What do I need for a whole triathlon - AthleteSportsWorld | TRIATHLON | SWIM | BIKE | RUN | TRAILRUN |

What do I need for a whole triathlon

We regularly receive questions about nutrition and sports nutrition in relation to the triathlon distances. Questions such as:

  • Which sports nutrition should I take now?
  • How do I deal with sports nutrition?
  • What should I drink?
  • How much sports nutrition do I need now?

Our vision is to understand if you take something, you must have information about AT energy which works your body. When do you use which energy source and how long can you sustain this. This information can be found on the pages about General Physiology.

The intake of sports nutrition depends on many factors. By having the above insight, you will soon be able to switch and switch on the basis of the circumstances.

The triathlon has many different distances, of which we have compiled an overview below. We have gone into more detail of the most familiar and done distances. These are highlighted in orange.

Name distanceShort nameSwimmingBicyclesRunning
Ironman distance / Whole triathlon1/1, IM, LA or LD3800 m180 km42.2 km
ITU 3OD3OD4000 m120 km30 km
ITU 2OD2OD3000 m80 km20 km
Middle Distance / Half triathlon1/2, MA or (E) MD2500 m80 km20 km
Half Ironman / Ironman 70.3IM 70.31900 m90 km21.1 km
ITU Olympic Distance (OD)OA, OD, 5i50 or 51501500 m40 km10 km
Quarter Distance1/41000 m40 km10 km
ITU Sprint Distance (SD)SA or SD750 m20 km5 km
Eighth Triathlon1/8500 m20 km5 km
Supersprint 400 m10 km2.5 km
Mini Triathlon1/16250 m10 km2.5 km

The distances of an Ironman are 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42.2 km running.

Theoretically, a whole triathlon does not differ much from a half. Biggest difference is in the numbers that you will have to use. It also plays a bigger role again. If it is very hot then you will have to increase the intake of a thirst quencher and a hydration drink in order to have enough fluid in the body.

Planning and calculating when you drink or eat is even more important ... Know what you eat, and especially when.

The intensity of an entire triathlon will be even lower than with a half. You only have to sustain it much longer !! You want to stay in the fat burning zones for even longer to make as little of your carbohydrates as possible. This is difficult and therefore requires many hours of (expensive) training.

Elements that you must take into account:

  • Starting on time with carbohydrates
  • Pay close attention to your water balance in the days before the event. And keep the electrolytes well replenished
  • Take 1 energy gel 15 minutes before swimming
  • Take a gel in every sleeve for swimming
  • Stay out of the heck when swimming.
  • Tape some gels on your bike and make sure you have some energy gels and energy bars ready to put in your trisuit .
  • During a whole triathlon you will soon need 20 energy gels / energy bars. You can not take this all with you, so check what the organization offers and on which points.
  • Provide separate gels while running.
  • Use the further you are in the game more and more isotonic products so your body less and less heavily burden with its processing.
  • Listen carefully to your body
  • Most dropouts are due to dehydration. So keep drinking well. Preferably a thirst quencher alternated with a hydration drink. On the bike you can possibly still use an energy drink alternated with a thirst quencher and hydration drink.
  • Know where the drinks stations are when running


Congratulations!! You are finished .. The recovery starts immediately, so make sure you take a recovery drink in the first 30 minutes, with a protein bar after 60 minutes. You will not want normal food, so keep drinking well (hydration drink) and try to eat small snacks so that your digestion starts slowly. In the days after the race, good replenishment of the lost moisture is very important. Drink per liter of lost fluid, at least 1.5 liters ... And a good recovery will be between 24 and 72 hours with an entire triathlon.

Need personal advice?

Do you want personal advice from our sports nutritionist? Send us an email with your question to [email protected] or visit our showroom in Amsterdam .

Support from Sports Nutrition Triathlon? Do you also want to enter into a partnership for your association? Please contact us for the possibilities. Collaboration can take place in many areas such as social media, presentations, meetings, banners on website, affiliate program, blogs, etc.

You can contact us via the contact form

Muscle cramps? !! Do you regularly suffer from muscle cramps? Perhaps support for compression clothing can help you? Compression tubes and socks help improve circulation and support the muscles during exercise.

You can also think of extra intake of magnesium before and during exercise.

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