We have all been there, cycling along feeling like a pro. Legs spinning speed at 30 + kmph, sun at your back not a care in the world. Before you know it an hour or two has passed you haven’t eaten a thing and only a drop of water in the body. Then you turn back the way you’ve come from and that sun on your back is now clouded over and it turns out it was a gale force wind helping the 30kmph + average speed. So now you knuckle down thinking right it’s going to get tough. Little do you know you are now about 30 mins away from getting “The Bonk” and about 60 mins away from making that dreaded phone call to a loved one pretending you have a puncture. Now as you load your bike into the back of the car with the air you left out of the front tyre, you think to yourself how did this happen? I ate a massive dinner (and dessert) last night, didn’t eat much of a breakfast mind you, and ate no food during spin. (light bulb)
How do we prevent getting “The Bonk” first of all don’t worry too much about getting caught out. Pros get the bonk and they have full time nutritionist on board. The first thing I’d say to avoid the bonk is don’t carb load the night before. This is actually very hard to do properly. Most people believe carb loading is simply eating plenty of carbs pre race or training, when in actual fact it starts 4 days before that with a reduction in carbs by about 60% for 2 days then 80% for 1 day before carb loading on day before event. First you have to empty the body of glycogen then overload to properly fuel, as well as drinking plenty water on first few days. So a few quick tips to Fuel Your Ride.
- Eat a normal sized dinner the night before no bigger than normal
- On the morning eat try and eat 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat and not bad fats (saturated)
- Drink a pint of water first thing in the morning to help hydrate
- Try porridge with a banana and some honey or an omelette with ham or a bit of the meat from dinner the night before. (Waste not want not)
- Have a cup of coffee but no more as too much will dehydrate you
- During the spin eat after the first hour and then every 30 min thereafter
- Rule of thumb for fuelling during a cycle is eat/drink half what you burn (in calories) per hour
- Example if you burn 500 calories per hour you should take in 250 calories. This is a guideline. Play and around and see what works for you
- Post Ride within 30-45 mins after spin try to take in some carbs and protein
- A simple guide to get what the body needs go by your weight
- If you weigh 80kg you should eat 80 grams of carbs and a ⅓ of your weight in protein 26 grams of protein
- Have a normal sized dinner later and you will be helping the body recover as best you can
- Ok you have done enough to have a desert as well!
- A good night’s sleep now and you’ll be fresh the following day
Remember the muscles don’t get bigger when training; they get bigger when recovering.
Level 1 Cycling Ireland Coach,