Posted by: pursuingsub17 | January 18, 2011

The nutritional side of triathlon – it’s a lot of work

Okay, first off, I’m finally feeling better. I went for a run on Friday (on the treadmill – groan) and it wasn’t too bad but I did take it easy for fear I might bring back that wicked cough. Saturday I was on the bike for 30 minutes and I was wiped. I thought I could do 40 minutes but I was just too tired. Not sure if that’s because I’ve been sick or if it’s because I was strength training the day before – more on that in another blog.

Anyway, I’ve been focusing on my nutrition the last week. I’ve been on a few different websites to determine exactly what it is that a triathlete needs! Last year I bonked too much. I know I need more fuel during training and the race but what about in general? My diet isn’t bad but it isn’t beneficial to what I do either. Well, I have to say there’s all kinds of people with all kinds of advice out there. But based on several websites that are triathlon specific – and – I think I’ve finally figured out the right ratio.

Believe it or not, the fat/protein ratio is almost the same. Actually, on average, most sites recommended a little more fat than protein. But mostly, you need carbs. From what I can tell, the average active female (like me) needs 1880-2200 calories a day. You need 60-70 percent of your daily calories coming from carbohydrates. You need about 20-30 percent from fat and 15-20 percent from protein.

Okay – so I got my energy source ratio so all I needed was something that recorded my food intake and figured out the percentages. Again – lots of sites out there but the one I use is I also get my training programs from there so I’m a bit biased. But be warned – it’s a lot of work and if you don’t have a great memory, you need to bring a little notepad with you everywhere…or log it in your BlackBerry or iPhone. That way, when you go to record all your meals and snacks, you won’t forget anything.

That being said, you have to look up the many types of food, meals, snacks in the database. Most of them are there but if they aren’t you have to do a little research with Google and figure out the nutritional values if it isn’t in the database. Nice thing is that once you do enter it, you don’t have to again :). You can also choose to make the food log public to help out your other fellow triathletes. (I was surprised that Clamato juice was in there – a very Canadian beverage).

Anyway, it does require work – like training – but it’s worth it. My protein intake is very good. My fat intake USUALLY is good. Today, I recorded two tablespoons of margarine on my toast and the percentage skyrocketed! So now I’ll be careful on my margarine use. My carb intake is higher than the rest but it isn’t ideal. So my goal for the next few months is to monitor my food and try to increase my carbs and reduce fat where I can.

So that’s it for today. I’m doing research on strength training for triathletes…not so much what to do as how often and how the heck you can fit it in your schedule without hampering your regular training!



  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing the info on I may try that myself. I’m really frustrated with trying to figure out how to fuel my body for my training and lose weight. Tried several different things and nothing works. Maybe this will help. 🙂

    Been thinking about joining Weight Watchers with a friend but somehow I feel like I’m wimping out or something. Of course I guess there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. But whatever I do I’ve got to drop some weight or I’m never going to get faster 😉

    And look forward to the post on strength training. I have that same issue. I have a workout I can do but then it thows off my run/spin the next day. ARGH!! Wish I had a magic wand to just give me the wisdom. Of course probably wouldn’t appreciate it if it were that easy. And I think that is part of the point. Be well and train happy! – Heather

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