Cycling Training Tips from GU|
Dr. William Vaughan
Thursday, June 07, 2001
The popularity of fitness rides is obvious these days. Cyclists who are looking for a ride will have no problem finding the perfect event in their community. All across the country there are a variety of rides for every level of cyclist, whether their goal is to finish a century ride, raise money by participating in an AIDS or MS Society ride, or just simply join a local cycling club.
The biggest concern among cyclists training for a major ride is how to avoid "bonking." Toward the last half of a ride it's not uncommon to find cyclists at their worst, struggling to finish the ride. Why does this happen?
Cyclists "bonk" when blood glucose and muscle glycogen levels drop. When athletes exert themselves, their muscles tap the energy stored in glucose and glycogen to keep them going. In order to maintain those glucose and glycogen levels, a cyclist needs to regularly replenish these levels by ingesting complex carbohydrates and amino acids.
Proper training is also key to avoid "bonking." Dr. William Vaughan, creator of GU, consults athletes all over the globe, helping them prepare for and recover from all kinds of athletic events - bike races, ultra marathons, triathlons, etc. His advice for cyclists is simple and easy to follow...
THREE MONTHS BEFORE EVENT...
- Begin using an electrolyte drink during training rides. Choose one that contains sodium and complex carbohydrates (maltrin, maltodextrin, glucose polymers).
- Incorporate an energy gel such as GU or other product into your training regime. GU is particularly effective at providing regular, even bursts of energy without sitting "heavy" in the stomach.
- As you add more miles to your training routine, drink more electrolyte drinks and eat more GU. Combined, they will keep your body properly fueled and help you recover faster.
- Train with products you will race with to minimize the chance of any unpleasant surprises the day of the race.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE EVENT...
- Watch for physical and mental fatigue during training to determine when it is most likely to occur. At these points, an energy gel and an electrolyte drink will help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide needed amino acids.
- Figure out how often you'll need an energy gel to stay strong during your race. Take into account, the intensity of your anticipated race and weather conditions.
- On a hot, dry race day, a GU pack and a water bottle of drink every 35-40 minutes will suffice. On a cool day, the same combo every 45 minutes will do the trick.
ONE MONTH BEFORE EVENT...
- As your training levels increase or get more intense, take a balance vitamin supplement to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
- Remember to eat well-balanced meals that include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
DAY BEFORE EVENT...
- Everything in moderation! Don't try any new foods and eat a meal with plenty of carbohydrates and moderate fat and protein.
- Watch your protein and fiber intake. Foods that contain protein and fiber can "bulk you up" and mean extra pit stops during the race.
- Drink plenty of fluids, but don't go overboard since it could hold you up early in the race.
DAY OF THE EVENT...
- If you choose to eat breakfast, make it one that's not too bulky. A bagel, toast or pancakes are good choices. Allow at least two hours for digestion.
- If you choose not to eat breakfast, pre-load with energy gels at specific intervals - one packet an hour and a half before start time, again at 45 minutes prior, and a third right before the race begins.
- Watch caffeine intake. Coffee and tea are diuretics and will increase pit stops during the race.
- Follow your established routine with gels and an electrolyte drink, making slight alterations depending on how you feel.
- Stay hydrated - consume at least one liter of water or electrolyte drink every hour, especially during hot weather.
- Replenish complex carbohydrates and amino acids by consuming one energy gel pack every 35 - 40 minutes of the race.
- If you choose to eat solid foods during the race, avoid those high in dietary fat, fiber and protein.
For more information about flavors, ingredients and using Gu, visit the GU website.