What to Eat the Day Before a Triathlon

If you have a triathlon coming up, doing your research is the first preparatory step of the process. So, you’re on the right track. A triathlon is understandably a huge event to prepare for and nutrition makes up a significant part of the preparation process.

Your fitness preparation will involve a combination of exercise and meal plans, both of which will strengthen you. However, the time right before the triathlon will need even more precise preparation. Knowing what to eat a day before the triathlon will especially be important.

Nutritional Needs of a Triathlete

To know what to eat a day before a triathlon, you need to first understand what your core nutritional needs are as a triathlete.

What to Eat a Day Before the Triathlon


According to a training coach, triathletes who train for an average of 20 hours per week consume an average of 2,500-3,000 calories per day.

Carbohydrates may be vilified by society in general but they are an athlete’s best friend! They are a rich source of energy and all forms of exercise and intense training regimes utilize an impressive amount of it for each triathlete training routine.


Proteins are important for both muscle building and muscle repair. Athletic training often requires them to push their bodies to build endurance. Proteins help reduce the soreness and damage with their quick repairing abilities while simultaneously providing the body with nutrients during the recovery process.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and several other nutrients that play an important role in maintaining the overall balance within the body.

Athletes need them both to boost immunity, enhance muscle and tissue strength, build endurance and protect sensitive organs.


Fat acts as a fuel reserve for athletes and plays an important role in helping them boost their performance at critical moments during training or competition. It also plays a crucial role in boosting joint health, hormonal health, and vitamin absorption in the body.

The key detail to remember with fats is to avoid trans fats because they are a rich source of LDL a.k.a. bad cholesterol. On all other fronts, fats are helpful, especially since they help you store energy without needing to binge on carbohydrates, which can be damaging after a certain point.

What to Eat a Day before the Triathlon

Now that you understand the basic nutritional requirements of a triathlete, it will be easier to comprehend our recommended foods in the list of “What to Eat Before a Triathlon.”


Your day needs to have a strong beginning. Opt for a carbohydrate-intensive breakfast that can give you your energy needs for not only this day but also the next. The best part is that you will not be short of options for breakfast items that fulfill this need. Following are some elements that will serve the purpose:

  • Eggs
  • Toast
  • Baked or mashed potatoes
  • Raspberry pancakes
  • Cornflakes

Make sure you eat a combination of things to ensure a diverse set of nutrients are entering your system.


Pack on the snacks! There is no need to go hungry when you have a full triathlon to cover the next day. Your snack options should include foods that are easy to digest because indigestion is the last thing you need to worry about a day before the triathlon.

Following is an ideal list of snacks you can consume between breakfast and late lunch, and later in the day.

  • Banana
  • Crackers
  • Cooked Carrots and Green Beans
  • Bagels

Canned foods are also a good option so long as you remove seeds from them.


Since you have already had a heavy breakfast and are going to be snacking throughout the day, you do not need an intense lunch to add to your day’s intake. However, do make sure you consume foods that can add on some vitamins and electrolytes to your system to give you an added boost.

Sports drinks are the general recommendation but you can also top them off with a low fiber salad or energy bar to keep you going.


Dinner will be the last official meal of the day and it cannot be heavy. While you can still add some carbs and vitamins to the mix, trying anything new or difficult to digest needs to go. This means you cannot have a hefty steak or any protein-intensive elements. Following are a few options you can safely choose from:

  • Pasta with a light tomato-based sauce
  • White bread
  • Lean meat

Give your body enough time to digest your dinner before you call it a day so you are up and ready for the main event.

To Note

You probably noticed an obvious lack of high fiber and fact-intensive foods in the list. There is a reason for that. High fiber and fatty foods are more difficult to digest for the body, which is far from ideal so close to the race. Any boost that you need from either of those elements needs to be covered in the earlier training period rather than at the last moment.

Adding them to your meal will put you at risk of digestive stress, which can affect your performance negatively.

Additional Preparatory Trips for a Triathlon

We have covered most of the necessary information about nutritional preparations but here are a few additional recommendations.

  1. Get a good night’s rest. Sleep is essential for resting both mind and body, and you will need both fully charged to succeed.
  2. Don’t try intense workout routines. You have been preparing for months and an intense workout at this point is more harmful than good. Stick to running or simple workouts to be on the safe side.
  3. Stay hydrated but don’t go overboard. The last thing you need is bladder issues during a time-based competition.

Our Final Thoughts

Overall, knowing what to eat a day before a triathlon is important for your preparation. Make sure you pack up on the heavy carbohydrates in the morning and keep adding nutrients throughout the day. Avoid new foods and ones that are difficult to digest.

So long as you manage this, you will be all set to take on the challenge the next day!

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