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Part 4: Triathlon tips and tricks for first-time competitors

Part 4: Triathlon tips and tricks for first-time competitors

In the final of this 4-part series, we’ll discuss a few triathlon tips and tricks relating to nutrition on race day. As a personal trainer in London of all levels of athlete, I will help you to pay attention to little details in advance of your event so that you can focus on performing at your best on the day.

Race-Day Nutrition

When training for triathlon, making decisions in advance about nutritional consumption during the race is as important as the training decisions made to physically prepare.

Executing a proper nutrition plan is a vitally important part of doing well in your upcoming event, and as with most things in triathlon do only on race day what you have practiced during training.


One habit that I have maintained over the years is to use my own energy drinks, as I don’t always know what sponsors will provide, or whether these products will agree with me.  Here is a recipe that I have been using for years, and works like a charm:

Homemade sport drink (does the trick really well!)

500ml water

1 pinch of salt

2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Method: Mix all ingredients in water bottle and shake.

As opposed to guessing how much fluid you need to consume, weigh yourself before a training session from each discipline, and then weigh yourself immediately following. This will give you an approximate guideline of how much liquid you will lose during your event, and therefore how much you need to consume to stay hydrated.


The key in deciding what to consume during a race (i.e. energy gels, bananas, etc) is to try out different options and see what agrees with you most. Another important consideration is flavour…make sure that you like the flavour of what you are consuming. Just because a particular item promises to shave 10 minutes off your time, if it doesn’t taste good don’t bother.


Now that you have planned what you will consume during the race, make sure you are organised for the different stages of the event.

On the bike: make sure that your gels and/or solids are close at hand and organised so that you can easily access them. You will see any number of fancy set ups, but experiment with different layouts while you are doing your bike training sessions, and focus on comfort and ease of access. Another option is to use a top-tube box to store gels etc.

On the run: some people rely on the drinks provided by sponsors, but I suggest making your own in advance and then taking them on the run with you. This way you always have access to fluid if you need it, and more importantly you know that what you are drinking is a product that you have already tried, and agrees with you.

I hope these tips will help you in your preparation for your first triathlon, and please post your comments and questions on my Facebook page here.

To learn more about healthy exercise and eating habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.


James StaringJames Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced that most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, which he runs with his partner, Ali Page – James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.

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