Training & Racing Hydration and Nutrition
Hydrate with more than plain water if you can Drinking water is ALWAYS a good idea. If you can, however, drink it with a little sodium added to aid its absorption into the bloodstream (you will know water is getting absorbed because you won’t have to urinate as frequently). Skratch and Nuun are two different products that can be added to water to help with absorption and electrolyte replenishment. You can also simply add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and a little maple syrup to your water bottle; much cheaper in the long run.
Eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats; minimize sugar
Getting enough calories of ANY food during the season can be a challenge, so when you are hungry, eat something. You can maximize the impact of your training, however, if you eat food with a proper balance of nutrients before, during and after your training rides and races. Having a mixture of fats, protein and carbohydrate at every meal or snack ensures that your body receives an evenly distributed amount of energy over the day, rather than a quick high from sugar followed by a crash.
Eat real food whenever possible
Shot bloks, Gu chomps, gels, powders are all manufactured food. Eating too much of these products can lead to GI distress and unnecessary spikes in blood sugar because of the high sugars (glucose, fructose, maltodextrin, etc) content. Eat real food when possible. For rides lasting longer than an hour, however, it always makes sense to keep some of these in your jersey pocket or pack, because you never know when you might need the extra energy to make it home safely. Bloks and gels and powders can be great as a supplement to eating real food on longer rides, but these things should never be your primary energy source.
We are a nut-free team!
Please do not bring nut products or food containing nuts on rides or to races.
Longer Training Ride
(3+ hours, or a typical Saturday ride)
Eat a breakfast that includes protein, carbohydrates and fat, like:
- Oatmeal with berries, yogurt, banana
- Eggs with toast and butter, banana
- See link at the top of this page for different breakfast ideas.
Pack liquid for your ride by bringing water enhanced with 1/16 tsp. salt and 1 Tb maple syrup OR electrolyte solution (Skratch, Nuun, etc). No plain water.
Pack food for your ride by carrying some “real” food like a sandwich, Clif bar, trail mix, banana or other bar, and a simple sugar product like Clif bloks, GU chomps, glucose tablets, etc. These are critical for making it through 3+ hour training ride.
During the Ride
- Hydrate during the first hour.
- Hydrate and eat real food during the second hour (nibble nibble sip sip is best!).
- Hydrate and perhaps eat some simple sugar products in the final hour of the ride.
After the Ride You have a 30-minute window to consume 20 to 30 grams of protein (girls need more than boys) in order to optimize your absorption of carbohydrates later. If you don’t, your training will not have the effect you want. Not enough protein keeps your stress hormones elevated.
Examples of suitable recovery foods
- Commercial recovery product, such as GU recovery drink mix
- Chocolate milk with a scoop of protein powder
- Plain Greek yogurt with some berries or made into a smoothie
- A real meal
Once you’ve had your recovery food, eat a real meal within two hours that includes protein, fat and carbohydrates. Avoid processed sugar whenever possible.
After-school 5pm training ride
Same preparation as morning training day, with the following additions:
- Eat a lunch - include protein, carbohydrates and fat
- Pack Liquid for your ride – Bring water enhanced with 1/16 tsp. salt and 1 Tb maple syrup OR electrolyte solution (Skratch, Nuun, etc). No plain water.
- Eat a snack before your ride - Perhaps an almond butter and jelly sandwich or something similar. Prep ahead of time, and keep with your clothes that you have set out to ride.
- During the Ride Hydrate hydrate hydrate
- After the Ride You have a 30-minute window to consume 20 to 30 grams of protein (girls need more than boys). See above for details.
Think of it the same as a longer training ride with some changes:
- Eat the same breakfast you always eat, don’t change anything up on race day. If your race is later in the afternoon, eat a substantial snack within 2 hours of the race.
- Hydrate and fuel during the race. Make sure to grab at least one water bottle for each lap raced, especially in warmer weather. Leave sugar products to the beginning of the last lap, giving you energy to attack and sprint at the end.
- After the Ride you have a 30-minute window to consume 20 to 30 grams of protein (girls need more than boys) in order to optimize your absorption of carbohydrates later. See above for recovery details.
We are a nut-free team!
Please do not bring any nut products or food containing nuts on rides or to races. When preparing food for others, please check for any cross-contamination warning labels.
Recipes for “real” food for athletes: http://www.Runningonrealfood.com
Notes for women:
Hormonal changes affect our bodies and the ability to make hard efforts in training and racing.
- 5-7 days before menstrual period you might need a little extra carbohydrates if you are experiencing fatigue.
- Branched chain amino acids are also helpful if you are making hard efforts in the 5-7 days before your period. 3 grams before training, 5 grams after training.
- Increase your protein intake during your menstrual period.