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How to Be a Green Triathlete

Green Triathlon Training

One of the most important components of training is food. What you eat plays a large role in your performance. It also is a huge factor on the health of our planet. Food production in the United States consumes an incredible amount of natural resources. In addition, trucking food long distances requires the use of fossil fuels and contributes to carbon emissions [source: Sierra Club].

Eating locally grown foods is an excellent way to help offset the environmental impact of large-scale farming. However, most athletes depend on "sports foods" to get them through training and racing. Cut down on packaging -- and save money -- by making your own power foods. Ingredients like rolled oats, peanut butter and nuts for sports bars can be found at the grocery store. According to a recent study sponsored by The University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory, honey is "nature's sports gel." It is easy to digest and provides a quick boost of carbohydrates during a race. It also helps your post-training or race recovery by promoting muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration [source: Kraider, et al.]. You can buy honey locally from beekeepers or at farmers markets. For more information on local honey retailers check Bee Culture, a national organization for beekeepers.

Instead of using disposable water bottles, carry one that can be reused. Look for bottles made without BPA (bisphenol A), a plasticizer some scientists contend is linked to health problems [source: Buscher & Shelby]. Stainless steel bottles are another option for your water or sports drink.

If you have safe running or cycling routes that can get you to and from work, ditching the car is a great way to log some miles. As a form of transportation, bikes emit zero carbon emissions, reducing your overall carbon footprint. The same goes for running. A bonus to cycling and running to and from your job is that it helps you fit your workouts into a busy schedule.

With a little planning, triathletes in training can take care of their bodies and the planet.