|Follow these nutrition tips to keep you fueled through your next triathlon|
|With so many fall triathlons taking place this weekend, its a great time to make sure you have your nutrition plan for your sprint or olympic distance race ready to go. Follow the advice below to help you stay fueled and hydrated throughout the race weekend and to help you have the best race possible. Don’t forget to check out KONA Multisport home of swimbikerun.com for all of your nutritional needs, triathlon supplies, triathlon gear, and triathlon equipment. We want to help you Cross YOUR Finish Line!
Since race-day nutrition is such a big part of Ironman racing, and because long-distance racing generates so much noise in the triathlon space, it’s difficult to find good guidance on how to fuel for a sprint or Olympic-distance triathlon. It’s not uncommon to see new triathletes in their first short course races racking their bikes with four bottles of sports drink and 10 gels taped to the top tube.
You have (about) a 2-hour gas tank: Your body burns primarily fat to fuel itself during endurance training and racing. However, this fat is burned in the fire of carbohydrates, that is, your body needs to burn carbs in order to burn this fat. Your body’s primary sources of carbs are:
Glycogen stored in the muscles and liver.
The key verb in that sentence above is process. Right now, sitting on the couch, your body can easily process that pizza on the coffee table because you’re not asking it to do anything other than sit on the couch. But the harder you exercise, the more scarce resources become for processing food, as blood is shunted from the stomach to the limbs that are hard at work doing the triathlon racing thing.
Now that we’ve set the stage for you, here is our nutrition plan for short course triathlon racing:
The conditions you are trying to create before your wave hits the water at 7:25 a.m. on Sunday are:
You are well-hydrated
While you sleep your body will burn about 800 calories, tapping into that gas tank. Also, it’s likely that your stomach will be doing flip flops as you deal with race day-nerves. This will slow down your digestion. So we need to top off your gas tank, but give your body enough time to process your food so you can start the race with a relatively empty stomach and clean digestive tract.
From Wake Up #2 to Race Start
You’ve got a full tank of gas and you filled it up early enough so that everything should be out of your stomach by that 7:25 a.m. wave start. We suggest you eat very lightly. Maybe a sports bar while you drive to the race, drink a bottled sports drink while setting up your transition, maybe pop a gel and slug some water about 30 minutes before your wave. That’s all you need.
Armed with your 2-hour gas tank, you don’t really need to take in any calories for a sprint. You’ve got enough fuel to last through the entire race and, more importantly, the fewer calories you take in, the harder you can race. But if you feel you want some calories with you just in case:
On your bike: a bottle of sports drink, about 150 calories for the bottle, BUT you’ll be lucky to drink maybe half of it during the race…you’re riding that hard.
Basically the same drill as a sprint, but you might drink the entire bottle of sports drink (~150 calories) on the bike, and maybe take in another 100 calories on the run. The bottom line again is: the less you eat, the less additional stuff you give your body to do, which means you can go harder with reduced risk of nutrition issues such as