The 5 Most Common Triathlon Nutrition Mistakes

Alrighty guys, we know that Triathlon can become a logistical nightmare if you let it. You’re competing in not one, not two, but three sports!  And there are so many things that can impact your performance on race day. From accidentally under fuelling in your months of training… to forgetting those pivotal race day snacks in your to go back by the front door.

But we are here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! Trust us, you don’t have to make the triathlon nutrition mistakes that we have made in the past. We want you to succeed! So we have complied a list of the 5 mistakes that are all too common among racers so you can avoid our race day mishaps.

1. Not Fuelling Enough to Support your Training

We see it all the time. Your training ramps up but your food stays the same. Or maybe you’re trying to lean down because you think that will make you faster, so you’re cutting out a few foods or snacks.

The consequences of under-fuelling not only impact performance, but your overall health & wellbeing. It can see you feeling down and depressed, being agitated with your loved ones, not hitting the speeds you expected to – all the way to battling persistent injuries, experiencing fertility issues, and being more susceptible to illness. In the time of a pandemic, I think we can agree that this is something we all want to avoid.

We want to help you spot it early! We have a free nutrition and wellbeing assessment below that looks at your chance of under-fuelling, injury risk and overall opportunities when it comes to food. We’ll be in touch to let you know your results and your best path forward to help you feel & perform your best!

2. Not Trialling in Training

It might sound obvious but practising your race day plan in training is key.

This is all about trial and error. The consequences of failing in training? Minimal, in comparison to your race day which you have been building up to for so long!

When we say trial in training, we mean trial everything! From making sure you train on your TT bike if that’s what you plan to ride on race day, to testing out different flavours, brands, and timings for your nutrition.

If you want to find out more about the specifics of how to trial in training, you can check out our ten week course to nail all things triathlon nutrition below! (P.s. Use code EB20 for a sneaky 20% discount!)

3. Not Expecting the Unexpected

Consider anything and everything that could go wrong on the day. Now this might sound a bit doom and gloom but by running through the possible curveballs that could be thrown your way, you can plan for the unexpected.

So whatever happens on the day, you’re not completely blind-sided. Less panic, and more action!

4. Not Having a Race Day Plan

Time flies on race day. Doesn’t really matter how early you get up, the hours pass like minutes.

The worst thing you can do is get frazzled, panic, and just waste time. But if you don’t have a plan in the first place, then how can you know what to do next and what your priorities are? Race day plans cover everything – from what time you wake up, what foods you eat, all the way to your fuelling plan for during the race.

If you don’t have a race day plan, or you’re feeling confused and anxious as to what to do, then getting individualised support from one of our phenomenal Compeat Dietitians would be a smart move. You can download our app or if you’re using a desktop then you can sign up here and upgrade your package to get started with your specialised meal plan and 1:1 support.

5. Panicking & Comparing Your Plan to Others

Race day is such a mixed bag of emotions! It’s so normal to feel both excited and nervous at the same time.

If you end up heading to the expo, you might encounter a range of new brands. They will tell you all about their super-power benefits of their new gels & bars range, which might leave you feeling anxious and doubtful about your own nutrition choices.

Or you could be chatting about your race-day schedule with your mates. Then realise that everybody eats toast, but you usually eat porridge. In comes self-doubt again for your race day plan.

Remember the Golden Rule: Nothing new on race day!

Sure, try that new gel on your next training run. Give toast a go before your next training ride. But you have to trust your race day plan and make no last minute changes.

Alicia Edge


Alicia is the head Advanced Sports Dietitian at Compeat Nutrition. She is also a mum and triathlete, so advice extends beyond the basics and is instead focused on providing effective and achievable nutrition for both training and racing.

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