Tips for multi day cycling events

The physical demands of any multi-day cycling event are extreme, let alone one that takes 9 days and 969 miles to complete. The Deloitte Ride Across Britain is an iconic must-do event for anyone serious about cycling. There’s just something spectacular about saying you made it to the other end of 9 gruelling days of back-to-back physical exertion across some of Britain’s toughest hilly terrain, breath-taking scenery and some of the best and most famous cycling routes in the country. But it won’t be easy.

Here are some tips for conquering the RAB:

1.) Do your prep work

Have you trained long and hard enough to handle the demands of the race? It may sound obvious, but making sure your fitness level is up to par is pretty important. If you feel utterly exhausted after 5 hours in the saddle and thousands of calories down, it is going to be a struggle to get up and going every morning. Make sure you know the demands of the event you’re getting into. The Journey doesn’t start at Lands’ end, but the moment you sign up.

 

2.) Commit to your nutrition plan and stick to it

Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t is extremely important. Different sports drinks contain varying amounts of carbs and electrolytes, and some can contain protein. If you haven’t trained with these products, it’s not wise to consume them during the event, as you risk causing stomach issues.

HIGH5 Nutrition is a great choice for those with a sensitive stomach, as it uses mostly natural flavours and colours, and has many products within the range that are gluten- and sugar-free as well. HIGH5 undergoes rigorous testing in both the lab and with athletes in the real world, which means it won’t let you down when it matters most. It’s also Vegetarian Society approved.

 

3.) Eat with the next day in mind

The most critical aspect of stage race nutrition is getting in enough nutrients to maximise your body’s ability to repair and recover from one stage to the next. The RAB is particularly tough since it involves extensive climbing, which requires considerable energy expenditure. Avoiding fatigue means proper pre, during and post-race nutrition.

 

If you’re used to training for single-day events, not getting in enough nutrition can be a common mistake. If you empty your carbohydrate reserves in one day’s riding, it’s almost impossible to fully re-fuel by the next day and you will start with a part-empty tank. You must make a major effort to focus on fuelling your carbohydrate reserves during and after each day’s riding. This is critical to consistent performance in multi-day events.

Check out HIGH5’s Advanced Nutrition Guide for Multi-Day Events

 

4.) Hydration is key

“The best advice to start with would be to ensure that you hydrate as often as possible. Often, you’ve already passed the point of no return in terms of being dehydrated if you wait to drink only when you are thirsty,”

Dehydration will severely affect energy levels. Your muscle cells are almost three-quarters water, so if you’re short on fluids, you’ll feel the strain. Drinking little and often will give you the best chance of hitting your targets.

But what should you be drinking and how much? During endurance exercise, you need to focus on both hydration and energy to keep you going for longer. Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water to optimise endurance performance. HIGH5 EnergySource is a scientifically formulated carbohydrate and electrolyte sports drink designed for use during exercise to both replace key electrolytes and supply energy to your muscles. HIGH5 Nutrition will be available throughout the course of RAB, so it may be worthwhile getting your body used to it now. They’re also the official on-course nutrition partner for a large number of the European IRONMAN events, should you be considering the next big challenge.

 

Even with a good hydration strategy, you often finish exercise mildly (or more severely in hot conditions) dehydrated, so it’s important to continue drinking after exercise. You should aim to replace 150% of your fluid lost through exercise within 3 hours of finishing. This means that if you finish exercising with a one litre fluid deficit, you should drink 1.5 litres. A drink that contains carbohydrates and protein, like HIGH5 Protein Recovery, can help to rapidly restore muscle carbohydrate stores and also help with the dreaded onset of soreness.

 

Thirst is the initial sign of dehydration. Symptoms of intermediate dehydration include: dry mouth and lips, reduced sweat output, muscle cramps and light-headedness.

 

5.) Don’t faff around

When the riding is done for the day, don’t just stand around in your sweaty kit. The sooner you can get cooled down, clean, fuelled, hydrated and off your feet, the better. Anything else is just delaying valuable recovery time.

