Jen Rulon

A couple of weeks ago, we chatted about the nutrition for an Ironman Triathlon and an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. Then we chatted about “The Whoop.”

Today we will chat about the nutrition for an Olympic Distance Triathlon, as I know people have some shorter races coming up this summer.

Details of an Olympic Triathlon 

Who Does an Olympic Triathlon?: If you stay active at least 6x a week, and have done a sprint triathlon or even a half marathon, you could do an Olympic Triathlon. You have the background of swimming, cycling, or running.

What is the distance of an Olympic Triathlon?: 1.5k Swi /40k Bike/10k Run

When are Olympic Triathlons?:  Mid-April to September is when I see them the most.

Where are Olympic Triathlons?: All Over! Check out The American Triathlon Calendar for your state!

Why do an Olympic Triathlon?: Once again, not EVERYONE wants to do an Ironman Triathlon. They are a good test for your speed. They are also a GREAT way to figure out your transitions for a 70.3 Ironman Triathlon. And they are pretty fun!

Four Tips on Nutrition for your Olympic Triathlon:

1. What do you consume during the race? How long it will take you to do to an Olympic Triathlon will play a role in what to take in. An Olympic Triathlon can take under 2 hours (Olympians), 2 hours – 2:10 hours (Semi Pro), or up to 3:30 – 4 hours. An Elite athlete will consume a different type of calories than an age grouper, SO make sure you don’t do what your favorite Pro does. First what you need to do is determine how long it will take you to do the race. There are “two” different ways to take in nutrition:

  • CHO (Carbohydrate) based: If your race is 2:00 hours plus, then you will need some type of CHO. The body can only store enough CHO in the form of glycogen to last 60 – 90 minutes. So, what would you take in? EFS Pro from First Endurance or Hydro from Base Performance. You can also look at Gatorade, Power–Aid, etc.: Whatever your body can stomach. There are also gels, bars, etc. BUT you have to figure out what works for you, right?
  • Utilizing your Fat Storage: This is a COMPLETELY different blog. I talked briefly about it when I was using Generation UCAN.

2. When do you take your nutrition for the Olympic Triathlon? Let’s break this down as we head into the workout.

  • During the Bike: You should take your nutrition on your bike before you start your run.  You may want to have a bottle of your “nutrition,” or whatever CHO you can consume, on your bike along with some water. If you have to take a gel or a bar on the run, try to get it in earlier rather than later. BUT your body really only needs to take up to 60g of CHO TOTAL, after 60 – 90 minutes of racing. So, if you are racing for another hour, that is generally all you may need.
  • During the Run: If you plan on being out on the 10k for more than 40 minutes, you may want to have something in your “back pocket.” For example, a gel, a Gu, a bottle with some water and your CHO. Remember, it will take about 15 minutes for the gel or Gu to digest, so you may want to take it in earlier rather than later. Another option would be carrying your own water bottle via a flask or an actual water bottle.

3. Water and Olympic Triathlon. Yes, you need to drink your water BUT you need to drink water based on when you are thirsty. Some athletes will start drinking water WAY ahead of needing it, and this may actually hinder your race. Remember, a lot of it depends on the time that you are out there, the weather, etc. But the BIG reminder: Drink water when you are thirsty. (Check out Timothy Noakes’ interview HERE. Timothy Noakes has written a lot about hyponatremia.)

4. YOU need to figure out what works for you! Remember, your favorite Pro Athlete and best friend will consume differently than you will. Please do not do 10 gels for an Olympic distance just because your friend is doing it. Next week, we will chat about Nutrition and 70.3 Ironman Triathlon.


AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I have been coaching triathletes, runners, and cyclists for over 21+ years; I received my Master's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. And as you may have learned, there is more to life than swimming, biking, and running. It is a lifestyle, and I am here to help you cross that finish line with a smile, whether it is an Ironman Triathlon or the Ironman of Life. You can find my knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Southwest Research Institute Human Performance Summit, Training Peaks Workshops, "Self Motivation Strategies for Women" on Amazon, Men's Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach—she's a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap