Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Fuel

Tuesday again. Keeps catching me off guard. Nothing says “Hey it’s link up day!” like 10pm Monday night knowing other people more productive than you will be waiting for your post to go live so they can link up something they had written long before you. Sneaky, sneaky Tuesday. But here I am, along with Cynthia from You Signed Up For What and Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete for more Tri Talk Tuesday!


Today’s topic is race day fuel. I’ve actually covered this topic before, so since my last post was mostly informational, here’s some tips on picking fuel so you can have the best race possible!


1. Liquid versus Solid- there’s a ton of race fuel options and it can be confusing on where to even start. One good place to start is deciding on whether or not your race merits solid food or if liquid fuel will be enough. Basically for anything short course you can get away with liquid only. I personally can do a 10k road race distance on only liquid and for triathlon I can muscle through a sprint on nothing but liquid. Anything longer you’re going to want to start experimenting with solids.

Eggo Mini Waffles and PB- my go to for long bike rides or long course triathlon

2. Experiment- Again, there’s a lot out there; gels, GU, chomps, waffles, blocks, sport beans, amillionotherthings. And those are just race specific fuels. A lot of people also use real food like potatoes, Uncrustable sandwiches, dried fruit, etc. Buy a few different kinds of race specific fuels, try a few real foods, and find out what you like, don’t like, what agrees or disagrees with your stomach, etc.

Race specific fuels and bars. Can you tell I love Clif!

3. Practice Fueling- This is part of what training should entail; practicing your nutrition! Don’t wing it on race day, use your training to experiment with all the different fuel options and find out what works for you. The one and only time I ever used a gel was thankfully on a training run where I was close enough to a public restroom. Lesson learned, and thankfully not mid race.

4. Know What’s Offered- You know that old saying “never try anything new on race day?” This includes what you grab from a volunteer at an aid station on race day. Check the race’s website and know what they’ll be offering on the course so you can practice with it. Last thing you want is to grab a cup of something or a gel or some sort and end up in GI distress because you didn’t try it out prior to race day.

5. Know Your Body- Everybody is different and part of race nutrition is just knowing what you need to be successful. Like I know I can run a 10k with no fuel and no water. But toss me into a half marathon and I’ll down a whole pack of shot blocks. Better runners than I can do a half marathon on just water, but I can’t, and that’s okay.

Favorite race day nutriton?

At what race distance do you start to need some fuel?

Next week’s theme is Support Crew! Who are those amazing people in your life who make your race day worth running for?

15 Replies to “Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Fuel”

    1. Hahaha, me too! At least we’re all in the same boat most of the time!

  1. Great post and very solid, practical advice, esp. practicing with what you are going to use on race day! For running, I don’t fuel unless I am running 7+ miles…I just don’t really need anything for that distance…if I run a 1/2, I will usually do EnergyBits or a gel at the 6-7 mile mark and drink water.
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…Weekly Wrap UpMy Profile

    1. I imagine you would definitely need more for mud runs, even short ones! That’s a lot of exertion.

  2. Fueling is something that I feel like I will never nail down. Some days I crave solids, some days liquids, and it varies in warmer and cooler temperatures. For example, yesterday on my long ride I had to stop and buy a large Coke and filled one of my empty bottles with ice and Coke. It was the best thing I have ever tasted, in that moment. On other occasions, I would never drink Coke. I think experimenting with different foods and drinks, and having variety available is the best way to go. My cupboard is stocked with all kinds of options!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Beast Mode for Ironman Lakes Stevens 70.3My Profile

    1. I normally don’t drink coke either, but it’s always offered on long course tri’s. I had some during Syracuse and it was such a nice thing to grab at the time!

  3. I seem to have a pretty consistent fuel plan – mostly liquids and gels. Wish I could move more towards solids but I have a hard enough time craving anything while racing that it’s much easier to suck down some CarboPro. 🙂 I let me blogging lag a bit but will be linking up again next week – race support, my favorite topic! 🙂
    Rebecca@tri-ingthebestican recently posted…Weekly Training RecapMy Profile

    1. Yeah, real food while racing is tough. Even my waffle bites don’t always go right down.

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