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CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS

  Last updated: 8/17/2010

IDENTIFY YOUR RIDING GOAL
The 1st step in planning your training


As you begin to map out your training plan for the season, look ahead to final ride or event that will be your season's goal. Once you have identified the goal, you can begin the development of a training plan/schedule along with a sound nutrition program to support the effort. Although each person's personal goals will have their unique aspects, the following 6 examples cover the usual range of daily, weekly, and final event/goal rides you might be considering.

Two elements, ride length and ride intensity, have a major bearing on planning - for the weekly mileage plan as well as how you can utilize knowledge of nutritional physiology to eat smart to minimize the chances of "running out of gas" along the way.

  1. Length of the ride

  2. The intensity of the ride
And when we do our planning, we will go into more detail (as covered in Nutrition for Training and Performance)on the specific nutritional needs for the: Let's look at the six examples I mentioned above.

THE COMMUTE or SOCIAL RIDE

This ride is done at a comfortable pace of 50-60% VO2 max. for 1 to 2 hours, often multiple days of the week. The goal is a comfortable ride with energy left for the remainder of the day.

BASIC TRAINING RIDE (often referred to as LSD or long, slow distance)

This ride is just a bit longer than the 2 hour limit that can lead to the bonk, so snacking on the bike is important. As intensity increases above 60%, it is more important to avoid eating in the 4 hour pre-ride interval to avoid GI distress.

INTERVALS

For intervals, it is important to have your stomach empty or you risk the GI distress (nausea) that results from exercising close to or above 100% VO2 max. You will also sweat more so fluid replacement is a consideration. If this is a ride of less than 1 1/2 to 2 hours, there is probably not a need for carbohydrate supplements during the ride.

LONG DISTANCE

This ride will definitely lead to the bonk if you don't replace carbohydrates, so snacking on the bike is mandatory. A 300 gram carbohydrate meal 3 to 4 hours before this ride helps "top off the tank", so to speak, in terms of muscle glycogen stores.

COMPETITIVE EVENT

This is the ride that will let you know if you trained successfully, and good nutrition and planning your eating strategy can make a difference. You will need a good carbohydrate base to maximize muscle glycogen reserves, and you need to avoid eating in the 4 hour pre-event interval to keep your stomach empty or you risk the GI distress that goes with exercising close to or above 100% VO2 max. You will also sweat more so fluid replacement needs to be watched. If this is a ride of more than 1 1/2 to 2 hours, you will need oral carbohydrate supplements during the ride.

MULTI-DAY RIDE or BIKE TOUR

This series of rides is basically the same as several long training rides, but you need to careful that you eat a high carbohydrate meal each evening to replace the muscle glycogen you metabolized that day or you will slowly become glycogen depleted and chronic fatigue will develop. This can include a post ride snack and a 300 gram carbohydrate meal each day, 3 to 4 hours before the ride, in addition to a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than normal.

Tips for those trips that will include long back-to-back days on the bike:


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Cycling Performance Tips
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