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Excerpt: How To Fuel For Your First Race

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Jul 23, 2014


The editors of Triathlete have compiled the magazine’s very best tips and advice into The Beginner Triathlete’s Guidebook. This special edition eBook takes readers step-by-step from registration to race day with all the info you need to successfully complete a triathlon.

Below is an excerpt from the Swim Training chapters. Buy the eBook here.

How To Fuel For Your First Race

Nutrition is key to becoming an overall healthy triathlete, but it becomes even more important on race day for fueling performance, avoiding GI issues and recovering from your efforts. Follow this sample menu, suggested by nutrition and performance coach Krista Austin, Ph.D., for guidelines on how to eat on race day. You will want to test-run your nutrition/meals during training so there are no surprises. A cardinal rule in triathlon: Don’t do or try anything new on race day.

Race nutrition starts the night before the gun goes off. Eat a relatively early dinner the night before the race—no later than 12 hours before your race start if possible. Make carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, veggies) the focal point of your pre-race dinner, but don’t feel compelled to gorge on them. Avoid foods you seldom eat. Try to eat something similar to the type of dinner you normally eat before a big day of training. Consider choosing a “ritual” dinner that you re-create more or less exactly before every race. This can calm pre-race anxiety and put you in the right mind frame to compete. Don’t drink too much water (or other fluids). You are not a camel. You cannot store water. Overhydrating will only necessitate sleep-ruining bathroom trips during the night.

Looking for a triathlon to sign up for this year? Check out our partner, the TriRock Series. Their events feature a fun atmosphere for triathletes of all levels.

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FILED UNDER: Features / Getting Started / Nutrition / Performance Nutrition

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a senior editor at Triathlete magazine, a four-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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