By Becca Book
Garmin Unbound is less than a month away, and our team mate Becca Book will be tackling the 200 mile race SINGLE SPEED. After months of training to build up endurance, she has shifted her focus to planning how to slay on race day, Including developing a nutrition plan‑ an often overlooked but crucial component of ensuring you can perform your best. Here are some of her best tips for fueling for the long haul.
Most Athletes are aware that dehydration can cramp your style, but performing your best requires more than tossing back a cold bevvie after a ride. Depending on the temperature and the unique needs of your body, you should be consuming between 12‑24 oz an hour. Electrolytes are important for any ride over 60 minutes ‑ even if you don’t think you are sweating much! I like to use a higher calorie mix for rides over 90 minutes to help keep my blood sugar up even when I get distracted and forget to eat regularly. Xact Hydration Tablets pack all your essential electrolytes into an easy tab you can drop into your bottle before you go!
2. Snack Snack throughout your ride so you don’t have huge swings in your blood sugar and bonk and then get too hangry and fight with people you care about! Any ride over 90 minutes needs some sort of food. Simple carbs (like sugar and white rice) are great for short, high intensity efforts, but for longer endurance efforts add more protein and fat. The rule of thumb is to replace around half of the calories you burn every hour with a mostly carb based food. However, nutrition is incredibly personal, so make sure you experiment on training rides to find what works for you. I find that having little snacks throughout the day is easier to manage when you aren’t hungry but know you need to eat. The Xact Energy fruit bars are great for this! Not too sweet, easy to munch while riding, and available in a variety of flavors to keep things interesting. I am prone to getting distracted, and skipping snacks until I am hangry and starving. This is NOT recommended and has led to at least one break up in my life! To avoid making this mistake again, I set an alarm on my bike computer to keep me snacking regularly.
I like to switch between sweet and savory snacks, and always bring a variety of options including gels or fruit bars, a chocolate flavored bar like the Xact Protein wafers, and ‘real food’ like peanut butter filled pretzels or a PB+Js sandwich. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, and even though I’ve experienced first hand the mood boost that sugar gives you when you are feeling down mid ride, I can’t eat just sweets when I’m riding for 8‑9 hours a day! If I have time, home made Umami Rice Cakes are one of my favorite options; They provide fast energy without the sugar crash. While I am traveling for Unbound I plan to make a simple version with take out rice.
Training puts stress on your body and makes you (temporarily) WEAKER. It's during recovery that you build muscle and get stronger!
The post workout ‘recovery window’ is a well known gym rat stat ‑ eat within 30 minutes of your workout for maximum gains. However hearing a registered nutritionist describing how training stresses your muscles, and emphasizing that our bodies need that fuel to repair and get stronger, put things into perspective for me. For longer workouts, 4 grams of carbs per kg is recommended. I rarely measure, but this is why tonight is pasta night at my place!