Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Fuelling for a Triathlon is about finding what works for you and your body. Not every athlete is the same when it comes to digestion, many athletes can digest food, whereas others struggle to absorb a gel without their stomach performing circles during a race. I am going to explain in this post what works for me - hopefully, this helps anyone struggling with their fuelling. My first tip is to practice your nutrition, you never go into a race without training so why would you go into a race without testing what you are going to consume to help your body perform to its maximum potential. So a few weeks before racing try taking a gel 10 to 20 minutes before finishing a training run. Then you can judge the results - how do you feel? Did you have enough energy? Was your stomach settled? Depending on the time and distance of your event, this will have a huge effect on what you must consume. I will race the Sprint Distance Triathlon - the distances are an 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. This means I will be racing for 1 hour, so my body will need approximately 60g-90g of carbohydrates. So I need to be careful not to over-fuel as well as under-fuelling. If my race starts early like 8.30am, so at around 6am I will have my usual breakfast of porridge, this will give me plenty of time to digest it. Throughout the morning, when warming up and setting up transition, I will be sipping an SIS carbohydrate orange drink. In transition my bike will have a 500ml bottle of carbohydrate drink, this contains 47g of carbohydrates, then taped to the top tube of my bike will be a SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel which contains 22g of carbohydrates. Having both of these on the bike means I know if I finish them both I have more than enough energy to get me through the 5km run. One hour before the start I will take a SiS GO Energy and Caffeine Gels. The benefits of having this gel are: "Caffeine acts centrally on the brain to lower the perception of effort, which is particularly noticeable in longer events. In distance events over 90 minutes, mental tiredness, as well as physical fatigue, plays a large role in determining performance as the event progresses. Caffeine can help to maintain physical performance in this situation. Depleting your carbohydrate stores during exercise is one of the major causes of fatigue. Delivering the additional carbohydrate provided in SiS Energy + Caffeine Gels during exercise can help improve performance, race times and delay the onset of fatigue." Source: https://www.scienceinsport.com/ Just as important, is your post-race recovery, warm down and fuel. The body will need protein and carbohydrates - I always have a drink made up SiS REGO Rapid Recovery, again a personal choice. These three forms of energy are enough caffeine and carbohydrates to fuel my race. I do not always get every race spot on with fuelling, but I try my best, it is very trial and error. I would recommend working off the 60g per hour of carbohydrates when you're racing. Always consider the race duration and plan your nutrition around this, but always try before you go into the race.
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