The days leading up to a triathlon are filled with all kinds of emotions. It’s easy to feel unprepared. You’ll wonder if you can even finish, let alone meet your goals. There’s extra stress as you try to squeeze in last minute training without tiring yourself out for the race. All of these nerves can tie your stomach up in knots and make you lose your appetite. Don’t let the worry stop you from getting enough fuel for the big event. Nutrition is not only important for a good race day performance, but also for an easier recovery. Experienced triathletes share their meal plans leading up to a race.

Matt Westenburg

Pre-Race Meal

The night before your race eat a low-fiber dinner. Foods like white spaghetti with meat sauce or rice paired with lean meat. Dinner rolls, vegetables and other easy to digest foods are good options. Don’t use the night before a race to expand your palate. Stick with foods that you’re familiar with and are easy to digest. If you get especially anxious before triathlon races, try to establish a routine meal. This can help you stay calm and prepare for race day. Consider the timing of your pre-race meal. You’ll want to eat relatively early to allow plenty of time for your food to digest.

Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks in the days leading up to a race but don’t over do it the night before. You are not a camel. Your body won’t store the extra water you consume. Find the right hydration level for your body.

Matt Westenburg

Race Day Breakfast

What you eat for breakfast on the morning of the race is more important than your pre-race meal. Breakfast is the key to ensuring that your body is ready to go but keep it light. Toast with peanut butter, granola and other carbohydrate-rich foods are good options.

Race Fuel

Remember to bring gels, energy bars, gummies and other items to provide fuel during your race. It’s important to practice eating these during your training. If you eat too much you can get sick. If you don’t eat enough you will run out of energy and slow down. While you race you want to find a balance of how much fuel it takes to maintain your best performance level.