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Nutrition Guide - Triathlon

Nutrition Guide - Triathlon

Nutrition for multi-discipline endurance events can be a daunting prospect, but the gains from having a nutrition plan massive.  From short to long distance events a tried and tested nutrition plan will give you that extra confidence and belief that will make the difference on race day.


Make sure you are hydrated, starting with a pre-loading strategy. Ideally, drinking 500ml of energy drink between breakfast and your event. There are a number of energy drinks on the market that can be used as an effective preload. 

Start sipping, swilling and swallowing your energy drink anything up to four hours but no shorter than half an hour in advance of your event. The maximum benefit is obtained from drinking early, as the slower you sip-feed your fuel into your system the more time the body has to absorb it and maximise performance.

Preload Drink Mix with 500ml of water.


Depending on the length of your swim will have an impact on energy deficit on your body. Taking a gel 15-25 minutes before your event will help keep your energy levels up until you get into transition.

For longer events taking on salts via salt tablets pre event will help with dehydration and will help combat stomach issues and cramping.

Transition - Swim to Bike

This is your first opportunity to get fuel following event start, for longer event have something ready to help get your store replenished, energy gels are ideal for this.

During - Bike

With any event with a minimum expected finish time between 1h 30m - 2h 00m you would benefit from 100 kcals per hour. On the bike, this is best achieved using an energy drink as your base fuel. 500ml bottle per hour easily made up and left in position on the bike.

This is also a benefit for athletes who suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels.

Additional fuel can be gained from gels, bars to real food whatever you can happily consume during your ride.

During - Run

Hitting the run from the bike you will hopefully be back into a regular fuelling routine, so you will need to continue this on the run don't risk stopping your fuelling the key is to take fuel constantly on from the start of the race don't wait until it's too late.

On the run operating a strategy to consume 1 x Gel every 5-6km \ 3 - 5 miles or 20 - 35 minutes.

If you have had issues with energy gels before don't let this put you off, taking nutrition too late in a race can cause stomach distress, also a drop in sodium can have a similar effect. The Key is to fuel little and often from the start.

If you are not keen on taking on energy gels you can switch to different fuelling methods including 

Drink alternative

An alternative to an energy gel strategy is to take on your fuel via an energy drink. This is also a benefit for runners who suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels.

You can also use gels, bars and chews with your energy drink fuelling.

Alternatively there are a number of great sources of fuel made in a chew/bean form - these are a direct replacement for gels however you will need to carry the packets and fuel as recommended. An example with CLIF SHOT BLOKS is that you would eat 3 blocks to get the same intake as you would from a single gel.


It is crucial that you refuel as soon as possible after your event, a combination of recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your event and some solid food.

Your post race cravings and treats will be high on your priority list but it's important to get yourself refuelled to aid the recovery process.

And remember however no matter how good your recovery drink tastes to get the maximum benefit DO NOT drink it too quickly, savour the drink and your body will have more time to absorb it.

As this is post event your solid food can be anything and normally something you are craving but if you know you have a space of time before you will be able to easily get food, a recovery bar or energy bar is the perfect solution and can be packed and ready in your post race kit bag.

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