What to Eat Before a First Sprint Triathlon

Multi-ethnic swimmers running in surf
Sprint triathlons consist of a biking portion, a swimming portion and a run. (Image: Erik Isakson/Blend Images/Getty Images)

A sprint triathlon is a challenging athletic event in which you have to swim a distance of 750 meters, run a distance of 5 kilometers and bike a distance of 20 kilometers. Although a well-designed training plan is essential for success in a sprint triathlon, proper nutrition is vital as well. Eating the right foods can support your training and prepare your body for competition.

Carbohydrates

Oatmeal with cherries and chocolate chips
Gauge your carbohydrate intake based on the length of the race. (Image: ErikaMitchell/iStock/Getty Images)

Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy, so be sure to consume adequate amounts to support your performance. You should gauge your carbohydrate intake based on how long your race will take. The website suggests consuming 2 to 2.5 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of bodyweight for an hour-long race; 2.5 to 3 grams for a 75 to 90 minute race; and 3 to 3.5 grams for a 90- to 120-minute race.

Fat

Handful of almonds on a white background
Fat intake helps your body absorb vitamins and provide it a source of fuel. (Image: Sophie James/iStock/Getty Images)

Fat intake is important because it helps your body absorb vitamins and also provides a source of fuel, as fat provides nine calories per gram. According to training website TriathaNewbie.com, a diet with 28 percent of fat is effective during training, while a diet with 15 percent from fat is effective for the period leading up to and during your race, as this provides more room in your diet for carbohydrates.

Protein

Dinner in the garden during summer
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps your body build cells and tissues. (Image: Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images)

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps your body build cells and tissues, including muscle tissue. For this reason, protein is important when you engage in athletic activity. BeginnerTriathlete.com explains that consuming protein after your workouts can improve your muscle protein deposition, which aids in muscle gain. In addition, the website notes that protein may reduce viral and bacterial infections.

Consuming protein before exercise can be beneficial, as it can increase amino acid delivery to your muscles, which will promote strength and muscle retention.

Water

Pensive blond woman drinking water
Consuming water is just as important as food. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Consuming water is just as important as consuming the right foods in sprint triathlon training. Iou should consume between 17 and 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, and 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of bodyweight you've lost after your event. During your sprint triathlon, you should consume seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes.

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