How to Optimize your Triathlon Training

The big race day is getting close,

You have your deltaG® ketone ester drinks and now you wonder what the correct scheduling is. Indeed, the schedule will differ for sprint triathlons, which take 90 minutes, or IRONMAN where you can spend well over 10 hours on the racetrack.  Let's have a look at how you should get the optimal performance benefit from your deltaG drinks.

It is important to mention that you don't need to adjust your carbohydrate intake with deltaG ketones. Have your normal high-carb pre-race breakfast and your carbohydrate drinks and gels as usual. Only our exogenous ketone drink gives you the opportunity to have high blood ketones and glucose levels at the same time.

Such a metabolic state is impossible to achieve otherwise.  A ketogenic diet or fasting will raise your ketone levels, but carbohydrate stores may be low.  Conversely, a standard high-carbohydrate diet will decrease the endogenous production of ketones.  Thanks to deltaG ketones, your muscle will have a supply of both glucose and ketones at the same time, which will provide more efficient energy production to fuel your performance.

Sprint and Olympic Triathlons

The goal of an optimal deltaG drinking schedule is to keep your blood ketones levels in the 1.5–4 mM range for the entire duration of the race.  It takes a while before the ester reaches your gut and gets into the bloodstream. Based on the data from our Oxford Exercise Physiology lab, consuming one ΔG Ketone Performance drink ~20 minutes before the beginning of the race should raise your blood ketone levels to ~2 mM at the time when you start your swim.

As the race progresses, ketones are used to fuel your muscle and you will need a top-up drink.  If you do a sprint triathlon (750 m swim/20 km bike/5 km run) you can split a second ΔG Ketone Performance drink into two equal amounts and drink the first half after your swim and the second half after the cycle.  Two ΔG Ketone Performance drinks (one pre-race + 2 half-drinks during the race) will equal a total of 50 grams of pure ketone ester, which should comfortably keep your blood ketones around 2 mM for the duration of the sprint triathlon.

If you are about to compete in a triathlon resembling the Olympic distances (1,500 m swim/40 km bike/10 km run), you should have one ΔG Performance Ketone 20 minutes before the swim and another two ΔG Ketone Performance drinks during the race.  You should drink one after the swim and another one after the cycle.  The total 75 grams of pure ketone should elevate your ketone levels throughout the 2-3 hour Olympic triathlon.


Things get a little trickier if you are about to participate in the triathlon behemoth, the IRONMAN.  Unless you are in the elite group, you are likely to spend over 10 hours on the track and you must adjust your ketone intake accordingly. In ultra-endurance events, such as IRONMAN, you should set the pace carefully to prevent complete burnout of your glycogen stores. The good news is that ketones prevent glycogen breakdown. Elevating your ketones at the beginning of long races like IRONMAN will yield benefit later in the race when your muscle glycogen is ready to be used in the final miles of your run.

As in shorter triathlons, drink your first ΔG Ketone Performance 20 minutes before the swim. Then have the second ΔG Ketone Performance in your transition. Based on recent research, it should take you on average 2 hours of intermediate intensity cycling to get your ketone levels below 1.5 mM.  Therefore, you can have the third ΔG Ketone Performance after two hours of the cycle and the fourth in hour 4 of the cycle. Lastly, drink the fifth ΔG Ketone Performance before the marathon. In total, you will consume 125 grams of pure ketones spread out into 5 drinks. We salute you for taking on the IRONMAN challenge and we are happy that you chose deltaG to be part of your fuelling strategy.

Triathlon protocol deltaG


Now, you know how to time your deltaG drinks during a triathlon. We recommend doing a few experiments with the drinks in your training before you use them in the race. Especially, see how they go before the swim.  It is also useful to get a handheld ketone meter during your training to watch your personal blood ketone kinetics and how fast you burn through ketones. Choose a ketone meter that works with blood microsamples from a fingerstick (don't worry, it doesn't hurt much) because breath and urine ketone meters are neither fast nor accurate.

Speaking of personalization, we recently launched a new service for all interested in deltaG ketone ester. You can book a free individual 15-minute video chat with Brian.  As an elite athlete who has deltaG ketone ester regularly, he will give advice tailored straight to your needs. Brian is happy to answer any questions you have about deltaG.  Ask him how ketones can help strengthen your immune health, speed up muscle recovery or boost your mental capacity.


David Bezpalek | deltaG Ketones

David Bezpalek

University of Oxford



Written by Catalina Rodriguez


I’m doing a 1/2 marathon May 28, 2023 and a 70.3 July 9,2023. What is your recommendation for taking delta G performance?

Brenda Hamilton on May 14, 2023

So helpful! Thanks for posting such a precise time when to have the drink!

Kornelia on Aug 03, 2021

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