Triathlete’s Food Guide On Race Day

Triathlete’s Food Guide On Race Day when Spring is the season when plants put forth blooms, the warmth increases, and participants in the triathlon take up running, biking, and swimming to get ready for competitive events. In addition to being physically fit, these athletes must make sure they are properly nourished during their exercises and competitions.

If you are starting out on your triathlon journey or already have experience in the world of triathlons, this calculator is perfect for you!

We can work out how many calories you should burn and replace, based solely on what your weight is and the time you want to reach. Doing so will ensure you are operating at peak potential. We will give information about the timing, type of food, and purpose for eating during a triathlon to keep you fuelled up.

Learning how to properly nourish yourself when you are engaging in a triathlon is absolutely crucial both while competing and while training.

Deciding on the correct sources of energy can be the difference between being energized enough to finish and cross the line, joyfully celebrating, or giving in to extreme fatigue and never completing the race.

Your body’s energy stores

The body is capable of retaining about 90 minutes worth of glycogen, which is the body’s natural fuel that helps power muscle use during physical activities.

With increased physical strength and conditioning, the amount of glycogen your body can store will increase a bit, which means you will need to replenish your energy for any activity lasting over 90 minutes or a short triathlon.

If you don’t take care to replenish your energy supplies, you may experience what’s known as ‘the bonk’. This is when you become completely drained of energy and energy, leading to sluggishness, fatigue, and even a lightheaded sensation.

The total amount of energy your body can store is comparable to that of the other swimmers at the beginning of the race, however, variances in the capability of your digestive system to absorb the fuel, how well it agrees with your stomach, and even just the flavour of it can have a major influence on how effective your race nutrition is.

It’s critical to try different strategies when it comes to your training and competition-day diet to determine what is most effective for you.

Sources of fuel

For the vast majority of athletes, their main source of nourishment is carbohydrates, which are usually obtained in the form of sucrose through sports nutrition. When you consume these types of carbohydrates that are high in sugar, your body produces insulin to break them down and turn them into either glycogen or fat.

The fast absorption rate of these high-GI carbohydrates for providing energy to active muscles makes them suitable for anyone wanting to get the most out of their exercise.

The quality of the carbohydrates does matter, however. Generally, carbohydrates that contain less sugar yield a steadier and longer-lasting energy supply. In contrast, drinking something like soda will give you a quick rush of sugar but it will be followed by an inevitable crash.

Race-day nutrition options

Given the countless sports nutrition companies producing multiple energy sources including gels, bars, drinks and various other forms, it may require some effort to identify the most suitable combination particular to one’s needs and circumstances, with experimentation likely to be necessary.

Here’s an overview of a few of the best sources of nutrition for race day.

Energy drinks

You can create your desired strength of energy drink by mixing a powdered version with water.

The substances used to make this recipe typically contain maltodextrin (a form of carbohydrate which is derived from corn or maize and has a sweet taste which is easy to digest) and fructose (which is sourced from fruit and is broken down quickly in the body). In brief, this requires eating a lot of carbohydrates, which generates a rapid increase in blood sugar, to maintain a high level of vigour when training and competing strenuously.

Certain beverages can comprise electrolytes to inhibit sodium levels from getting too feeble or watered down, keeping off dehydration or hyponatremia.

It is crucial to assess how much electrolyte your body will receive from the dietary info provided, particularly when going through a race in hot temperatures, to see if you need to get supplement sources of electrolytes as well.

  • Pros:
  • Easy to drink and digest
  • An ideal source of fuel for the bike
  • More hydrating than other fuels
  • Customize your concentration
  • Cons:
  • Tricky to carry on the run


Energy gels have been used as a regular energy source for long-distance athletes due to their liquid form, which is convenient to swallow and a great source of carbohydrates.

It can be difficult to open and it is almost impossible not to get your fingers full of sticky stuff after opening it!

Gels often use the same components as energy drinks, with a thicker texture so that the person receives a more powerful surge of energy. Nevertheless, this can lead to certain athletes feeling that they don’t fit their stomach areas properly.

