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In this interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with professional triathlete, Carolyn Carter. We will hear from Carolyn about how she trains and helps her body recover as a professional triathlete, as well as some of her favorite fitness, nutrition, and recovery tools. Make sure to follow Carolyn @la_triathlete on Instagram and @damn_it_carol on TikTok!

What is your typical recovery routine after a triathlon race or training session?

Carolyn: I always make sure to try to eat something right away, even if I don't feel like eating. It's important to get in protein and carbs after a hard effort! I also typically get in a really solid stretch the day after the race. I'm usually way too sore and tired to do anything productive the day of a race haha. Then once my body stops hurting as much (like 2-3 days after) I will start to also add in foam rolling, the R8 tool, massage gun.

How do you balance your training schedule with your work and personal life?

Carolyn: This is always hard! Honestly I use my rides and some of my runs as my social hour during the work week. I don't typically do anything social on the weekdays other than training haha. On the weekends I try to make at least one plan with friends, and it's usually centered around food. Because I love food. And dinner is typically finished early enough that I can still get to bed on time! It also helps that most of my friends are also athletes!

Can you walk us through a typical day of eating for you while in training?


  • I usually don't eat before an early AM run or swim on weekdays (unless the run is longer than 6 miles, then I'll have something like yogurt or a banana)
  • Breakfast- coffee, egg sandwich, fruit
  • Morning snack- it varies but usually something like chips, more fruit, yogurt
  • Lunch- smoothie bowl with a banana, frozen peaches, frozen cherries, frozen mixed berries, protein powder, greek yogurt, almond milk. Topped with PB and some kind of granola or cereal
  • Afternoon snack - varies but usually something like a plate of veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber) with hummus, protein bar, apple and peanut butter, string cheese
  • Dinner- also varies but i always try to have meat, protein and a carb! So maybe something like meatballs with rice and green beans
  • Dessert- I will always have a lil something sweet after dinner. It's usually ice cream. A dietitian once told me that ice cream is good for recovery. So I took that and ran with it
  • If I do a long workout then I'll have gels or blocks during! And some sort of drink mix

How much sleep do you aim to get each night and how do you prioritize sleep in your routine?

Carolyn: I usually get 7-8 hours a night. It can be hard, especially if I have a workout planned before work. But I just try to get to bed early. It helps that my boyfriend also likes to get to bed early! We're usually in bed, lights off by 10.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face when it comes to maintaining your fitness and health as a triathlete?

Carolyn: Overtraining is a big one. I'm never purposefully overtraining, but sometimes I get FOMO when all my friends go out on a bike ride when I should be resting. So then I'll go ride instead and make myself even more tired.

How do you stay motivated to continue training and competing at a high level?

Carolyn: I'm very goal-oriented. This is why I got into triathlon in the first place. I always need a goal to be working towards or my life feels meaningless (LOL). So for me, I stay motivated by thinking about my own goals and what I need to do to achieve them. And of course there are going to be days where I'm exhausted or mentally drained where I might need to skip a workout. And I think it's important to honor those feelings occasionally. Otherwise you'll get burnt out.

Can you share any specific exercises or stretches that you find especially helpful for recovery?

Carolyn: My PT has me doing hip-strengthening work with resistance bands. I have very weak hips and I do think this has been helping with my running! I also do clamshells with the bands before runs to help activate my glutes. I also really like to find easy yoga videos on Youtube to follow along with. Particularly ones focused on hips and back!

How do you handle injuries or setbacks in your training?

Carolyn: This can be hard! But I just try to remember that these things happen to everyone at some point in time. My own health and wellbeing is more important than training. It's more important to address injuries than train through them (I know that can be hard!).

What supplements do you take and why?

Carolyn: I take fish oil, vitamin C, B6, and an antioxidant blend.

What would be your advice to someone just starting out in triathlon training?

Carolyn: Always remember to have fun. For 98% of us competing, this is a hobby. If you're not enjoying it, then what's the point! Also, invest in some sort of anti-chafe cream or balm.

What are some of your favorite recovery products or tools that you use to aid in your recovery and injury prevention?

Carolyn: Foam rollers, the R8 roller, massage gun! I can't necessarily say these prevent injury but they do make my body feel better!

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