Triathlon Race Training: What to Eat Before a Long Run to Break Your Last PR

woman running

Over the last few years, triathlons have become very popular. In fact, more than four million people participate in triathlons in 2017.

Are you getting ready for one yourself?

If you’re training for a triathlon, you’ve got a lot of long practice runs in your future. In order to perform your best on these runs, you need to make sure you’re fueled well for them.

Not sure what to eat before a long run? If so, read on for some simple ideas that will help you stay nourished while chasing PRs.

Importance of Pre-Run Nutrition

Does it really matter what you eat before a long run? In short, the answer is yes.

What you eat before a run can have a significant impact on your speed, endurance, and your overall performance.

Many people find that if they don’t eat enough or eat too much before a long run, they feel sluggish or suffer from cramps and digestive issues.

If you want to perform well during your upcoming triathlon, you ought to start experimenting now to figure out what foods work best to help carry you through your runs.

What to Eat Before a Long Run

As a general rule, it’s best for your pre-run meal to be comprised mainly of carbohydrates and protein. Most people find that they have stomach problems or other issues if they eat too much fat before a run.

What does an ideal pre-run meal look like? There’s not one specific meal that works best for everyone. The following foods may be good options to consider, though:

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates. They’re also a good source of potassium, an important electrolyte that can help to prevent cramps while you’re running.

You could eat a baked sweet potato or slice it up to make sweet potato toast. Some people also put frozen sweet potatoes in their smoothies.


Oatmeal is a pre-run staple for a lot of people. It’s another good carbohydrate source, and it’s easy to mix it up with different toppings so you don’t get bored.

Try topping your pre-run oatmeal with fresh berries, a little bit of nut butter, or stir in a scoop of protein powder to give it some extra flavor.


A banana by itself might not be a very filling pre-run snack. Thanks to its high carbohydrate content, it would be great thrown on top of oatmeal or mixed into a smoothie, though.


Most people need a bit of an energy boost before a long run, whether they’re training in the morning or the afternoon. Coffee is a good, natural option to perk you up before you hit the road.

If you don’t normally caffeinate before a workout, you’ll be surprised at how much better it can make you feel. You might even end up shouting “check it out!” and trying to convince everyone to drink coffee before their training sessions. 

Prepare for Your Next Long Run Today

Knowing what to eat before a long run can be a challenge, and you’ll have to do some experimenting to figure out what works best for you and your body.

Once you’ve found the meal that makes you feel your best, though, you’ll never want to go back to running on anything else.

Do you need more help fueling yourself properly for your training sessions?

If so, we’ve got lots of resources available on our site. Check out the Health and Fitness section of our site today for more information.