Managing your energy levels while riding can be difficult, but with a little guidance, it’s something every cyclist can get the hang of. First off, what foods and liquids you need to be consuming depends entirely on what kind of cycling you’re performing. Training might just involve the consumption of the appropriate food products before you go for a ride, like a breakfast consisting of a smoothie or a cereal.
When planning to ride for longer than an hour, such as during an endurance race, there is a distinct need to consistently manage energy intake in order to maintain optimum progress.
How to manage energy before an endurance race
As with regular training cycling, it is necessary to consume food before you begin riding. A meal three hours before your race should consist of something carb focused and not too heavy will give you a great platform with which to start cycling. Hydration is important, although drinking too much liquid has the potential to lower sodium levels, which can be disastrous during a ride.
The warm up before the race should also involve the consumption of an electrolyte drink or carbohydrate, and an energy gel just before the race will ensure large amounts of energy is readily available.
Managing energy levels during the race
Even though you might have eaten well before the race, to perform well in a long race you’ll need more than that. Foods such as low fibre muesli and cereal bars, bananas, energy gels, gummi and jelly lollies and isotonic sports drinks are ideal for delivering large amounts of high GI energy, which ensures that stomach discomfort is avoided during the ride.
This food not only delivers energy to the body, but also the brain. This energy is instrumental in helping maintain focus and momentum while cycling. Long training rides should give you an indication when you need to refuel, as hunger is not always a good indication of when your body needs additional fuel.
What to avoid
No matter what kind of riding you plan on doing, there are always things you should never consume due to their potential to irritate your gastrointestinal tract (which is not a fun experience when riding!). Alcohol is an obvious one, but excessive amounts of caffeine, fibre, and fatty or spicy foods also lead to negative gastrointestinal symptoms.
If you’d like to learn more about the correct foods we recommend for cycling, be it for training or endurance, get in touch with Mummu Cycling today!