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Triathlon Nutrition Advice

Hello Everyone

My name is Joel Enoch, I am a GB Age-group triathlete and also work as a sport scientist for Lucozade Sport educating people about sport nutrition. This morning I found myself down at Datchet open water swimming venue berating myself for being so foolish as to leave my warm bed and exchange it for a freezing cold lake out of choice. Nevertheless, as slightly insane open water types, we all understand that it is a great way to start the day and leaves us with – in the words of Blur – ‘an enormous sense of well-being’. This morning also reminded me how many of us Triathletes there are out there and as part of my job I got round to thinking how I could help out a bit as the season fast approaches (Grendon on Sunday…gulp!!!). Therefore, I started this topic so that any of you with ANY questions at all regarding nutrition for triathlon can post them up here and I can get back to you with an answer asap. Anything from ‘what should I take in a race’, to ‘what is the difference between different sport drinks?’ and all things in-between.
As a starting point, read one of my blogs on the very useful TZero website:
http://tzero-tri.com/2010/04/19/triathl ... -avoid-it/
Hope to hear form you soon


  • Hi all,

    I hope that all of your seasons are progressing well so far. As Saturday fast approches, it brings with it the first olympic disace race for 10 months for me at Little Beaver.

    I'm sure that some of you are in the same boat so this post is just to say that if you have any nutrition questions, don't hasitate to ask.


  • rod1966rod1966 Posts: 2
    Having just been introduced to the dark art of nutrition i have found myself confused about how you get pre-loaded, fuel in-race and post recovery plus fluid intake.all this and you still have to focus on getting to the start line! to cap it all last two times out i found i suffered stomach cramps/stitch as soon as i got off the bike and into the run...any suggestions or recommendations appreciated.
  • Hi Rod1966
    Thanks for your question! You commented that

    ‘i have found myself confused about how you get pre-loaded, fuel in-race and post recovery plus fluid intake ‘

    I see four point of interest here, all of which I could go into some depth with, however, for now, I’ll just give an overview of each and then you can pick up with me any specific question in the future.

    Pre-Race Carb Loading: This is the process of making sure your carbohydrate stores are full before a race as you body used carbs to fuel exercise over 70% of max effort. You only need to worry about this before races that are going to last longer than 90mins. In general it is useful to consume an increased amount of Carbs for 2-3 days before a long race and as a rough guide, you need to get in about 5-7g per KG of Body Weight. Although the basis of the normal diet should be foods that have complex carbs (the healthy – fibrous kind), during carb loading it is very difficult to eat the amount you need to in this form, therefore it is fine to have simpler carbs over these few days. Examples of this include refined cereals, white rice, bread of pasta or energy bars and sweets. Personally, I don’t change my diet very much; rather I just swap things like oats for rice crispies and snack on low fat, high sugar snacks like energy bars, sweet or jaffa cakes whilst drinking a sports drink with some extra carbs in. Lastly, it’s good to avoid eating too much the night before a race. You can store carbs for longer than 24hrs, so spreading out your intake of carbs over the couple of days prior to a race will help you feel comfortable.

    Fuel in race: Again, this will depend on race intensity, however, you can store 1.5hrs of energy, so you don’t need to take on board any energy for the first 45mins of a race. After this, I would advise that you try to consume 30-60g of carbs per hour in simple forms like Gels or Isotonic sports drinks. Spread out intake as well, drip-feeding you system is key!

    Read more here: http://tzero-tri.com/2010/03/30/triathl ... ts-drinks/

    Post race recovery: Recovery is all about putting back what you ‘lost’ during exercise. Therefore, fluid and electrolytes are needed to replace those lost in sweat and drinking 250mls every 15mins or so after the race until urine colour is clear will rehydrate you effectively. Carbohydrates need to be replaced and 1g per KG of BW as soon as possible after exercise would be advisable. If it has been a hard race or training session you might need to consume a similar amount a couple of hours afterwards. Finally, you need 15-20g of protein to kick start protein synthesis and improve recovery. It might also be worth repeating this every 2-3 hours for the next couple of days after a tough race.

    Fluid intake: Generally speaking, I would suggest that you hydrate before exercise with around 500mls of fluid 2-3 hours beforehand. If you feel like you need to top this up then further 200mls 2 hours before hand should do the trick! During exercise, 500-600mls per hour is a good recommendation to start with and this should always contain at least 150mg of sodium (plus possibly other electrolytes). Practically this can be hard, but within tri, the bike offers the perfect opportunity to stay hydrated so that you can get by during the run where fluid intake can be more problematic.

    As a starting point I hope that the above helps, let me know any other questions that you have.


  • Hi all

    I hope that the above info was useful, please let me know if you have any other questions.

    As I said in my first post, as part of our work with athletes, coaches, event organisers (etc) The Lucozade Sport Science Team are constantly on the lookout for different areas of support we can provide, whether it be guidance on nutritional strategies during long-haul flights or information on what to look out for on food labels. So, if you have any suggestions on areas that you think would be relevant, please send your suggestions my way.

    I guess many of you will have raced at The Deva, Blenheim or Big Cow last weekend so I hope you all had good races.

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