Updated on November 21 by Andrew Jamieson
Last week we looked at pre workout recovery and nutrition for cycling. The second in this series is during workout recovery and nutrition.
- During the workout you can generally absorb about 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (this is independent of body weight).
- There is some recent research (by Jeukendrup) that suggests that this figure can be improved (up to 90-100g/h) with different combinations (glucose/fructose, caffeine/carbohydrate, maltodextrin/fructose etc).
- Consider a sports drink with a 1:4 ratio of protein to carbohydrate. Research suggests that it increases glcogen synthesis, decrease muscle damage and aids recovery. It may also help endurance during your ride, but this is inconclusive.
- Aim to consume between 500-800ml/hr of a 6-8% carbohydrate drink, depending on heat and sweat loss (up to a litre in extreme conditions). This will mean that you will need to consume about 20-40g of carbohydrate an hour to make up to 1g/kg/hr.
- Drinks should contain between 0.3-0.7g/L of sodium also.
- It is also important to test and trial any food in training that you are planning to use in races. Palatability is also an important consideration.
Think of your efforts as being limited. You only have so many, so ensure you don’t waste them. Some people like to view this as burning matches. Each effort you make is a match burned and you only have so many matches in your matchbox. Don’t waste them doing unnecessary efforts. Some you will be forced to make, but don’t waste energy without reason. Keep out of the wind when you are not on the front and don’t be a hero unless it is helping you achieve your goals! There is no point sitting on the front longer than everyone. Save it up for a more strategic opportunity.
When the pace is on keep cadence high (100-110 rpm on the flat and 80-90+rpm on hills (this method was made famous by Lance Armstrong who you could often seen pedalling at 100+ rpm on the final climb of mountain stages in the Tour de France) – this will be something you will need to get used to in training). When the pace is not too hard pedal at a comfortable cadence (90-100rpm).
The simple take away message is to consume 1g/kg/hr of carbohydrate and 5-800ml of fluid on your ride and make your efforts count.