For triathletes, nutrition and training go hand in hand. You can’t be a top triathlete by ignoring one and only focusing on the other. This is especially evident during triathlon race events.
You could have trained perfectly for your triathlon race, but if you get the nutrition part wrong on race day, you’ll be hampered. In order to maximize your effectiveness, make sure you aren’t making these six race day nutrition mistakes.
1. Eating right before your race
If you eat right before you get in the water for the swim, you could be in for a world of hurt after swimming a couple of hundred yards. Stomach cramps can hinder even the best of swimmers.
2. Not eating at all on race morning
I know that most people are nervous come race day morning and are afraid to eat anything for fear that it’ll exit the body just as fast. However, if you don’t eat before your race, you’ll definitely be fatigued during the triathlon and will feel sluggish and without energy.
3. Eating a big meal the night before your race
There is no need to gorge yourself the night before you toe the line at the race the next morning. If you eat something huge that your body doesn’t have time to process or digest, you will still feel the effects in the morning as you’re trying to prepare to race.
4. Worrying about nutrition during a sprint triathlon
I’ve seen countless people taping gel packets and sports beans to their bikes while setting up in transition at a sprint triathlon. You don’t need to do this. A sprint triathlon will be over in an hour or two; there’s no need to eat anything during the race. Your body wouldn’t even have time to absorb and use anything you ate anyways.
5. Eating something new during the race
The sage advice about training equipment holds true in the case of nutrition: “Don’t do something new during a race that you haven’t done in training.” If you’re participating in a longer race and need to worry about nutrition, make sure you eat the same things during the race that you have been during your training rides and runs.
6. Choosing a sports drink over water
In most cases, water will serve you best both during your training and during your racing. Sports drinks do have their place but many times there is an overemphasis on what they will do for you during training. Your body needs water so don’t neglect replenishing your body with water by solely relying on sports drinks.