A dirty, sweated-in chamois is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria – E. coli, salmonella and C. difficile, to name a few. The pros’ shortcut is to hop in the shower, kit and helmet on. The padding of your helmet accumulates bacteria and sweat just as quickly as your kit, so don’t leave it out. When you’re done, you can just remove your gear and hang it out to dry for the next day.

A post-ride rubdown can also work wonders. Nothing too vigorous or hard, just a light massage to help increase circulation and assist the muscles in clearing lactic acid. RAB will have massage facilities available for riders in need of that extra recovery boost.

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The secret ingredient for your marathon training

How important is it to rest during high mileage weeks leading up to a race such as the London Marathon? The answer is, yes you’ve guessed it, VERY important! In fact, it could be argued that it is just as important as making sure you are getting 7+ hours sleep everyday to be able to get up and work/train/perform the next day.

Recovery is the key to performing. It is sometimes abused and often not taken seriously enough. No matter what level and ability you are, recovering needs to be just as important as training. Us runners can be a stubborn bunch. For me personally my one day a week rest day couldn’t come soon enough, however once it’s here I’m itching to get out the door and run. I know though how important it is that I rest. I feel recharged, happier and stronger when running again.

Recovery isn’t just resting from running though, it’s giving your brain a break from training and giving your body a chance to refuel and absorb the vital nutrients your muscles need to recover and prepare for another hard week of training. Be smart and refuel cleverly.

Taking on vital the ingredients at times that matter will make a huge impact to your training. Protein as we all know has a huge benefit to recovering. Protein shakes, bars and meals will repair your muscles after training and help rebuild damaged muscle tissue. HIGH5 uses the very highest quality of whey protein isolate for optimal recovery. Post exercise nutrition can improve the quality and the rate of recovery after exercise. This is vital for reaching and maintaining a high level of fitness. Less muscle damage and better recovery can result in stronger more resilient muscle, lower risk of injury and more rapid fitness gains from your training. HIGH5 offer a range products that will compliment your recovery. You might also want to add a twist to you recovery drink – you can find some great ideas here.

Protein Recovery Smoothie

HIGH5 Running Nutrition Guides have been designed to help you run faster and to finish a challenge, like a marathon, feeling strong and with a smile on your face. High5 work exceptionally hard to ensure that you can perform at your best. HIGH5 nutrition undergoes rigorous testing in both the lab and with athletes in the real world. It won’t let you down when it matters most. Here you can find guides to support you on your running journey.

Enjoy your rest days, embrace them as they will make us runners faster and fitter. Without rest days we would run ourselves into the ground through over-training and increasing our risk of picking up an injury. Look after yourself, fuel yourself with the correct nutrition that will help you to replenish the vitamins and minerals that we lose through training… and lastly inspire others! There is always someone working harder than you out there but there is also always someone wishing they could be doing just as much as you!

Be clever – train smart! Your team from RunningWithUs

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Protein Recovery Smoothie

Five delicious Protein Recovery smoothies

Fast recovery is vital to reaching and maintaining a high level of fitness. The body recovers at the greatest rate during a two hour window immediately after exercise, but only if you provide it with the vital nutrients it needs.

HIGH5 Protein Recovery is the ultimate drink for after exercise. The ingredients used in the scientifically formulated blend of protein and carbs promote recovery of normal muscle function² after exercise and contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass¹.

Muscles become sore and stiff when they are stressed during exercise. The depletion of muscle glycogen (muscle carb stores) can impair muscle function resulting in fatigue and reduced exercise performance. The unique forms of protein and carbohydrate in Protein Recovery are chosen to ensure you recover after intense long lasting exercise² and turn up ready to perform at your next training session.

It comes in three delicious flavours:

  • Summer Fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Banana-Vanilla.

Tired of the same old combination for your post-workout shake? Try one of our Protein Recovery smoothie recipes for a delicious, healthy treat:

 

 

Consume as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. ¹Protein contributes to growth and maintenance of mass²Carbohydrates (CHOs) contribute to recovery of normal muscle function after intensive/long-lasting exercise leading to muscle fatigue & depletion of muscle glycogen. Consume 4g per kg/bwt of CHOs from all sources within 4-6 hrs post-exercise to achieve claimed effects.

