When heading into your first triathlon, it’s essential to have an idea of what you’ll be the day of your race, but you should follow the same nutrition in the weeks leading up to you. One of the biggest mistakes made by athletes is either eating too little or overeating. Although you might want to fill your body with Gatorade and electrolytes, you don’t need it since this triathlon isn’t a sprint or distance event. There’s too much sugar in energy drinks that can divert blood to your muscles while you run. One thing about nutrition is that it’s different for every individual depending on their age, fitness level, weight, and sweat rate. Let’s take a look at some tips for each meal of the day during your first triathlon.
At least two hours before your race, you should start your day with a very light and simple breakfast. Try not to consume too much caffeine and instead take in your average amount of morning water. Play it safe by eating low carbohydrate foods such as eggs that won’t slow you down later in the day.
Just 30 minutes before your big race, grab yourself a small snack such as an energy bar or banana. At this time, you should also continue to drink water but try adding low-calorie electrolytes such as Skratch Labs or Nuun to give your that boost you might need.
While you’re running, you only want to stop when you’re thirsty. After you finish your first leg, this is usually the time to take your first drink, then you can take another every 15 to 20 minutes after that. Now, if you’re racing in higher temperatures, you may need to take more drinks. While preparing for the big day, you should practice grabbing your bottle, drinking, and putting it back. The most important thing to remember is to have enough water with you to last you the entire race.
Depending on the distance of your race, you might now need to eat anything along the way and do fine with staying hydrated. If you begin to feel hungry, consider taking some gels or bananas since your stomach will be able to hold them down. Solid foods usually don’t sit well, but you should practice your in-race fueling days before the race, depending on your body.
Within 30 minutes of completing the race, you should give your body some protein and tons of water. You want to reward yourself with a nice meal after this significant accomplishment, so a little snack can help prepare your body.