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How Triathlon Training Nutrition Works

Sprint Triathlon Nutrition
Water will help absorb important nutrients you need during the training process.
Water will help absorb important nutrients you need during the training process.

Sprint triathlons are where most novice triathletes get their feet wet. It's a good place to start if you're trying to decide whether to tackle any of the more rigorous triathlon events. Though the distances involved may vary from one sprint triathlon to the next, the average event might break down as follows:

  • a 400-meter swim (.25 miles)
  • a 20-kilometer bike ride (12 miles)
  • a 5-kilometer run (3.1 miles)

When you add in transition times, you might be looking at almost two hours for the entire event [source: Sprint Triathlon]. Keeping your body energized and hydrated throughout can be a challenge.

Since many sprint triathletes are just getting used to a multi-leg sporting event, it's important to consider how your body reacts differently to each individual event, as well as how it handles the triathlon as a whole. Experiment with different foods to see what your stomach can tolerate during a high-intensity workout. There are lots of options out there, including sports beans, blocks (which have a chewy consistency), gels and drinks. You can eat all of these on the go, and they'll give your body the combination of carbohydrates, protein and vitamins it needs to keep going throughout the event. Make sure you drink plenty of water along with the snacks; it helps your body absorb the essential nutrients and prevents stomach irritation.

Is the sprint triathlon not enough of a challenge for you? See the next page for a feat of Olympic proportions.