The Very Basics of Triathlon Nutrition

As triathlon coaches, we see a lot of mistakes when it comes to triathlon nutrition. Below, we’ll cover the basics regarding every day fueling, as well as carb loading and race nutrition. Triathlon nutrition is a crucial aspect of training and performance for any triathlete. Proper nutrition can help boost energy levels, increase endurance, and aid in recovery, while poor nutrition can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and other issues that can negatively impact your race and training. 

One of the main challenges of triathlon nutrition is the need to fuel your body during training and racing, which can often involve long periods of intense physical activity. To meet these demands, it’s important to focus on a balanced diet that includes a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

The Importance of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for endurance athletes, so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough of them in your diet. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. These should make up the majority of your caloric intake, especially in the days leading up to a race.

Protein Comes Second

Protein is also important for triathletes, as it helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissue damaged during training and racing. Good sources of protein include lean meats, dairy products, nuts, and beans. It’s generally recommended that triathletes aim for 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

Focus on Monounsaturated Fats and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fats

In addition to carbohydrates and protein, it’s also important to include healthy fats in your diet. These can help to provide sustained energy, as well as support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

Drink Enough Water!

During training and racing, it’s also important to pay attention to hydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and impaired performance, so it’s important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids. Water is the most important source of hydration, but sports drinks can also be helpful for replacing electrolytes lost through sweat.

Carb Loading Starts Three Days Out From Your Event

There are also a few specific considerations to keep in mind when it comes to triathlon nutrition. One is the importance of pre-race fueling. In the days leading up to a race, it’s important to focus on high-carbohydrate meals and snacks to help fuel your body and prepare it for the demands of the race. On the morning of the race, it’s generally recommended to have a small, easy-to-digest meal that includes carbohydrates and a little protein, such as oatmeal with fruit and nuts or a bagel with peanut butter.

Fueling During the Race

During the race itself, it’s important to fuel regularly to keep your energy levels up. This may involve carrying energy gels, bars, or other portable sources of energy with you, or stopping at aid stations to refill your water bottle and grab a snack. It’s generally recommended to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of racing, depending on the intensity of the race and your individual needs.

Recovery Fuel

Finally, post-race recovery is an important aspect of triathlon nutrition. After a long race, your body will be in need of repair and refueling. It’s generally recommended to consume a mix of protein and carbohydrates within the first hour after finishing a race to help kickstart the recovery process. This can include a protein-rich snack, such as Greek yogurt with berries, or a recovery drink. More important is fueling after training sessions, of course. 

In conclusion, triathlon nutrition is a crucial aspect of training and performance for any triathlete. By focusing on a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, and paying attention to hydration and pre-race, race-day, and post-race fueling, you can set yourself up for success and help ensure that you are performing at your best on race day.

Contact a Colorado Triathlon Coach Today

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or seasoned triathlete, we can help you make the gains you’re looking for. Contact Be The Beast Coaching at kennettpeterson@gmail.com today to get started. While we are based in Boulder, Colorado, most of our athletes are from all across the country.

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