You must drink a lot of water after consuming a gel to assist in digesting the energy it supplies.

To reduce this somewhat, some gels also have an isotonic design – meaning that the sugar concentration is similar to what naturally occurs in the body, usually achieved by adding water – so that it can be more easily absorbed in the gut.

Despite its isotonic nature, it is still recommended to add water to your gel for the best results.

There are also many gels with caffeine in them, a terrific way to boost you up whenever you start to feel exhausted during longer training or competitions.

  • Pros:
  • Easy to carry on the bike and run
  • Good energy hit in a small package
  • Lots of flavours to keep nutrition interesting
  • Convenient with minimum prep
  • Caffeinated options
  • Cons:
  • Have to be taken in one go
  • Need to be taken with water
  • Can cause issues for sensitive stomachs
  • Can be difficult to open quickly
  • Sticky!

Energy bars

Energy bars are intended to deliver a substantial amount of high-quality calories, largely comprised of carbohydrates and a small amount of protein, in a form that you can eat quickly. Cooking directions tend to reduce the levels of fat and dietary fibre to stop digestion from being too slow. Additionally, many recipes will have salt to help keep electrolytes in equilibrium.

Whole grains such as rolled oats are often components of ingredients, with these slow-digesting, complex carbs providing a more gradual energy release.

Explore different kinds of brands on the market with distinct tastes, textures and formulas to determine the ideal nutrition plan before your race.

  • Pros:
  • More sustained source of energy
  • Can be broken into smaller pieces
  • Cons:
  • Often chewy or dry, so hard to swallow
  • Harder to eat at high intensities
  • More energy is needed to digest, diverting blood from muscles

Energy sweets

For individuals who like their energy in small portions, Clif Bar Shot Bloks or Jelly Belly Sport Beans contain concentrated amounts of easily absorbed carbs and some electrolytes in a chewable form.

This is ideal for jogging since it is simpler to place one to suck on in the cheek instead of trying to down a full energy gel during each breath. They are ideal to consume in the gaps between your standard meals while you are cycling if you start to feel hungry.

  • Pros:
  • Great for eating little and often
  • Taste like sweets
  • Easy to eat when breathing hard
  • A great addition to other fuel sources
  • Cons:
  • Can be more difficult to calculate the intake
  • You’d need a lot if they were your main energy source

Real food

No matter how powerful or efficient athletic nutrition is, eventually there comes a point where an excessive amount is too much for most athletes, particularly Ironman contestants, and the idea of eating anything else may make them queasy.

To prevent reaching a difficult spot, its essay must delightlavor of your flavour supplements. This reduces the emphasis on science and lets you choose your preferred one for race-day nutrition.

Having a wide selection of food items in your bag of snacks, covering both sweet and savoury tastes, can help prevent cravings for food from developing. Options like honey-salted cashews, peanut butter wraps, cut-up Snickers, and chocolate-centred breakfast bars can all provide you with something tasty to snack on.

It may not be scientifically proven, but if you choose food that you find enjoyable it will help you to make sure that you eat the right amount of food and get enough calories to help you reach your goal.

Importance of nutrition for triathletes

Our bodies can save energy, meaning we don’t have to eat continuously and we can manage without food for a while.

Fat tissue is a form of energy preservation, similar to saving money for a rainy day. It takes a significant amount of time to both gain fat and reduce it, as experienced by all those who have ever tried to lose weight.

Fortuitously, we possess another source of energy that we can access promptly – glycogen.

Glycogen, which is made up of glucose molecules, is stored in both the liver (comprising 5% of its total mass) and in the skeletal muscles (taking up 0.7%).

The average human body stores 500g of glycogen, which produces around 2000 kcal of energy through its muscle mass. Seems a lot? It would take an amazing accomplishment, like running a triathlon, to rival such an accomplishment.

To succeed in extended-distance running events, your body needs to be supplied with the main source of immediately accessible power – carbohydrates. These foods will help maintain your blood sugar levels and keep you functioning at peak performance.

