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.

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Sources:

  • British Triathlon. "Environmental Guidelines for Triathlon, Duathlon, Aquathlon." February 2008. (July 21, 2010)http://www.britishtriathlon.org/uploads/files/Events%20-%20Environmental%20Guidelines.pdf
  • Charleton, Gene. "Racing Green on Bamboo Bikes." March 2010. (July 2010)http://news.discovery.com/tech/bamboo-bike.html
  • Clean Air Council. "Waste Facts and Figures." (July 22, 2010)http://www.cleanaircouncil.org/Waste/wasteFacts/html
  • Copley, Jon. "Sports Events Leave a Giant 'Ecological Footprint.' " April 2005. (July 21, 2010)http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7274-sports-events-leave-a-giant-ecological-footprint.html
  • Council for Responsible Sport. "ReSport Certification Standards." 2008. (July 22, 2010)http://www.resport.org/certification/standards.php
  • Hylton, Hilary. "Top 5 Eco-Friendly Water Bottles." Time. December 2008. (July 21, 2010).http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1865754,00.html
  • Lebovits, Susan Chaityn. "Biodegradable Shoes: Running Away from Landfill Waste." October 2008. (July 22, 2010)http://www.ecosalon.com/biodegradable_shoes_running_away_from_landfill_waste
  • Leigh, Toby. "Running's Impact on the Earth." Runner's World. November 2008. (July 21, 2010)http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0%2C7120%2Cs6-240-488--12910-0%2C00html.
  • Bucher, John, Ph.D., Shelby, Mike, PhD. "Questions and Answers about Bisphenol A." (July 22, 2010)http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/media/questions/sya-bpa.cfm
  • Palmer, Jim. "How to be a Green Triathlete." The Fun Times Guide to Triathlons. (July 21, 2010)http://triathlons.thefuntimesguide.com/2008/12/green_triathlete.php
  • Johnstone, Jack. "Triathlon: The Early History of the Sport." (July 21, 2010)http://www.ifind.com/Content/HistoryOFTriathlon.aspx
  • Robines, Michael W. "Whole Green Catalog." Rodale, Inc. 2009.
  • Stevenson, Jason. "How to Be a Greener Runner." Runner's World, November 2008. (July 22, 2010)http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-488--12883-0,00.html
  • Sierra Club. "Food Consumption and Its Environmental Impact." (July 22, 2010)http://www.sierraclub.org/sustainable_consumption/factsheets/food_factsheets/asp
  • Turner. Ben. "5430 Sports Receives Zero Waste Community Award Event." April 2008. (July 22, 2010)http://www.5430sports.com/ECHO/news/htm
  • Kreider, R.B., Rasmussan, CJ., Lancaster, S.L., Kersick, C., Greenwood, M. "Honey, The Natural Sports Gel."http://esnl.tamu.edu/Publications/SC-Honey-02.pdf
  • USA Triathlon. "Triathlon Participation, Growth Trends and Demographics." July 2010. (July 22, 2010)http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-usat/demographics

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