How To

How to plan the perfect base training ride

Deciding distance, layering, fuelling, monitoring effort, and carrying spares

Monitoring effort with fuelling

Having the energy to complete your base training is as important as filling your car up with petrol before a long drive, and it’s not just during the ride that’s important. Pre and post ride nutrition play an important part and can certainly be the difference between feeling fit or fatigued. Try and get into a routine, not just for your training but also for your food and hydration. Make notes if you have a particular high or low whilst riding so you can either replicate the good times or modify your nutrition to rectify a dip in energy levels.

It’s not just about fuelling on the bike. Before and after are equally important. pic: ©Mike Cotty

Fuelling for an endurance ride can generally be broken down into three parts.

1) The night before. You don’t need to gorge yourself but ensure you eat well. Keep it simple – pasta, rice or sweet potato with little lean protein such as fish or chicken should stand you in good stead.

2) During the ride. Eat little an often, getting into a habit of nibbling every 30 minutes will keep your energy and blood sugar levels from crashing unexpectedly. Energy bars and gels are designed for this but don’t overlook things like bananas and dried fruits too. If you find it hard to process solid food then look at replacing some of your calories and carbohydrates with an energy drink. Top up electrolyte levels to help prevent cramp through sweat loss.

3) Post ride. Prepare a little snack or recovery drink before you go out and have it ready for as soon as you return. You have about a 20 minute window when you’re body is most receptive to starting the recovery process so try and consume this within that time. You’ll certainly notice a difference to your recovery. The aim is to replace your glycogen stores so that you’re ready for your next ride. Cereal, fruit smoothies, bagels and specialist recovery drinks all play an important part in the recovery process.

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