27 Mar Training during Ramadan
Ramadan is a month of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims around the world. For triathletes, this presents a unique challenge as training and competition are often a part of their daily routine. As someone who has trained for triathlons during Ramadan, I have learned some tips and tricks to make the most of this holy month without compromising my training goals. Personally, I usually reduce the load of my training and mainly focus on maintaining fitness and would try to schedule any races at least two months after Ramadan to set realistic goals.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when training during Ramadan is to adjust your workout schedule. Since fasting happens from dawn until dusk, it’s essential to plan your training sessions accordingly. Personally, I find it best to schedule my training sessions before Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sunset. This allows me to work at a comfortable intensity while fasting and rehydrate and refuel immediately after iftar. On the other hand, I also find it helpful to schedule some low-intensity sessions after Iftar, as it helps me to maintain a consistent training schedule throughout Ramadan. These post-Iftar sessions are usually focused on technique and endurance, and I keep the intensity low to avoid dehydration and fatigue, particularly during the last week of Ramadan. Most of the time,, I leave this week off as recovery week and focus on stretching and mobility.
Nutrition and hydration
Another crucial aspect of training during Ramadan is nutrition and hydration. Fasting for long periods can be physically and mentally challenging, and it’s essential to ensure that you are getting the right nutrients and staying hydrated throughout the day. During suhoor, the meal consumed before the fast begins at dawn, I make sure to eat foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and protein to sustain my energy levels throughout the day. Some examples of my suhoor meals are oatmeal with nuts and berries, a spinach and cheese omelette with whole-grain toast, or a smoothie made with Greek yoghurt, berries, and coconut water. I avoid drinking teas and coffees and replace them with plenty of water and electrolyte-rich beverages to stay hydrated. For iftar meals, after breaking your fast with highly nutritious dates try some grilled chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans, baked salmon with quinoa and roasted vegetables, or lentil soup with a side of hummus and pita bread could be beneficial. After breaking the fast at sunset, I opt for nutrient-dense foods that can help me recover from my training session earlier in the day. I focus on eating lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, as these can help me maintain my energy levels and prevent muscle breakdown.
Finally, strength training is also a vital component of triathlon training during Ramadan. Strength training can help maintain muscle mass and prevent injury, which is especially crucial during a time when your body is already under stress due to fasting. I prefer to schedule my strength training sessions before iftar but I know that some people prefer to do it, before starting the fast, so that they have enough energy to perform the exercises. It’s often a shorter session with breaks in between.
To sum it up, training for a triathlon during Ramadan can be challenging, but with proper planning and preparation, it’s possible to achieve your fitness goals while also observing the holy month. Scheduling training sessions before and after Iftar, focusing on nutrition and hydration, and incorporating strength training into your routine can help you make the most of this month without compromising your training goals.