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Nutrition for beginner triathletes – Here is all you need to know

In this article, we will talk about nutrition for beginner triathletes. This article provides you with a lot of information about nutrition for beginner triathletes.

When it comes to triathlons, nutrition is sometimes referred to as the “fourth discipline.” It might be challenging to know what to eat & when training, preparing and competing in a triathlon. It’s difficult enough to coordinate a triathlon’s swim, cycle, and run segments, much alone devise a nutrition strategy for a sprint and half-Ironman race!

Fortunately, we’ve included all the information you need to know about the triathlete diet, developing a triathlon nutrition plan, or even nutrition for beginner triathletes.

And just to be clear, here’s what I’m talking about. To talk about nutrition and diet, we often refer to food that isn’t consumed during exercise or competition. In the context of training and racing, “fueling” refers to the consumption of calories and/or hydration.

5 rules Nutrition for beginner triathletes

We talk about the 5 rules of nutrition for beginner triathletes. These are the following:

1. Recover right.

Within 30–60 minutes following training sessions or races, consume half a gram of carbohydrates per pound of the body weight, as well as 15–20 grams of protein.

2. Healthy snacks plan!

Packing two healthy snacks each day takes no more than two minutes, and you’ll save hundreds of calories you’d otherwise consume.

3. Eat carbs

It should be consumed every day with most meals, as well as before and after exercises. You know it’s important, and it definitely is during a triathlon!

To get a precise estimate you can use our triathlon carbohydrate calculator.

4. Be realistic about your weight reduction goals.

It’s conceivable to lose 5–6 pounds in 5–6 weeks, but it’s not viable to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. Slow and steady truly does win the race when it comes to losing weight, mainly if you’re eating to support the workouts. Ads or supplements claiming to help you lose weight should not be taken as gospel. Gimmicks are useless!

5. Don’t forget the veggies and fruits!

Even if we’ve heard it before, it’s easy to forget to include fresh vegetables in your diet when you’re busy. To maintain a healthy weight and nutritional intake, aim for 2–3 fruits & 4–6 vegetables each day.

Triathlon nutrition: what to eat

It is essential for triathletes to have a diet that includes protein, carbs, and fat, as well as enough vegetables and fruits to ensure that they are getting the correct number of micro nutrients.

A healthy meal plan for nutrition for beginner triathletes guarantees that you eat enough so that the workouts are well and that your body can recuperate and adapt so that you are ready for the next exercise. 

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, protein intake for triathletes should be 1.2–2.0 g/kg/day. Protein is vital for muscle repair and immunological function. Hence, as your performance improves, you may need to increase your protein consumption. 

Taking in 20-30 grams of protein within 20-30 minutes after completing a high-volume or high-intensity workout will help replenish glycogen reserves, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone raised during exercise), and initiate the healing process. A high carbohydrate intake is also recommended for triathletes to aid in their training and recuperation. 

When you go from an hour of exercising to two or more hours a day, your carb demands might quickly arise from 5 grams per kilogram of body weight to 8 grams or more (a jump from 350 to 580 grams of carbs per day for a 160-pound beginner athlete, or from 275 to 430 grams of carbs per day for a 120-pound athlete). Choosing high-quality carbs is important for athletes since not all carbohydrates are made equal.

Triathlon nutrition: what to eat while running

It’s recommended to consume fluids (electrolytes or energy drinks) and energy gels or chews throughout a run exercise if you’re planning to refuel yourself. Aiming to maintain a healthy blood sugar level and minimize digestive difficulties is typically the most important goal for most people. 

A hydration vest may be a good option if you’re planning to run for more than two hours at a time. Always keep in mind that lengthier and hotter exercises will need to replenish your body’s lost electrolytes. For racing and training sessions lasting more than an hour, you’ll need to increase your salt intake.

As a general rule, most triathletes believe that eating when running is difficult. But the truth is unless you’re covering a lot of kilometers, you don’t need to eat while you’re running—you just need to recharge after you finish the run. To reduce the risk of G.I. upset during long runs (and on race day), triathletes sometimes benefit from a diet low in fiber. In endurance sports, it is all too frequent to see runners trot.

Triathlon nutrition: what to eat Pre-Race

You should never try anything new on race day, and that goes for pre-race as well, whether you are training for an Ironman or your first sprint triathlon. You need to figure out what works best for you in training.

On race day you can eat your pre-race meal with confidence that it will provide you with the calories and nutrition you need without the danger of an upset stomach. Pre-race meals for triathletes are carbohydrate-rich with little fiber.

Pizza and spaghetti are popular choices for others, but yours is really one of a kind. Most individuals avoid high-fiber &/or high-fat diets in order to keep their digestive systems running smoothly. Your pre-race breakfast should be had 1.5 to 2 hours before the start of the race, assuming you are competing in the early morning, as is customary in triathlon.

For shorter races, a lot of food isn’t necessary, but you should consume enough to replenish your liver glycogen reserves and keep hunger at bay. Toast, quick oatmeal, and a smoothie are all excellent options for a modest breakfast. If necessary, a modest carbohydrate-rich food (e.g., half of such a bagel with jam and butter or half of such an energy bar) may be ingested 30 minutes before the race.

Triathlon nutrition for beginners: the conclusion

When it comes to juggling the demands of a full-time job with training for a triathlon, finding the time to eat healthily may be challenging. Since many athletes train early in the morning and swim to get a head start on the day, it’s common for beginners triathletes to have a light “first” breakfast and then a proper “second” breakfast that includes enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats to replenish lost energy after the swim. 

A water and electrolyte drink could be a good idea if it’s a lengthy workout. The fact that you sweat while swimming should not be overlooked! Meal planning may be especially helpful if you’re the kind that races directly from the pool in the morning to the office.

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