Nutrition for the Best Triathlon Performance

A triathlon is one of the trickiest and most difficult types of event you can try, but the challenge is what makes it great. This race comprises a swimming section, followed by a large bicycle ride, and finally a long stretch of running. Therefore it's important to get the right nutrition in order to maximise performance and keep yourself healthy.

Nutrition Triathlon Performance

As a triathlon race is continuous, the racers are not given any break to relax between each event. Therefore the most important thing required to survive a triathlon and reach the finish line before the others is stamina. Individuals need to have enough strength and supply of energy to push themselves towards the end, and the ultimate source of building stamina and fueling your body!

However, if you are participating in a triathlon, you are not supposed to have an ordinary everyday meal. Rather, you have to be very specific regarding your diet so that it keeps you active and energetic throughout the day. Following are some effective and useful tips for race day nutrition.

Start Loading up on Carbs

Carbs are on the top of the list because of their relative high significance. The cells of our body burn glucose for instant energy and that's why it is considered as one of the best sources for the production of energy. Professional trainers recommend that racers should start consuming carb-loaded sources such as grains, white bread, rice, potatoes and more a few days before the final day.

The excess glucose consumed by the body is converted into glycogen, which is stored in the muscles and liver cells. This stored glycogen then releases glucose when you are performing strenuous workouts on the race day.  

Reduce your Caffeine Intake

People addicted to coffee and other caffeine sources should keep this tip in mind that a day or two before the race, they should bring their caffeine intake to a minimum. Caffeine is great for smaller workouts as it will give you body a boost both pysically and mentally. However once the caffeine has been used up your body will hit a low and you may feel tired and fatigued. 

This is not something that you need for the race day; rather, you need a consistent and continuous supply of energy from beginning to the end of the race. 

The Sodium Boost

Whilst there is a lot of emphasis on food and drink, don't forget that sodium is one of the most essential ions that the body requires all the time as it regulates the nervous system. Moreover, the fact that athletes lose 800 to 4000 milligrams of this ion each hour makes it even more necessary to consume enough of it, to avoid any breakdown due to a lack of sodium.  

Sodium can be found in a variety of places - salts, condiments, meat, fish, poulty and more. It's worth checking the labels on your food and trying to increase your sodium intake to compensate for the loss experienced during the race.

Filling your Bottles with Energy Drinks

Contrary to a common belief, professional triathlon trainers say that it is not very wise of racers to consume lots of water prior to the beginning of the race. This is because water develops a slushy belly which affects the performance of the participants in a negative way. Rather, it is advised to consume a good proportion of energy drinks that are loaded with nutritious herbs and essential ions that boost the metabolism of the body, regulate the blood pressure, and improve your stamina.


So that's some of our top tips for Triathlon training and running - enjoy the race! Are you looking to get involved in a triathlon? Check out our Triathlon listings here!


A triathlon is one of the trickiest and most difficult types of event you can try, but the challenge is what makes it great. It comprises of a swimming section, followed by a large bicycle ride, and finally a long stretch of running.

For anyone who has ever done an event involving one sport, such as a 10K run, and found themselves bored by the end, a triathlon might be the exciting fitness challenge you’ve been looking for! Combining three sports – swimming, cycling and running, a triathlon provides a varied and challenging workout that test your fitness and endurance across multiple disciplines.


Find a Traithlon near you


Sprint | Super Sprint | Olympic | Half Ironman | Ironman


What is a triathlon made up of?

The distance of a triathlon can vary, but the race will always begin with a swim start. Depending on the length of the course this could be in a swimming pool or an open water swim such as a lake or sea. 

The swimming section of the triathlon is then followed by a cycling section – beginners don’t need to splash out on an expensive new bike, if you already own a mountain bike you can use that for your first few races! The cycling section is considered by many triathletes to be the most challenging part of the endurance event, with standard triathlon courses incorporating a 40km bike leg.

The final leg of the triathlon is a run. Again, the distance will vary depending on the length of the course, but a 10k run is considered standard for a triathlon. 

Between stages there is also a transition, which is often referred to as the fourth discipline. The transition area is where you change your kit between stages, for example switching from your cycling gear to your running shoes. The time it takes you to do this is counted as part of your total triathlon time, so serious triathletes will have got their transitions down to a fine art.

What are the benefits of taking part in a triathlon?

Triathlons are great for those who are looking to improve their fitness, lose weight but don’t like the idea of doing a regular marathon of running event. The varied stages keep training and competing challenging and interesting, providing a total body workout. Those prone to running injuries may also benefit from the swimming and cycling sections, as the movements are lower impact on joints.

Regardless of sprint length, triathlons are typically divided into age groups. This means that you will be competing alongside other triathletes who fall into the same band for age and sex as you, with the exception of triathletes who fall into the separate elite category.

Top Triathlon Events in 2020

We have picked out the best events taking place in 2019. We have lots more listings available, just click on the 'Triathlons' tab at the top of this page to find them.

Ironman UK Wales

This event is well established as having one of the most challenging bike and run courses on the IRONMAN calendar.  It also boasts the most spectacular swim location of any IRONMAN event, and the inspiration gained from one of the most vocal and enthusiastically-supported events with tens of thousands of spectators who turn out for race day on all three disciplines.

Find out more about the Ironman Wales event here

Ironman Wales - Triathlon Event