  • Stay hydrated: Bring an empty 20-28 ounce water bottle when flying and fill after security. If driving, bring plenty of water for traveling and racing. 
  • Snack frequently: to control blood sugar and to ensure adequate fuel for race day, stock-up on energy dense foods like trail mix, cereal (ex. granola), bars and raisins along with washed fruits and veggies (chopped/sliced).
  • Do your research: Google it! Check out what’s on the road or around your hotel and review online menus for needed dietary needs (Ex. vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). Consider food options that can be found at gas stations (ex. milk, bananas), CVS (cereal, oatmeal, nuts) and grocery stores (hard boiled eggs, nut butter, bread, yogurt, produce) to help make your stay a little more like home.
  • Plan ahead: Bring as much as you can that is familiar to you. If you aren't able to travel with silverware/plates/bowls, the hotel my have options to help with meal prep and eating.
  • Amenities: Does your hotel room come with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave or a continental breakfast (which may not be open before your race start)? These will help make your stay a little easier as oppose to dining out every meal.
Eating out? No worries! Check out these options for your favorite pre race meals:
- Oatmeal: McDonald's, Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread.
- Egg white sandwich: Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Einstein Bagels, Panera Bread
- Baked potato - Wendy's
- Grilled chicken sandwich: Chick-fil-A (comes with a fruit cup), Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s (hold the BBQ sauce) and McDonald’s (hold the mayo).
- Veggie burger and garden salad - Burger King
- Veggie sandwich and soup – Subway, Panera Bread
- Burrito or burrito salad bowl (vegetarian options available) - Moe's Southwestern Grill



Reheat, repeat: Smart Meals for traveling triathletes

Including two hotel friendly creations - yum!