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Triathlon races can become strenuous. It’s one of the reasons why you have to be wise in your triathlon diet choices months before you join the race. That is, your diet can either be the reason for you to make it or break in the middle.
So what kind of diet do you really need to eat for a triathlon?
You swim with your swimming goggles. You cycle with your triathlon bike. Then you run with your running shoes. Then you repeat it again. For those who do not know much about triathlon, the routine is very simple. But every athlete and triathlete knows that aside from the training, diet plays a very important role in how you train. That is, your triathlon diet impacts the outcome of your race. With that said, you should know then the right foods to fuel yourself months ahead before the actual race.
So keep on reading to help you know what your diet should contain to bring your triathlon performance to your best level.
Totally eliminating processed goods in your diet is easier said than done. Pizzas, hamburgers, energy drinks, and other type of yummy fast foods are very hard to eliminate. The solution? You should start small.
Processed goods taste good. But they wreak havoc in your immune system by weakening and slowing down your recovery time. This is because they cause inflammation in your body. During this time, you’re more likely to experience withdrawal especially if you don’t practice a healthy diet even before the race.
To remedy this, you should eat more fruits and vegetables. You should also add more lean meat to your diet to make up for your protein and energy needs.
To make your diet goals even more effective, eat whole grains – not of the white variety – and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Although it’s true that you have to increase your protein intake when you train, you should make sure that your protein intake is not too much. That is, you’re training for a triathlon and not to become a bodybuilder. If you’re not into lean meats, you can always go with edamame, quinoa, skyr, lentils, salmon, or Greek yogurt that you can make easily at home with a yogurt maker.
As you near the actual race day, your training is also more likely to peak out in intensity. That is, your fuel needs will be higher than three months before.
But just like before, you should still follow your diet regime three months ago. However, you should replenish your energy levels especially if you train for more than two hours to keep up your intensity in training.
Strengthen your immune system
Now that your workouts will become more intense, you should also consider strengthening up your immune system. This is because you will be more prone to sickness.
To combat even the simplest of colds – which you cannot afford – you should eat a lot of produce rich in antioxidants. You should also get enough shuteye every night however busy your schedule might be. The right food and nutritions will give you the necessary energy you’d need but sleep is the only way that your body can recover and rebuild itself after your grueling workouts.
Practice like it is the actual race day
To see whether your diet plan is working, you should try practicing like it’s already race day. That is, you should see whether or not your performance is at its peak or you need to amp your diet more.
The reason for your triathlon diet is to get you enough energy for you to get on the race with your best. If you haven’t achieved that yet, then you should take a look again at your diet. You might also need to adjust your hydration, which is also important.
Just one more week and you’d be feeling quite nervous especially that you’re into the final countdown towards the actual race. At this point of time, you should focus more on hydrating yourself well. That is, you should say NO to alcohol or caffeine since they’re both diuretic.
Drinking these two will make you sweat out more and go pee more because they make your body lose more water than necessary. Stick to pure water instead. You can also infuse your water with fruits like lemons if you want to make it healthier.
You should also increase your carbohydrate intake to give you the right amount of energy you need days before the race. Just take note to eat carbs with low fiber to lessen possible digestive stress or you’d be wearing sport diapers when you race. Because you have to lessen your fiber intake, you should stick to eating safe fruits like cantaloupe, mango, and papaya. White bread, rice, and potatoes would be safe, too. You can also eat other fruits as long as they don’t have edible skins.
And during race day, you have to stick to your diet a week before the actual race is on. That is, the low fiber carbs is a must. You should also have a bit of protein to keep your blood stabilized despite the lack of fiber. That is, you can go for a smoothie, a yogurt, a nutrition bar, or a peanut butter on plain toast.
Just remember not to eat up in less than two hours before the race. This is because your body would need oxygen to digest your food and that is something you can’t afford to lose during the race. Just to be safe, you can eat three or four hours before the race to fuel up your energy.
Now, a few more reminders…
One of the biggest mistakes that triathletes do is to skip drinking water. If you’re not aware of it yet, dehydration is the main cause of nausea, dizziness, headaches, and cramping that can easily slow you down especially during the race. Aside from water, you should also consider some sports drink or smoothie to replenish the electrolytes you’ve sweated out.
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