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Post-Triathlon Recovery Nutrition Essentials

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Post-Triathlon Recovery Nutrition Essentials

Just like any other discipline, Triathlon requires proper nutrition to support your training and performance.

No matter your level of experience, understanding how to fuel your body is one thing that is guaranteed to set you up for success. Following a proper nutrition plan will help you achieve your performance goals, aid recovery, and support overall health.

Once a race is over, it can be tempting to reach for the nearest junk food. But is this the right thing to do? Post-race nutrition is just as important as pre-race and is what will help your body recover and repair itself.

So, what are the post-race recovery essentials for Triathlon?



Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary energy sources. Carbs are converted to Glucose, which is then stored as Glycogen. Consuming carbs post exercise not only replenishes glycogen stores but also reduces muscle soreness, maintains blood sugar levels and reduces exercise-induced immunodepression.

Most of the time our bodies can use the readily available Glucose that circulates in our blood however, during moderate-high intensity activity (like Triathlon) Glucose in the blood will be used up pretty quickly.

This is when Glycogen stores are tapped into. The human body only has a very limited storage capacity for glycogen so these stores can become quickly depleted. This is why athletes use in-race nutrition to try and keep their energy stores topped up.

Post-Triathlon (especially Half Iron & Iron Length) it is likely that your Glycogen stores will be depleted. Our advice would be to incorporate around 1.2g carbs per 1kg of your own body weight into your post run meal.

Some high carb foods include:

  • Grains- Rice, quinoa, pasta, lentils, oats.
  • Beans- Chickpeas, kidney beans.
  • Bread
  • Fruits & vegetables- Sweet potato, beetroot, corn, bananas.


Seems like an obvious one but protein is so important for recovery. During prolonged exercise our muscles become damaged, protein helps to repair and promote muscle growth. Making it essential for post-triathlon nutrition.

The first 20-30 minutes post triathlon are crucial for kickstarting the recovery process. In this time, we recommend grabbing a recovery drink. Recovery Drinks are packed with protein, carbs, and sodium and will help your body begin to repair, as well as going down much easier than solid food.

For high protein Recovery Drinks we recommend:

You should always make sure to sip on your recovery drink, no matter how delicious. Drinking slower will allow your body time to absorb the nutrients.

See: Recovery Drinks: How & When You Should Use Them 

Once you’re able to you will then want to eat a proper meal. This should ideally contain between 20-30g of protein.

This could look like:

  • Nuts & nut butters- Peanut or almond are great on toast or a bagel to combine protein and carbs.
  • Eggs- scrambled eggs on toast or a veggie omelette.
  • Meat & Fish- With veg or mixed into a pasta sauce.

An ideal carb-protein ration for a recovery meal is 3:1 carbs to protein.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s can help aid recovery by providing support through the following:

  • Reducing inflammation: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties which reduce inflammation through out the body, including in the joints.
  • Improving joint health: They are suggested to promote formation of healthy joint cartilage and maintaining joint lubrication.
  • Reducing pain sensitivity: Omega-3 might reduce sensitivity to pain. Omega-3 can affect certain neural pathways involved in pain signalling and reduce the perception of pain, aiding recovery.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Omega-3 can help improve blood flow, reducing inflammation and supporting the body’s natural healing process.

You can get Omega-3’s by taking a supplement or incorporating them into your recovery meal. Foods rich in Omega-3’s include:

  • Oily fish- Mackerel, salmon, anchovies, salmon.
  • Nuts & Seeds- Flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts.
  • Plant oils- flax, soy, canola.

See Omega-3 Supplements for Joint Pain: What Science Says for more on this topic and Omega-3 supplements. 


You must rehydrate post Triathlon! Dehydration occurs during exercise when you lose more fluids and electrolytes then you’re taking in. To avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place you should make sure to take on fluids and electrolytes throughout the race.

Maintaining Sodium levels:

While it is great to drink plenty of water, drinking too much water can dilute your blood sodium level and put you at risk of becoming Hyponatraemic.

As well as drinking plain water post-race, try incorporating an electrolyte replacement tab or drink.

STYRKR SLT07 Hydration Drink Tablets 

  • 360mg Sodium, 280mg Potassium, 20mg Calcium, 11mg Magnesium.

226ERS SUB-9 Salts Electrolytes 

  • 250mg Sodium, 54mg Potassium, 18mg Magnesium, 2.5mg Calcium.

For an in depth look at workout hydration see: The Art of Staying Hydrated During Workouts 




As well as all the things you should do post-race, there are some things you should avoid, no matter how tempting.


While a post-race pint or glass of wine might be very tempting, excessive alcohol can slow down muscle recovery and cause dehydration- something we are already trying to avoid.

Processed fats:

Greasy foods high in processed fats should be avoided during your recovery period. While a bowl of chips might be full of carbs, the fat will slow down delivery of nutrients to the body and will most likely leave you feeling full but not nourished.

‘Healthy’ low protein meals:

The complete opposite to a bowl of chips, you should also avoid eating plain green salads. While healthy, these don’t contain the protein or carbs you need for your recovery. Try adding croutons or potatoes for a source of carbs and chicken or tofu for some protein.


Following our guide to Post-Triathlon recovery nutrition should hopefully set you up for a speedy recovery and have you ready to get back out there for the next challenge.


Related Articles:

Nutrition Guide – Triathlon 

Answering the Top Googled Triathlon Questions 

Fuelling Your Run: A Guide To Nutrition for Long-Distance Running 

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