Current Race Nutrition Trends

By Bob Seebohar | June 23, 2009, 12 a.m. (ET)
I have noticed an alarming increase in GI distress (bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) and hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels) among triathletes in the past few years. 

As a whole, I have also noticed that triathletes are overconsuming calories and underconsuming electrolytes during training and especially during racing. 

In order to decrease the risk of GI distress, I recommend consuming fewer calories during training and racing and to combat hyponatremia, I recommend increasing the amount of electrolytes per hour, particularly a minimum of 800 milligrams of sodium combined with chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. 

Of course, do not try reducing your hourly calorie intake for the first time during a race. I ask athletes to take at least 3-4 weeks to teach their bodies to adapt to this by utilizing more internal stores of fat as energy (a term I call metabolic efficiency).

Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS is a sport dietitian and elite triathlon coach.  He traveled to the 2008 Summer Olympics as the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Dietitian and the personal Sport Dietitian for the 2008 Olympic Triathlon Team.  He is also Sarah Haskins' personal coach and was a performance team member (sport dietitian and strength coach) for Susan Williams, 2004 Olympic Triathlon Bronze Medalist.

Bob's book, Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes: Taking Sports Nutrition to the Next Level will provide triathletes of all levels education on how to structure their nutrition program based on their exercise program. For more information, visit or contact Bob at