With March being Nutritional Awareness Month, I was invited to share some perspective on good nutrition as you train for your next big event.
I approach a big cycling event (or any physical event) backwards. Yep, backwards. That applies to both training and nutrition. Assuming you have decent nutritional habits already, working backwards focuses on the week prior to your event to build up protein and carb reserves.
Count backwards seven days from your event. For the next three days, you want to ingest more protein than usual, while reducing your carbs a bit. Finally, for the final four days, you do the opposite; eat less protein and LOTS of carbs. But don’t be like so many cyclists who crowd restaurants the night before an event and stuff their faces with pasta; it’s a bit too late to obtain the benefit of those carbs. By the way, I’m talking about complex carbs. Do a Google search for great complex carb examples.
Sadly, the vast majority of Americans live with some level of dehydration. It’s safe to say we should be drinking approximately eight ounces of water eight times a day. Add that up and you get close to half a gallon. (And if you live in the south, sweet tea doesn’t count. I’m talking about regular old water.)
As I tell my clients, you CAN eat an elephant, just not in one bite. The same is true of drinking half a gallon of water. Start by drinking four ounces of water every other hour during your waking hours. Do this for a week and then bump that up to every waking hour for two weeks. Finally, turn that four ounces into eight ounces and you’re good to go.
Yes, it’s going to be a lot of trips to the bathroom. Hey, that’s actually a good thing. The more you keep your body “flushed,” the healthier you can be.
HYDRATION – ON THE BIKE
I am amazed at how many cyclists hardly drink while riding. My rule of thumb is take a drink every 10 minutes, whether you feel like it or not. This will keep you from becoming dehydrated.
You rarely see it when watching events like the Tour de France, but those guys do take “nature breaks.” Bottom line, if you don’t need a bathroom during longer bike rides, then you probably haven’t drunk enough.
About Robert Wilhite:
“Coach” Robert Wilhite is a professional cycling coach who started MyCycleCoach.com 13 years ago. His clients range from beginners to pro-level cyclists. His unique perspective comes from racing motorcycles at speeds in excess of 180 mph, where the balance, handling and control skills are exactly the same as a bicycle. Coach Robert has a natural gift when it comes to teaching and communicating everything you need to know about riding a bicycle.
Interested in putting these great tips to the test? Then join one of YSC’s Tour de Pink rides this year!
Tour de Pink South: April 15-17, 2016
Tour de Pink East: September 16-18, 2016
Tour de Pink West: October 14-16, 2016