HOW TO FEED YOURSELF DURING A MID-DISTANCE TRIATHLON

Whether you're an amateur or intermediate triathlete, looking to up your performance or just want to take on a new challenge, competing in triathlons requires the right nutritional approach. A good nutritional strategy during your training and on race day is key to meeting your sporting goals. This strategy will keep your energy from flagging and aid recovery to improve your performances.

Before your mid-distance triathlon

The goal is to increase your energy reserves and get hydrated.

-          Three days before: Boost your consumption of complex carbs. Drink one to two bottles of maltodextrin between meals. Drink a lot of fluids to keep your hydration at optimal levels. Reduce your raw vegetable intake, especially if you have a sensitive digestion.

-          The day before: your evening meal should contain easily digestible carbohydrates that are low in fibre. E.g.: seasonal vegetable soup, chicken breast, pasta (seasoned with a tablespoon of oil and a little turmeric), fruit compote.

-          Three hours before: your last pre-race meal should be high calorie and easy to digest. E.g.: Water or fruit juice, energy cake or energy cream, fruit compote. Keep hydrating.

-          Standby rations: this period can be stressful and use a lot of energy. The aim is to keep your energy reserves up and stay hydrated, making sure you don't end up hypoglycaemic before the race. A pre-race drink is perfect here.

During your mid-distance triathlon

It is essential to eat and drink the right things during your triathlon to limit dehydration and burning through your energy reserves. Water is extremely important and should be combined with carbs and sodium to balance out nutrients lost through perspiration.

There are a range of options, such as energy drinks, gels and bars.

-          Swim: Have a short-distance energy gel for a quick burst of energy right before the start.

-          Transition 1: have a short-distance energy gel to recover from the swimming and get off to a flying start on the bike. Hydrate.

-          Cycling: your priority should be hydration. Start drinking as soon as possible. An ISO drink is the perfect option because it will hydrate you while also replenishing lost carbs and sodium. Have an ISO bottle and a water bottle on your bike to rinse out your mouth. Also plan to have a short-distance energy gel if you feel tired to boost your energy.

Tip: Opt for a dual-use bottle so you can alternate between your ISO drink and water.

-          Transition 2: drink a bottle of water to keep hydrated and you will also be able to rinse your mouth before your run. If you start to feel tired, have a long-distance energy gel during the run.

-          Running: Take advantage of water stations to stay as hydrated as possible and keep up your race pace. Remember to have a long-distance energy gel to hand in case you begin feeling tired.

Recovering after a mid-distance triathlon

You have completed your triathlon and you should feel proud. Remember that recovery is key if you want to start training quickly again, because your body will certainly be tired. The priority is to rehydrate, recharge your energy reserves and repair damaged muscle fibres.

-          Have a 500 ml recovery drink.

-          Add an after-sport protein bar.

Remember:

It is important for triathletes to figure out how much and what kind of food they need during races. The strategy you adopt must be well-practised and all the products you use must be tested during training to prevent any unpleasant digestion issues during your race.

marie-fauchille

Marie Fauchille

Dietician - Nutritionist, fan of multi-sport races and rowing

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