Eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty

This is excellent advice when talking about cycling and running nutrition. 


I am continually amazed by the things I see people eat before and during races (in particular cycling events).  I have seen friends of ours eat beef jerky, pancakes, lefse, eggs and bacon before a “long” (anything over 2 1/2 hours) bike race…and I sit bewildered on how their stomachs can handle it during exertion!  I can’t even fathom the thought of some of what I see ingested during rides…donuts, potato chips, candy bars, red bull.  I can’t even put that stuff in my stomach when I am at rest, much less while riding my bike.  YUCK!

What do you eat pre-race? OR pre-long ride/run?
I am not a race nutrition expert.  AND I am a pretty boring pre-race foodie.  Simple as I can get-  steel cut oats (ring a bell?), 1/2 banana, blueberries, a little honey and 1 cup of coffee.  This has been my pre-race meal for all events since I started doing them (cycling and running alike).  It is what my body is use to and it is, in my mind, good nutrition.  Full of good carbs and good sugars, with a side of caffeine 🙂  *I will also have a Gu or Accelerade (preferably vanilla bean) about a half hour before the start with a bottle of water.

What do you eat and drink during exertion?
I do what I know works (for me).  I don’t try anything new the day of the race and my general rule of thumb is any activity over 1 hour deserves more fuel and fluid than just water can give.  I will add electrolytes to one water bottle (or put them in my Camelback if using one) and leave 1 bottle with just water.  My body prefers the taste of plain water most, so I like to alternate between the two if possible.  I will also usually have a gel every hour or sometimes sooner depending on exertion levels.  (For example, I only use one gel at mile 6-7 during a 13.1 race, BUT during the Chequemegan 40 mile mountain bike race I took a gel every 10 miles to stay fueled.)

The only time I have taken in anything different is during the Kickapoo Kicker in June.  This was a 100K supported time-chipped ride with frequent rest stops.  I had a coke at all but one of the stops, 1/2 banana and a cup of granola.   It is what my body wanted during that race.  I only had Gu’s in my jersey BUT I also knew there was going to be plenty of fuel at all the stops.  

The best advice is “Eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.”  By the time your body reacts to low levels of fluid or fuel and sends the signals that you are either hungry or thirsty, it is too late.  It is best to stay on top of your glycogen stores and your hydration.  I am in most cases an over-hydrater.  I let my nerves get the best of me and often guzzle a bunch of water pre-race and then I just end up with frequent porta-potty stops pre-race start. 😦

What do you eat or drink after your long ride/run?
PROTEIN!  After you are done exerting yourself, your body goes into recovery mode.  The first phase is restoring your fuel supplies.  The second phase is when your muscles are rebuilt and reinforced to be stronger and more efficient.  You want to minimize protein breakdown and maximized protein synthesis.  You should grab something with protein and good carbs (to help restore glycogen) within 30-45 minutes to help this process.   The easiest way to do this is with protein shake/smoothie or recovery drink of some sort.  You can keep the powder in a water bottle, mix it with some water post-workout and voila you are on your way to muscle recovery.

Consuming protein has other important uses after exercise. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild the muscle tissue that was damaged during prolonged exercise. It also increases the absorption of water from the intestines and improves your muscle hydration. The amino acids found in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.  AND let’s face it, we all could use that during the cold and flu season.

So where do you get your nutrition?
I get mine from The Nutrition Store for Endurance Athletes.  Check out the site for all your race nutrition needs!
The owner reads my blog and has offered my readers a discount!
Use code: spinningitall at check-out and save 10%


About spinningitall

Join me as I try to spin it all; work, family, exercise, healthy living, and healthy eating. Perhaps we can learn together. Hilarity is certain to be involved.
This entry was posted in cycling, Pre-race nutrition, Pre-ride food, Races, running. Bookmark the permalink.

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