If you are preparing for your first triathlon and you are not sure how to approach the nutrition aspect of it as far as what you should eat before and the day of the race, then check this article out because we will walk you through the 24-hour food intake on your first triathlon.
To know what a beginner should eat the day before and on the day of their first triathlon, let us first assume that you are starting with a sprint or an Olympic distance race.
There are plenty of things you require to do while in the race, so it is not advisable that you eat a lot before or on the day of the race.
A lot of people think that they need to load a massive amount of carb the day before the race, but that is not the case. You only need to eat about ten to fifteen percent more than you usually have.
Make it a carb-based opposed to protein or fat based because you will need to replenish your glycogen to pumped up before the race.
Your last large meal should be eaten 12 hours before you start your race. To ensure that everything you consume is fully digested.
Also, don’t drink too much water at night. Overhydrating will only necessitate sleep-running bathroom trips. You will end up sleepless in the morning. Stay hydrated during the race. Consume only enough fluid for the race.
Stay away from fiber, dairy, and greasy foods. It will keep you from coming back and forth to the restroom.
Pre-race Food Intake Timeline
Here’s a timeline guide for your food intake:
5:30 pm (last meal of the day) – eat a low-fiber riched food and energy-rich carbohydrates food. Rice and lean meat with low-fat sauce are one of the meals you can have. (Energy-rich carbohydrate helps top off glycogen stores for race day, and all of the meal helps minimize chances of distress.)
5:00 am – Light breakfast. Plain bagel with peanut butter and a cup of coffee. (It will help you restore your liver glycogen that was depleted overnight.
All of your carb and your electrolyte is taken the day before will start piling on the day itself. Your body needs time to soak all the foods and drinks you take in and get rid of what does not require.
If you have a big breakfast on the morning of your first triathlon, it is sure that you are visiting the porta-potty stops most of the time.)
6:00 to 6:50 am – Sip a sports drink. It will help you maintain a stable blood glucose level.
7:00 to 8:30 am – if the sprint will last for about 1.5 hours, take at least 30-60 grams of carbohydrates, ideally in liquid form. Because a 60-minute race, carbohydrates help performance by delaying muscle glycogen depletion.
Nutrition during a triathlon race
If it is a hot day, you should bring a densely packed electrolyte drink that you can sip on during breakfast; it is called hyper-hydration. It can take away the pain and the ache during those hot days. But it is recommended to drink after your first race.
To see how your stomach will handle the water intake, try getting a low-cost 500 ml bottles that you don’t mind tossing away. Fill it with water and a light electrolyte drink.
Take this only between that 4 hours during breakfast and before the start of the race. Taking a lot of water will make you go to the porta potty stops often.
If you want to eat before the race, it is highly suggested to have gels or chews on hand. These are the only food your body can digest 15 minutes before the race. Do not eat bars because they are a little denser and more robust, and it is hard for your body to absorb.
If you are a coffee lover, you don’t have to worry. Caffeine increases the concentration of endorphins in the brain. The hormones that give you the runner’s high. It is also advisable when you swim, they became faster and reported to have lower perceived exertion.
During the swim, you won’t be able to take in food or drinks. You don’t have to worry about that. Once you hop on the bike, give at least 5 to 10 minutes rest before you start taking on calories. It will allow your legs to get into the rhythm and your body to route all the blood flow where it needs to go and settle down.
You can have a little bit of electrolyte fluid you can sip on every 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure that you take it on even if it does not feel like you need.
During the bike definitely, have a little bit of electrolyte fluid you can sip on that probably once every 5 to 10 minutes make sure that you take it on even if it doesn’t feel like you need to.
You may also want to take calories between 90 and 120 every 30 minutes or so. But how you can monitor it? It is about the same serving sizes of gels or chews.
Again, you should stay away from bars regardless if it’s a sprint or an Olympic distance race because it takes a lot of time for your body to break down in the last 5 minutes of the bike. You do not need to have a bunch of things sloshing around in your stomach as you start the run. And then, for the first 5 minutes or so of the race, let your blood flow and figure out where it needs to be in your body. Let your body get into a rhythm before you start taking on calories.
In about 5 to 10 minutes into the start of the run, you can start taking on calories. If it is a sprint or an Olympic distance race, you can probably get away by stopping at every aid station to grab some Gatorade.
But if you are taking an hour or an hour and a half for the run, do not get as many drinks as possible. It will only take you to the porta stop every and then.
You don’t need to overdo the food intake. You can sip on a little bit of electrolyte fluid even without finishing the entire cup after the race is over. You want to feel proud of yourself after finishing this whole race for the first time.
There may be little nuances with the nutritional aspects of triathlon training, but the best thing that you can do for yourself is to try a lot of things in your practice, see what products work, what timing works for you, and how many calories you can consume. Keep track of the foods you ate so you can refer to this in the future.
If you had a digestive issue during this time, take note as well so that it will not happen again. Work on all that and figure it out in the weeks leading up to the race so that you will be able to enjoy your first race without going in the porta-toilet all the time. Make your first race memorable and fun.