How to carry nutrition in triathlon

Carrying the nutrition and hydration that will fuel your race in a comfortable and convenient way is an important part of your race day strategy. However, this will differ depending on whether you are competing in a short distance race such as a Super Sprint or Sprint, the Olympic distance or the longer Half or Full IronMan courses. 

Super Sprint (375m swim/ 10km bike/ 2.5km run)

For such short and fast races there is very little requirement to carry additionl nutrition. 

Sprint (750m swim/ 20km bike/ 5km run)

A Sprint distance triathlon can take anywhere between 60 mins and 1 hour 40 minutes. Any hydration and nutrition requirements for the bike can be easily carried via drinking bottles or gels taped to the cross bar and any gels required for the run can be picked up in T2 and either carried in your hands or stuffed into the pockets in your trisuit. Time is of the essence in T1 and T2 so there is little time to sit down for a cup of tea and a biscuit. 

Olympic distance (1500m swim/ 40km bike/ 10km run) 

For most average age groupers these events take between 2 hours 20 minutes and three hours and the body will be working hard. The nutrition requirements to successfully hydrate and fuel the event increase but can easily be managed by using the bottle cages and hydration systems available for TT bikes and again gels etc. can be either carried or put in the pockets of your trisuit for the run.

Half Iron distance /70.3 (1900m swim/ 90km bike/ 21.1km run)

These can be gruelling events, especially when you find yourself deep into the run around mid day in the Middle East. The recent run in the Oman 70.3 being a case in point. We all suffered.  The nutrition requirements to fuel and hydrate for anywhere between 5 and 7 hours are significantly increased. A game changer for me was to use the Naked Running Band and put it on in T1 and using it to show your race number. This super lightweight band comes in the either the Regular band or it’s slight smaller and lighter SL version. It has three pockets. Putting it on in T1 allows you to cram 3 or 4 extra gels for the bike. With the bike lasting around 3 hours normally three bottles of carb and electrolyte drink mix and a few gels can be carried easily on the bike itself (check our Secret Training page with nutrition). When it comes to the run the Naked band really comes into its own. It is possible to easily carry 4-6 gels for the run as well as a 500ml flask containing your favourite hydration mix. The Naked band is a “no bounce” band and it is really important to ensure that you size it correctly so it fits snugly. 

Full Iron distance (3800m swim/ 180km bike/ 42.2km run)

It is a challenge to be self sufficient on the bike to carry enough fuel and hydration for a 5 to 7 hour ride, but it is possible using BiG Endurance Drink Mix in 3-4 bottles. Additional supplies can be placed at the designated special needs point for the second half of the course. For the run using a Naked running band should really be a no brainer with two 500ml flasks of your favourite carb/ hydration mix along with your gels. A consideration here is to wear the Naked High Capacity Running vest which allows you to carry up to 3 additional litres of your own drink mix rather than rely on the on-course products. The trade off here is the extra weight to carry. The HC running vest is a super lightweight vest which could be put on in T2.

By David Hunt, Certified Trisutto Coach

Posted on 28th Feb 2024