Train as you race!
No matter what distance of sportive you decide to tackle, there are certain elements you need to give serious thought to; your training and your nutrition. Don’t let those hard earned miles go to waste with poor nutritional strategies.
Your nutrition will be the make or break when it comes to not just surviving the miles in the saddle but actually enjoying the event when race day comes and being able to train without fatigue.
We’ve put together the key nutritional considerations to help you fuel your training days and chosen sportive itself.
Fuelling Your Training
Key Consideration: Train as you race!
Testing nutrition strategies before race day is essential for the following reasons:
Below is an example nutrition guide to follow around your training:
|Pre-Training||During your rides||Post-Training|
|Hydration||Ensure you are fully hydrated. Drink 500 – 1000ml of fluid at least 2-3 hours prior to your training ride. Use GO Electrolyte or GO Hydro to increase fluid retention||Work out how much you are sweating (per hour). Try not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass through sweating. This usually means drinking 500 ml of GO Electrolyte per hour depending on temperature. For shorter rides, use GO Hydro to focus on replacing electrolytes lost through sweat||To ensure that you are fully recovered to train again, aim to replace 150% of the fluid volume lost through sweating(3). Always make sure to weigh yourself before and after your training rides.|
|Energy||Fuel for the work required throughout your training weeks(4). During short or low intense sessions, reduce carbohydrate intake. However, it’s important to practice your race-day fuelling plan during longer sessions, so that your body adapts to the work. Here, have a carbohydrate-based snack 3-4 hours before such as porridge, breads and yogurts. A GO Energy Bar 30 minutes before can help top up your energy stores||For shorter training rides, focus on electrolyte and fluid intake. For longer rides, aim to take on 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour using a combination of GO Isotonic Energy gels and GO Electrolyte. Find out the combination that works for you during training.||If you’ve had a tough session, replenish your carbohydrate stores with 1.2 g/kg of carbohydrates, starting within 30-60 minutes of finishing your ride.|
|Recovery||Ensure that you rest well between rides as this is where adaptations take place. Overtraining is common in endurance athletes. Aim to get the same amount of sleep throughout your training period.||N/A||Post-training recovery starts within 30-60 minutes of finishing your ride. Take REGO Rapid Recovery or REGO Rapid Recovery Plus to replace glycogen and electrolyte stores and rebuild lean muscle. Finally, ensure that your post training meal contains a mix of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.|
|Caffeine||A pre training GO Caffeine Shot can help decrease your perception of fatigue and increase concentration during your rides. Take 30 minutes before your session||N/A||N/A|
Key Consideration 1: Build up Strategies; the Importance of carbohydrate
Our muscles can store up to 400-500 g or around 2000 kcal of glycogen to be used as energy. Glycogen is the main fuel you will use during your race and is stored when you eat carbohydrate. To make sure these stores are fully loaded, reducing the onset of fatigue, you can step up your overall carbohydrate intake in the 48 hours before the event(5).
To do this, increase your carbohydrate portions at meal times, including foods such as rice, potatoes, pasta and cereals and add carbohydrate snacks in-between, such as cereal bars, fruit, or carbohydrate drinks such as GO Electrolyte. Aim for 8-10g of carbohydrate per kilo of your body mass, per day.
Below is an example plan for a typical 70kg cyclist providing 3500kcal, loading with 600g carbohydrates- great the day before a race:
|Breakfast||3 Cups Granola with milk; 1 medium banana; 250ml fruit juice|
|Snack||Blueberry muffin; 500ml GO Electrolyte|
|Lunch||2x Panini (choice of filling); low fat yoghurt|
|Snack||Smoothie: Banana; yoghurt; honey; granola|
|Dinner||3 cups brown pasta with tomato sauce; 3 slices garlic bread|
|Snack||Toasted muffin with peanut butter; 500ml GO Electrolyte|
Key Consideration 2: Pre-Race
Breakfast: Have breakfast 3 hours before the race. This should be mainly carbohydrate based as our liver glycogen stores decrease over night. Don’t leave breakfast too late as this could cause stomach cramps once you jump on the bike. This should involve normal breakfast foods that you’re accustomed to such as toast, cereals and juices.
Hydration: Pre race hydration is key. Aim to drink 500ml-1000ml of fluid in the build up to the race, ideally 500ml 2-3 hours at breakfast and 500ml in the build up to the event. Don’t drink just water, GO Electrolyte or GO Hydro can increase fluid absorption and retention, meaning there will be less stops for the toilet during the race(5).
Snacking: A pre race snack is perfect to ensure we don’t eat everything at once for breakfast, which could cause stomach discomfort. A GO Energy Bar or GO Energy Bar Plus Caffeine, 30 minutes before you start will help ‘top up’ your energy stores.
Key Consideration 3: During the Race
The tables below provide an example nutrition plan during the race. Most importantly, don’t try this nutrition plan on race day for first time.
Shorter Races (<90min)
|Event Day (<90min)||During Race|
Longer Races (>90 min)
|Event Day (>90min)||During Race|
After training or racing the body will be in a state of depletion; to reduce fatigue, the risk of injury and promote physiological adaptations it is important to recover well by refuelling and getting enough rest. Consider these three key points for the ultimate post-ride recovery:
Written by Ted Munson (Performance Nutritionist)