What to Eat Before a Triathlon

pre-triathlon dinner mealWhat types of foods are best? Pasta is a traditional favorite among athletes, but other carbohydrate-rich options include bread, cereal, bagels, potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, pizza (go easy on the cheese) and sweet potatoes. It’s also important to get some protein the day before your race, so include a 3-4 oz. serving of fish, meat or tofu in your dinner. Avoid high-fiber or gas-forming foods like beans and any type of food that may upset your stomach or can interfere with sleep.

If you’re traveling to a new location for your triathlon, make sure you plan your meals in advance and be sure your favorite foods are available in the race city. Some athletes prefer not to take any chances and pack their favorite foods to bring with them.

The day before your race, spread your calories out throughout the day, so that you’re eating something every two to three hours. Eat three normal-sized meals and two to four snacks. About 65-70% of your calories come from carbohydrates, so try to add an extra serving of carbs to your meals and make sure your snacks are mostly carbs. Stick to healthy options and try to avoid sugary junk foods.

Try to eat your pre-triathlon dinner somewhere between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., so you’ll have plenty of time to digest before you go to bed. If you eat on the early side, you can also have a small snack a couple of hours later.

Pre-Triathlon breakfast mealBe sure to finish your breakfast at least 90 minutes before the triathlon start. Don’t have a huge breakfast and stick with mostly carbs and some protein. Some examples of good pre-triathlon breakfast foods (again, don’t experiment with any new foods) include: a bagel or toast with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of oatmeal. Drink plenty of water and make sure you use the facilities before the race.

30 minutes before the race have a GU or Hammer Gell and you are ready to rock your triathlon.

View other food/diet and nutrition articles by our sponsor Hammer Nutrition

Your Comments:

  • Do you like a big carb meal before your event or do you take it a little lighter?
  • What is the best breakfast you’ve had before a race?
  • Any great or terrible pre-race meal stories – we want to know yours!
  • How much breakfast do you eat?

One Reply to “What to Eat Before a Triathlon”

  1. What if you’re a fat adapted Triathlete? One who eats a low carb or Paleo diet? If you are one of these individuals then the diet described would not work. In fact, it would do more harm than good …

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