When I was asked to do the nutrition column for B2B again this year, I eagerly agreed. In over ten years of coaching, I can tell you that some of the best training and athletic plans can be completely derailed due to bad nutrition and bad fueling. So, given that we are all after the same thing – success in our athletic endeavors and overall health and fitness – I take the nutrition and fueling component very seriously.
However, when I starting thinking about what I would write this year, I struggled. My philosophy about proper fueling for the B2B – a 150 mile hilly, point-to-point ride in late June – hasn’t changed. The Harpoon website still has my nutrition articles from last year and they key points are still the same:
Have a sweat rate test done to determine how much fluid you need to consume per hour. Thirst is NOT a good indicator.
Dial in a fueling plan that includes fluid, calories from high glycemic carbs, and a good electrolyte balance.
If you pace this ride correctly – entirely aerobic, never with a high heart rate – you will be able to use whole foods that are high in carbohydrate, low in fat and protein as well as engineered food which are concentrated carbs. (Potatoes and corn chips vs. energy gels).
But here’s the thing – and it’s the whole point of this article. You need to do more than dial in the perfect plan. You need to PRACTICE this plan! As Vince Lombardi once said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: you log lots of winter miles on your trainer which is set up next to a folding table that has a couple of water bottles, a cell phone and the channel changer. There may be a Power Bar, a gel, or whatever you munch during your long rides. While you warm up, you flip through the channels to find something to watch. You ride for 90 minutes - or three hours, taking phone calls, watching TV, drinking, only getting up to go to the bathroom. When you’re done, you take a shower and grab lunch.Or maybe it’s a week day and you are squeezing in a workout before or after work. Your pre and/or post-race nutrition are probably consumed in the car and might or might not have the correct ratios of carbohydrate to protein. And you may or may not have had adequate sports drink or water while you were on the bike.
Or maybe that’s not you! Maybe you get your water bottles, gels and recovery drinks ready the night before your long ride. If it’s a really long ride, you start your carbo-load the morning before your big ride with a pancake breakfast and continue throughout the day with high glycemic carbs, limited fat and protein, and lots
of fluid and electrolytes. You eat and drink the same thing every time you ride; only adjusting for the length of the ride. You do this with success and you do this so often it’s habit! Practice makes permanent whatever you do repeatedly. Eat like an elite athlete repeatedly – including during EVERY training ride and your practice will become perfectly permanent!