Ironman Triathlon breakfast

Just how important is Ironman Triathlon breakfast?

There are several important considerations when it comes to making decisions on what to eat for your Ironman Triathlon breakfast on the morning of perhaps the biggest challenge of your life.

  • How well have you planned your carbohydrate loading in the days before the race?
  • How many hours before the race start should you eat?
  • Should you eat a lot, a little, or not at all?


Realistically all your hydration and carbohydrate loading should be taken care of long before race morning. If you have done this properly your glycogen stores will be nicely topped up for the big race.

This will not change overnight as you sleep on Ironman Eve. You’ll wake up fueled and ready to go. Your glycogen stores should still be full and concerning yourself with carbohydrate loading on race morning is unnecessary.

Carbohydrate loading should begin long before race day. As a matter of fact all during that last week before the race you should be making an effort to eat plenty of Complex Carbohydrates that you enjoy and have been eating all through your training season.

Ironman Triathlon breakfast

Pasta is a carbohydrate mainstay for endurance athletes

If you normaly had oatmeal for breakfast and pasta, potatoes, whole wheat bread, or brown rice for lunch or dinner all through your training then these foods should be the main focus as race day approaches.

Waiting until race morning to load up on carbohydrates is a classic mistake. Really, who needs all that food crashing around in their stomach during a 2.4 mile swim in open water with a couple thousand of their newest friends?


Whatever you decide to eat for your Ironman Triathlon breakfast be sure to give your digestive system plenty of time to digest it. That is to say if your race starts at 8 a.m. and you are planning to be at body marking at 7 a.m. don’t head to check-in with a toasted bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich in one hand.

[bctt tweet=”Choosing the right breakfast for Ironman race morning is important.
via Ironstruck”]

That’s far to close to the swim start to be taking in food.

For a Sunday race one of the smartest things you can do is make sure you have your best nights sleep on the Friday night, even if you have to take a sleeping pill to do it.

The reason for this is that many triathletes will toss and turn the Saturday night before the race. There are often too many emotions swirling around in their head to allow them to sleep soundly. If you sleep soundly on Friday night it’s not a big issue if you have trouble sleeping on race eve.

Ironman Triathlon breakfast

Eating at the right time on race morning is important.

If you end up waking up early it works out well when it comes to Ironman Triathlon breakfast. Whatever you decide to eat you should do it early in the morning. Somewhere around 4 a.m. for a 8 a.m. swim start would be ideal.

You can still easily get seven or eight hours sleep if you like by going to bed at eight or nine p.m. However make eating your Ironman Triathlon breakfast soon after you awaken your main priority.


Ironman Triathlon breakfast choices are a highly personal thing. However you want it to be light, not spicy, and easy to digest. So that rules out that leftover loaded pizza in the fridge that’s calling out to you.

Many pro triathletes swear by a cup of coffee or two the morning of the race. If you’ve had morning coffee before long training rides for instance, you’ll have a good idea how it effects you. If that’s the case then chances are a cup of coffee with some toast would be fine. For some people drinking coffee might stimulate a bowel movement before the race and this isn’t a bad thing.

If however you aren’t sure how coffee will impact you then it would be wise to stay away from it on race morning and go with the safer choice of tea instead.

Keep in mind that this meal should not be considered Carbohydrate loading as you should wake up Ironman race morning with your glycogen stores topped up and when it comes to Ironman Triathlon breakfast, more is not better.

Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and toast is not a great choice. However you could try some light and fluffy scrambled eggs without a lot of spices.

Ironman triathlon breakfast choices

Fluffy scrambled eggs might be okay if you want something more than toast.

Alternatively, you might try toast with honey and a cup of your favorite tea. If you feel like you want to eat more than consider a small banana or two. Fluffy scrambled eggs might be okay if you want something more than toast.

What you really want is a comfort food. You want something that’s very light and stimulating. Race morning is a time to reflect on how far you’ve come. The time for training, hydrating, carbo loading, and worrying is done.

Relax. You’ve done all you can do. Go into the race with a sense of calm and let that calmness settle over you as you enjoy some toast with honey and a cup of tea. Tell yourself that no matter how adrenaline-charged the atmosphere at the swim start….. you will remain calm.

Maintaining a low heart-rate in the swim will ultimately have more positive impact on how your Ironman unfolds than a dozen 100-mile bike training rides.

Think of your Ironman breakfast as much more than nutrition. Embrace those early morning hours as a time of reflection and calmness and carry that state of mind with you right through to the Ironman finish line.

Comfort food that’s light and easy to digest is an excellent choice for your Ironman Triathlon Breakfast.

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If you do, Ironstruck…The Ironman Triathlon Journey is exactly what you need.

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