Race Nutrition & Hydration

Race Nutrition & Hydration

Nutrition is the 4th discipline of Triathlon and is essential for endurance events.

Race nutrition is often underestimated in endurance sport, and often, we learn by experience very quickly! This is why working a race nutrition strategy prior to race day will save you from running out of fuel. As there is no 1 size fit all solution, it is important to spend the time to research, analyze and test during training and B races.
  • What to eat and How much?

    • What to eat:

The most important fuel for endurance is Carbohydrate "Carbs" as they are fast-acting and turn into energy as soon as they are ingested. What food you pick for your race nutrition is up to you, it has to be based on your taste and what food aspect you like. Some prefer to have solid food, other gels, or a mix of it. It is up to you and what makes you feel good. Some.
Whatever you pick between bars, gels, chews, fruit, liquid,... It is important to know how many carbs they each contain so you can keep track and do the maths later.
My other advice is to pick food containing multiple sources of carbs such as glucose and fructose for example, so it promotes a better absorption.

Tips: Check what race nutrition will be provided to your next race for fueling options.

    • How much to eat:

It is a balance between sufficient fuel and what your body can tolerate. Not enough will put you at risk of bonking or under performing and too much will give you GI issues. (I experienced both ends, it is not fun!). The rule of thumb is to consume between 60 gr and 120 gr per hour. I recommend coming up with a strategy plan using 60gr per hour for your next training or B race, and see how you feel at the end of it. Then next training, up your nutrition plan to 80gr or 100gr, and see how you feel then. You will need to be your own experiment and be your own judge.

  • What to drink and How much?

    • What to drink:

Fluids are lost through sweat, breathing and "body waste", keep in mind, you are not losing water only when you sweat, you are losing essentially sodium, which is the highest concentrated electrolyte in sweat. So you should aim to replace some of the water and electrolytes as you go.
I personally carry drinks with the "Flow" powder, which is loaded with calories with mainly carbs and sodium. The nutrition facts of this brand is perfect for endurance events, but again, depending on your taste you may want to consider other brands.
Rule of thumb for sodium intake during hot and humid races is between 500ml and 1,000ml per hr. Again this needs to be practiced and tested before your A races.
    • How much to drink?

Rate of swear varies by person, level of exertion and environmental conditions. Temperature changes and humidity can increase the amount you sweat. So your goal in racing is to drink when you are thirsty and be mindful of your sweat rate and so, aim to replace most of it. but do not drink more than you swear! So to know how much you should be drinking is the good old sweat test.

  • Sweat Test:

    • Important points:

      • Make sure to be well hydrated before your session
      • Weight yourself in and out before and right after your session
      • Dry off the extra sweat off you body before to weight out
      • Do not urinate between both scales
      • Know how much fluid to consumed between both scales
    • Calculation:

      • Each body weight pound equals 16 ounces of sweat loss, or 1 kg of weight loss equals 1,000ml of sweat loss
      • Fluid consumed between both scales need to be added back to the weight loss (weight difference between weight in and weight out).
      • Divide the total amount of sweat loss with the workout duration to have your sweat rate/hr
    • Collect Data: For a better analysis of your sweat rate collect to following through multiple sessions:

      • Weight in and out
      • Amount weight loss
      • Amount of fluid consumed
      • Triathlon discipline
      • Intensity of workout
      • Duration
      • Temperature
      • Humidity
      • Clothing
      • Date
      • Time of the day

Hope this helps!


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