Training for a big cycling race is as much about your diet, as it is about getting the training in. You need to fuel yourself correctly and make sure you get the right amount of nutrients to allow your body to recovers and grow stronger after each training session. On race day, as excited as you may be, you still need to take care that you get the right foods to fuel your ride.
Here are some tips for you.
Be sure to eat breakfast each day before you train and on race day! You can’t expect a peak performance if your body has no fuel to run on. Choose something that sits easily in your stomachs such as a peanut butter sandwich or a yoghurt and fruit smoothie.
This can be aided by getting in a full meal the evening before.
Snacking Between Meals:
Plan your snacks so that you aren’t hungry and end up reaching for the wrong things. Yoghurt, cottage cheese, mixed nuts, fruit or smoothies are great snacks to have on hand. You can even make your own protein balls with your favourite ingredients including dates, protein powder, chia seeds, oats etc.
Too Much Fibre Or Spicy Foods:
We all know what happens when we eat too much spicy or fibrous food. Combine that with hard training which diverts blood from the digestive tract to active muscles, and you could have an unpleasant race experience!
Eat plain, non-spicy, non-fibrous foods the evening before hard training or the big race.
Refuel Your Ride:
If you are going to be out for a good few hours such as the FNB Wines to Whales race, you should definitely aim to refuel along the way to keep your body performing optimally. Before the race, plan and work out how much food and drink you should consume and be mindful of it throughout the race.
Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during intensive training or races.
Post-Training Or Race Eating:
Coming off the hype of completing the race, or a super training session, you could feel like you’re on top of the world – but you still need to refuel your body. This will make sure that you don’t feel as tired, or suffer from sore muscles, which would negatively impact your next session.
If you struggle to eat a perfect treat after a long training is a delicious Steri-Stumpie, with a handful of nuts, or peanut butter sandwich.
For those that feel like completing a tough race is a reason to eat everything, make sure you have packed or set aside something healthy and nutritious that you can dip into once you have completed your race.
Don’t overestimate how many carbs you need while training. Calculate how much you should be getting in. You can also choose carbs lower in calories than others. This information can easily be found online or in diet apps.
Eating Too Many Fats:
The problem with fats is that your body is very reluctant to let go of it. This is often stored in fat cells instead of burned. It is important to watch your fat intake.
You can also check out our article on Carbohydrates vs fats to find out more about this topic specifically.