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Nutrition is one of the most difficult parts of a triathlon, and it takes time, experimentation, and usually a lot of trial and error to get it right. But it doesn’t all have to be guesswork.
We’ve put together a calculator to sum up the calories, carbs, sodium and more of whatever race fuels you plan on using.
Here’s how to use it:
1. Estimate your race duration in hours and minutes. This should be just for the bike or the run (do them separately). Enter that into the calculator.
2. Determine your hourly requirements for sodium, water, calories, and carbohydrate. Keep in mind that everybody is different and these are just estimates. What you will actually need will likely be different and you will need to experiment to know.
- Calories: A good starting point is around 300-350 calories per hour, on the bike. If you’re bigger or smaller adjust accordingly.
- Carbs: On the bike, you can start by aiming for .6g carb/hour per pound of body weight, and half that on the run (.3g of carb/hour per pound). So a 150 pound guy would need 90g on the bike per hour and 45g on the run, per hour.
- Water: This one can vary tremendously depending on conditions. In a hot and humid race you may lose up two litres of water per hour, but it may not be possible to replace all of that.
- Sodium: This nutrient is lost through your sweat, and knowing how much of it you lose per litre of sweat allows you to replace it as you lose it. Unlike water or calories, you indeed can replace it as fast as you lose it. If you have not been sweat tested, enter 1,000mg per hour, or even 1,500 if the conditions are hot and humid.
3. Enter the nutrition products you have along with their nutritional data, per serving
4. Adjust the servings or dosage levels of each product until your nutritional figures hit your requirements (as established in step 1 above). The numbers will turn green when they are within 10% of your targets. They’ll turn yellow when within 15%; red beyond that.
Description of the table
Totals: This row shows the grad total sums of calories, sodium, carbs, etc. However, this number may not be very meaningful to you, as you may be more used to thinking in terms of hourly totals.
Per Hour: This row is the sum of the Totals (above) divided by the number of hours you input. So this is your hourly intake. You want this to match your hourly targets.
Targets: These are the hourly targets you set above. Ideally, the Per Hour figures will match these figures.
Let us know in the comments if you have any feedback or if there are missing products you’d like added.