When selecting snacks, bear in mind they should not be too high in fat or protein – though they’re beneficial in the normal diet, they can slow down the digestion of nutrients.

Putting a high-fat snack into your body during a triathlon can deplete your energy resources and potentially cause stomach issues. Let’s be candid – that is the absolute last thing that you would desire while competing in a race.

Good examples of race snacks include:

  •  energy gels – now you even have more natural options, like honey-based gels.
  •  energy bars – good choice, but notice they’re usually solid and dry – try to eat them with water or another drink.
  •  dried fruit – dates, prunes, apricots, figs, raisins (you might want to try chocolate-covered raisins as well), etc.
  •  ripe bananas – bananas are athletes’ best friends! Aim for ripe bananas, as they have a higher amount of simple sugars than green ones, and are easier to digest.
  •  sesame bars – rich in fats, but useful for a variety
  •  homemade snacks – like energy balls or small pieces of energy bars. Awesome if you find cooking fun, and you can make countless versions. Use dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, honey, oats, and your imagination!
  •  jellied sweets, chews, and gummies – easily accessible and yummy!

No matter what you decide to do, it is recommended that you give it several attempts within your customary practice sessions.

Find out which food consistency you like best, notice what type of food your digestive system can handle well, and pay attention to what kind of snacks energize you the most. Don’t experiment during the race! Choose the old, reliable options.

What and when to eat during a race

When should you have your meals after understanding the type and quantity of food to consume?

You must think about both the rate at which carbs are burned and how the triathlon competition is set up. It takes roughly half an hour for the carbs to be processed.

To prevent quick decreases in energy levels, you should eat something within the first hour of the race, even if you aren’t feeling hungry. Then keep snacking every thirty minutes.

Try to consume 16 ounces of a beverage that has electrolytes in it every hour. Do so by taking a large sip each minute.

If you start burping, slow down your drinking. If you have an upset stomach, try replacing the electrolyte solution with water until you feel better, then revert back to drinking electrolyte beverages.

  • Before the race

The difficulty lies in the fact that the initial portion of a triathlon entails swimming, during which consuming food is not merely very uncomfortable, but also perilous. To sustain yourself during this phase, consider your pre-race eating an element of the competition – begin consuming food.

Have an initial high-carbohydrate snack 15-30 minutes before starting. Try out what kind and when you should eat a snack in your own home before heading out, otherwise you could be risking getting a stomach ache!

At the first stage of the transition from swimming to biking, prioritize an efficient outfit change and don’t take time for eating unless absolutely necessary, such as if your strength begins to diminish.

  • After jumping on a bike

Spend about 5-10 minutes getting the correct speed and afterwards have a snack. Eating is the most manageable during cycling triathlon training, thus if you favour robust meals, it is the optimal period in the course.

Don’t forget to sip your drinks every 5-7 minutes. If you’re dehydrated, it’s best to drink more often instead of drinking a lot of fluid at once. This can lead to stomach distress and can hurt your performance.

Snacks during the cycling phase should contain approximately 100 calories (in the range of 90-110). The energy content of energy bars and gels is typically found on the packaging. 100 kcal means approximately:

  • a small to a medium-sized banana.
  • 5 prunes.
  • 2-3 dried figs.
  • a big handful of raisins.
  • 7 dried dates.
  • a small to a medium-sized gummy bear.

Before the second switchover, the final treat should be consumed between 10 and 15 minutes beforehand. Don’t waste any of your valuable time snacking during the shift.

  • On the run

The guideline remains the same – eat a snack every half hour to forty minutes. Eating hard candy bars could prove to be difficult and unpleasant.

Focus on energy gels, dates, and soft ripe bananas. Sip your drinks every 5-7 minutes. Keep topping up your energy levels to keep reaching your peak performance, and you will certainly reach your personal best.

Side notes

You should try to maintain the same level of nutrition as you begin your workout regimen, assuming you had been eating healthily before this. It’s high time to quit eating processed food and candy. Substitute unhealthy items in your diet with whole grains, fresh fruits, veggies, and high-grade protein.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button