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The lowdown on triathlon nutrition

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Howard Calvert speaks to senior sports nutritionist Emma Barraclough to find out what to eat and drink before, during and after your race

With only three weeks to go until the ShortList Triathlon, it’s time to think about fuelling your race. A sprint triathlon may only take 70-120 minutes, but in that time you’ll burn hundreds of calories and so need to make the most of your power output during all three disciplines. Emma Barraclough of SiS reveals what food and fluids you should take onboard in preparation for the big sprint.

The night before

“Ideally you should have a carbohydrate-based meal, based on pasta, rice or potatoes,” says Barraclough. “Some lean protein is fine but avoid anything too fatty, such as cheese, processed meat, pastry etc that will be slow to transit through your gut and may increase the risk of GI distress during your event.”

The morning of the event

“Have a carbohydrate-based breakfast 2-3 hours before your event starts,” says Barraclough. “This could be cereal, porridge, toast and jam, or fruit and yogurt. Ensuring that you are well hydrated is also very important. Ideally, you should drink 500-1,000ml of fluid from waking to the start of the event. This could be an energy drink such as SiS GO Electrolyte, or SiS GO Energy to add to your carb loading.”

During the triathlon

“The bike is really the only opportunity to take fuel and fluid on board, and typically lasts 30-60 minutes depending on racing speed,” says Barraclough. “To maintain hydration levels and take a little fuel onboard it’s useful to carry one 500ml bottle of energy drink to sip from during the ride. You may also want to carry an energy gel with you to take just before the end of the bike leg to give you a lift for the run.”

Afterwards

If you can still stand, you need to replace your muscle glycogen stores, says Barraclough. “Recovery drinks are an excellent way to replenish and rehydrate post-race. Your metabolism remains lifted for around 30 minutes post-exercise, and you will absorb nutrients much faster in this period. A product such as SiS REGO Rapid Recovery contains carbohydrates and proteins that can be mixed in a bottle in your training bag ready to go as soon as you finish.”

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