Triathlon: The Five Best Nutrition Tricks

Introducing nutritional tricks that will boost your energy and speed your recovery…

1. Breakfast before morning swims

Sleeping overnight depletes the liver’s store of glycogen.  Liver glycogen is the major store of carbohydrate to regulate blood sugar.  When this is depleted your blood sugar starts to drop and fatigue sets in.  This won’t help concentration, and if you are trying to improve your technique you will struggle.  Look for foods high in carbohydrate, low in protein and low in fat.  Don’t compromise your sleep so choose foods you can eat on the go such as jam sandwiches, flapjacks or sports bars.

2. Protein after runs

Running is one of the most stressful forms of exercise you can undertake.  It produces signals which tell your body to start breaking itself down and causes large amounts of muscle damage.  Running is quite often the discipline of triathlon training which leads to injury.  A simple nutritional strategy to counteract the negative signals produced by running is to have a good source of protein straight after the training session.  If you are just going out for a plod have a yoghurt when you get in. If it is a longer run or quality session have a milkshake or carbohydrate-protein recovery drink.

3. Fish Oils

When we lived in caves and hunted for our food we ate the healthy fats omega 3 and omega 6 in a ratio of approximately 2:1.  These days it is around 1:20, the consequences of which are a form of inflammation that the body finds difficult to cope with.  For a triathlete in hard training, this will mean slow recovery and increased fatigue.  Simply taking a fish oil supplement or making sure you get a good source of oily fish 3-4 times per week can get our bodies back to how they should be.

4. Swill a carbohydrate gel during run intervals

There are carbohydrate sensors in the mouth that stimulate the brain into working harder.  Using a carbohydrate mouth rinse can increase 40 km cycling time trial time by over a minute.  However, possibly the biggest benefit can come while you are training.  Consuming sports drinks and gels during hard training sessions, particularly run sessions that can be uncomfortable.  Just swilling the gel around your mouth will help you maintain the training intensity.

Kickstart Your Training Today!
Choose from over 900 plans from 4-48 weeks long in beginner, intermediate, advanced, masters and off-season versions!

5. Start drinking early on the bike

The timing of fluid and fuel intake on the bike leg of an Olympic distance race can affect run performance.  A recent study compared drinking at 8, 16, 24 and 32 km into the bike with drinking at 10, 20, 30 and 40 km.  When subjects started drinking early they ran the 10 km 3% faster than when they started drinking later on the bike.

Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)

Phil is a recognised endurance expert who founded MyProCoach in 2010 to offer smart training plans that still leave quality time for your family, friends & career - complete with highly-rated coach support (he has sold over 40,000 so far). Learn more here!

As featured on...

download (1)
220 triathlon

Popular Articles from the Training Tips Blog


Sign up for Phil's email newsletter!

Get expert training advice, the latest news and occasional discounts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Kickstart Your Training Today!
Choose from over 900 plans from 4-48 weeks long in beginner, intermediate, advanced, masters and off-season versions!
Planning Your Off-Season

You can start our Off-Season (Fitness Maintenance) plans anytime you like.

They’re designed to help you maintain a good level of fitness when you’re not specifically targeting an event, such as, during the off-season, or anytime you’re taking a break from racing.

Planning For Your Event

For the best outcome, input the date for your “A” target race and the tool will default to a plan that will fill that gap nicely. If you want, you can then adjust the plan length to start it on a different day.

Note that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too!

The longer plans start easier and progress more gradually. This has a bearing on the difficulty level you choose. For example, a 12-week plan starts off at a higher level than a 36-week plan because with 12 weeks left there’s not as much opportunity to build up slowly.
Short Medium Long
4-12 weeks
14-24 weeks
27+ weeks
Required fitness level
Training phases
Fitness tests
Our Standard and Masters plans are designed to get you ready for your target event, while our Off-Season plans allow you to recover from a tough season but still maintain your well-earned fitness.
Approx. age
Under 40
Over 40
Recovery weeks
Every 4 weeks
Every 3 weeks
Strength sessions
1-2 per week
2 per week
1-2 per week
Likely goal
Train for event
Train for event
Maintain fitness
This table provides a brief overview of which level might be right for you, to help you get the most out of your plan. You should also note your current fitness levels and how many times you have done this event before.
Little to none
1-3 years
3+ years
Time to train
Likely goal
To finish
At least top half
All our plans are available either for sale directly on the TrainingPeaks Store (where you can also see screenshots of sample weeks), or you can subscribe as an Unlimited Athlete to be able to swap freely between all of them, among other benefits outlined below.
$24 to $159 per plan
From $24 per mth
Flexible, structured training
TrainingPeaks training app
Coaching videos, articles & FAQs
Email coach support

During plan only

Swap freely between all 900+ plans
Help setting up your training zones
Coach fortnightly engagement check
Discounted TrainingPeaks Premium (optional)
30-day moneyback guarantee
We're Sorry To See You Go!

Please confirm your cancellation below and one of our team will process it as soon as possible (stopping all future payments). Your subscription will still continue until the end of your current billing cycle (your “next payment date”) and there is nothing else you need to do.

Don’t worry, you will always be able to access your completed workouts and your TrainingPeaks login credentials will stay the same. Also, if any payments happen to come out before we cancel your subscription, we’ll simply refund them.