Training Blog – Nutrition

Charity, Cycling and Craic!

Training Blog – Nutrition

February 23, 2018 Training Blog 0

With the build up to a 70km cycle this weekend, it’s a good time to think of the optimising your fuel to achieve your goals.

Remember your nutritional intake on your training plan should reflect your intake on G day. Check out the previous blog for information on hydration.

How to fuel your body.

Carbohydrate is the best fuel source for race day and training. If you do not take in enough carbohydrate during your cycle, your body will need to take that energy from your glycogen stores, which will lead to muscle fatigue. It is also important not to overload on carbohydrate as this may make you sluggish. Carbohydrate loading the night before your cycle can make it more difficult to sleep and is not always beneficial for race day. It is better to refuel regularly during the cycle.

To get the balance right start practicing your diet plan for race day now. You should try eating small amounts of carbohydrate at regular times. One way to work this out is on average during a cycle you should take in 1g carbohydrate per Kg body weight per hour.

Choosing what types of carbohydrate work best for you is important. Some athletes thrive on gels and energy drinks while others have better results with solid foods. Many cyclists find that eating the solid types of starchy carbohydrates earlier on and then switching to gels later can work well as solid foods can be heavy on your stomach at this stage of the cycle. Before your cycle, it is good to choose a low glycaemic index (slow releasing) carbohydrate such as porridge. After your cycle, it is important to refuel and replenish stores. However, if you have fuelled adequately during your cycle, you should not feel very hungry and a recovery drink or light meal should be sufficient with a normal dinner later on. There is no need to replace all the calories you burned.

See below an example

Mary is cycling 70km this weekend she weighs 65kg. Mary thinks she will complete the cycle in 2.5 hours.

Based on this her carbohydrate requirements during the cycle are:

Weight 70kg × 1 (for grams carbohydrate) × 2.5 (hours of race) = 175g carbohydrate

Suggested meal plan for Mary
Breakfast about 90 – 120 minutes before the eventBowl Porridge with low fat milk

Fruit juice

Don’t forget to hydrate.

Avoid high fat foods which can slow pace down. However you could add eggs for extra protein.
30 minutes into the cycle3 fig rolls33 g Carbohydrate
60 minutes into cycle1 energy barContaining 20-30g carbohydrate per bar.
90 minutes into cycle1 energy bar20-30g carbohydrate
120 minutes into cycle2 gels44g carbohydrate
Race to finish700ml Isotonic sports drink46g carbohydrate
After race within 30 minutesProtein and carbohydrate recovery drink 
After race LunchWholemeal bap with chicken salad

1 glass Low fat milk

If feeling very hungry at this time increase your carbohydrate intake during the cycle at the next training session
DinnerGrilled fish

3 medium potatoes

Lots vegetables




Next time more on How to repair and strengthen your body.


Written by:

Fiona Dunlevy, Dietitian Manager at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital


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