How nutrition can be a triathlete’s greatest challenge

By Ea Francisco | Photos by Carissa Gan and Isidor Emanuel/Unsplash

What you do in the days before your big race is crucial. Up until the morning of the event, a lot can still go wrong. Your training isn’t the only thing you have to consider, but your nutrition, too. It’ll be frustrating to find out that you messed up because of food, so watch out for these three pre-race triathlete mistakes.

Not Having Breakfast

Consider the fact that you’ve been asleep for hours, so your body has been without fuel the entire time. If you skip breakfast, you’ll have low sugar levels and will be prone to fatigue and dizziness. Schedule time for breakfast before a race. You should eat at least two to three hours before the race because eating too close to the start can cause cramping and heartburn.

Changing Your Diet Last Minute

You know what works for you and your body, so stick with familiar foods before and on race day. Eating new and strange foods can upset your stomach and cause you to pull out of the race. Studies say that consuming large quantities of carbs is more effective when it has been practiced before because you’re able to utilize it better. Late changes to your nutrition can have negative effects, especially if it’s food you have during a race.

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Too Much Fiber, Protein, and Fat

While protein and fat are important overall, before a race is not the right time for it. These take longer to process in the body, so it won’t immediately be converted into energy. Having them in small amounts might not make much of a difference, but it’s better if you eat more carbohydrates before a race.

Also, it’s better if you lessen your fiber intake this time. Large quantities of fiber before a long race can cause bloating, gas, and cramping. You can eat small amounts throughout your race, but eating too much prior might give you diarrhea during the event.

Naturally, your diet before a race isn’t going to be the same as your regular day, but it’s not supposed to go too far from your usual. It’s best to be cautious with what you eat before a race. All that time and effort spent training would just be wasted if you end up pulling out at the last minute.