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supply of stored glycogen during fast sessions such as tempo runs, 5Ks, sprint triathlons or short time trials. Longer, slower efforts steer the body to fat. Replacing calories in short distance events likely will not be required. An energy gel or perhaps a sports drink with electrolytes should be more than enough to do the trick. In longer distance efforts, of course, maintaining energy needs becomes more complicated. What do you need to eat before training? Or after for recovery? What about in between? Again, answers are individual.

The question we get a lot around here is: What do I eat before the race? Toast or a bagel. Or fruit. Or cereal. Or toast with a nice raspberry energy gel spread. The easy and most accurate answer depends on what works best for you. If it's nothing, then

don't eat. Some people have a cup of coffee and an energy gel right before the swim. Others can barely get out the door without a Pop Tart. Experiment a little and you will find the answer.

If one thing is for sure, getting nutrition right can be jsut about as difficult a challenge as completing a stress test. Look no further than the any recent Ironman and the roadside is littered with professionals - Read: People who do this for a living! - who didn't get the mix right on that particular day. So, what's the right mix. Yep, you guessed it. Look in the mirror and you'll be getting warmer. Seriously, though, there are some guidelines.

Coach Warnholtz suggests looking for a 4-8 percent carbohydrate concentration in energy drinks. Prefer complex carbohydrates found in Carbo-Pro or Hammer's Perpetuem to the simple sugars found in the grocery store energy drinks.

Consider protein. Some research has shown that energy drinks with protein work well for longer distance efforts. Other people believe protein causes stomach distress. Try it out and see for yourself.

Like most things in triathlon, success is deeply connected to preparation. Train like you race. Avoid surprises. Don't wait until raceday to figure out if you like the taste or consistency of an energy gel. If it's going to be hot, train a little using Endurolytes or SaltStick electrolyte pills before your event. With some experimenting and experience, you'll figure it out.

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