So you’ve made the bold decision to race a triathlon. Go you! Now that you’ve got your training schedule planned out you’re probably wondering, “How should I eat to prep for this race?” It’s important to think about your nutrition just as much as you plan to train. You’ll want to think about the best foods that will get your body ready for the big day, so your diet beforehand, during and after are essential, right? Read on to learn how to fuel for your triathlon

There’s A Lot to Take In

Look no further and stress no longer, below you’ll find a nutrition plan that’ll fuel you to the start line, push you across the finish, and fill you up after all those hard-earned miles are raced. Here we break down the key macronutrients per meal and how to incorporate them into every time you sit down to eat so you get the best results for when the big day arrives.

It’s always ideal to eat a well-balanced diet, but most especially when you’re training for a tough race like a triathlon. No matter the distance, sprint or ironman. This means incorporating the 3 macronutrients into every meal you consume. You’ll want to make sure your plate is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Now let’s break them down.

Protein

Eating protein-rich food supplies the amino acids your muscles need for recovery and growth. Many may steer clear of high protein diets due to fear of becoming “muscley” or “too big” but as a triathlete, your body absolutely needs that strength to push you through the many training hours you spend working out. By consuming the right amount of protein, you’re helping your body regain the strength it lost during all the cardio hours that burned through your muscle. Here are some healthy choices when it comes to protein.

  • Lean Meats: Poultry & Fish
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Low-Fat Dairy Products

Meal Options

  • Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with Almonds and Fresh Berries
  • Lunch: Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato & Broccoli
  • Dinner: Chicken with Brown Rice, & Green Beans
  • Snack: Hard Boiled Egg, Dark Chocolate Trail Mix, Apple W/ Peanut Butter

Carbs

If you’re training for a tough race like a triathlon, DO NOT FEAR CARBS! To be honest, you should never fear carbs. Carbohydrates are your main fuel source. So if you’re feeling sluggish after a workout, you’re probably not taking in enough carbs. They are your body’s preferred source of energy and calories. For endurance races like a triathlon, it’s best to get energy from slow-digesting carbs, or foods with a low glycemic index (GI). Foods with a low GI level means that they digest slower, which helps you stay fuller for longer. Eating whole food carbohydrates are the best way to fuel your training and not fear the carb.

  • Fruits: Bananas, Apples, Berries
  • Whole Grains: Oats, Brown Rice, Quinoa
  • Nuts: Walnuts, Peanuts, Macadamias

Meal Options

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal W/ Apples & Peanut Butter
  • Lunch: Brown Rice, Black Beans & Sweet Potato
  • Dinner: Whole Wheat Pasta W/ Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Snack: Wholegrain Crackers W/ Hummus, Brown Rice Cakes W Avocado & Strawberries, Air Popped Popcorn with Nuts & Dark Chocolate

Fats

Fats are your friend when it comes to training, so don’t shy away from them. While fats provide energy for your muscles, they also contain essential vitamins and fatty acids which are key for training. They’re also a great food source that keeps you fuller for longer because your body has to work harder to burn the fat for energy so it’ll help you push through those long hours of training.

  • Avocados
  • Olive Oil/ Olives
  • Pistachios
  • Fatty Fish

Meal Options

  • Breakfast: Omelette with Avocado & Feta
  • Lunch: Spinach Salad W/ Avocado, Walnuts & Strawberries & Olive Oil
  • Dinner : Salmon W/ Quinoa, & Asparagus
  • Snack: Chia Pudding, Sardines, Olives

Bottom Line

Training for a triathlon is a lot of work. It takes time, effort, and a lot of guts to even think about racing in one. So don’t let your race times or enjoyment plummet because you didn’t fuel your body properly. Eat whole foods, and don’t limit yourself from them. While it’s important to keep in mind that not all foods are created equally, you’ll be filled with fuel and nourishment if you are eating whole and minimally processed foods. Get to the line, and through the finish with a proper training plan, eating healthy foods, and always having a positive attitude.