 

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Draft-Legal racing and how to train for it

Draft-legal racing in a triathlon is one of those subjects that when discussed always brings out opposing opinions in people. As one of the growing number of events to offer a closed road draft-legal bike leg, we recently caught up with Brighton and Hove Triathlon to get some background information and their opinion on draft-legal racing in a Triathlon

DSC_8019Although drafting has been legal in Olympic and ITU Elite races for some time, the format was only introduced into Age-Group racing last year. It is still a controversial topic since it has been argued that drafting is less physically difficult and has instead made way for tactical racing. When athletes draft during the cycle leg (and it is also possible during the swim), they can save a lot of energy. As a result, the winners are often decided purely on the run course since there is very little chance of them getting a head start on anyone off the bike. This can make it far more exciting for spectators and TV, but is arguably defeating the original point of triathlon, that it is an individual race won or lost based on individual speed over the three disciplines.

The 2016 Age-Group World Championships in Mexico had the sprint distance in the drafting format so regardless of opinion, drafting is becoming a very prominent aspect to Age-Group racing. A draft-legal race entails different knowledge and skills to a standard, non-drafting format. It also requires a change in training to be race ready. We spoke with Brighton and Hove Triathlon Race Director, and Olympic Competition Manager, John Lunt:

Q.: What are your thoughts on the new draft-legal format for age groupers?
Lunt: “Draft racing gives you the ability to cycle a very fast bike course in a group and whilst this can make the cycling section very exciting and a lot of fun, it does require a level of technical expertise and experience. Drafting adds variety and another type of competition.”

IMG_6283Q.: Why is it more technical to non-legal races?
Lunt: “Cyclists ride in a tight bunch or in a single file line which allows the non-leading riders to expend less energy as a result of the slipstream created by the front rider. However, drafting requires a different set of skills and an increased awareness within the race, with a need to communicate with others around you in order to draft safely and effectively. As a general rule, it should be performed by more experienced cyclists who can react quickly.”

Q.: How can athletes train for draft-legal races?
Lunt: “Training for a draft-legal race isn’t massively different to the standard Age-Group format. However it helps to train within a group in order to get used to cycling in close proximity within the group which you race in. It’s important to be confident in your abilities when riding with others around you.”

Q.: Brighton and Hove Triathlon is a draft legal race. What was the thought behind that?
Lunt: “The Brighton and Hove seafront is blessed with wide, closed-roads which increases the safety of our draft-legal sprint race, allowing less experienced drafters to feel comfortable competing. The flat course should see some very exciting racing indeed.”

For more information and guidance on draft-legal racing, check out this handy guide from British Triathlon.

For more information about the Brighton and Hove Triathlon or to sign up, visit www.brightonandhovetriathlon.com.

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The importance of the ‘long run’ & how to progress

The coaching team from RunningWithUs take a look at the long run and how you can use it to your best advantage for your marathon training.

NYC_LOTR-3118 2 (1)The ‘long run’ can be the most daunting part of your running training plan. The length of a long run is relative to the person running it and the distance that they are training for, but generally speaking a long run is between one and three hours, running at a low intensity. The long run takes an increasing role through February if you’re training for a spring race. A great goal is to get in a consistent weekly long run of 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours at a relaxed and conversational effort by the middle to end of February.

Increasing the miles
Patience is key, even for the more experienced runners. Adding 10-15 minutes each week onto your long run is a sensible progression. Don’t be surprised if niggles and fatigue set in as you start jumping up by 30-40 minutes at a time.

What pace should I run my long runs?
In early February, aim to keep your long runs at a fully conversational, relaxed pace that’s 45-60 seconds a mile slower than your planned marathon pace. This will build your body’s ability to burn stored fats and ensure you are fresh enough to hit your quality sessions mid-week.NYC_LOTR-0949

Pre-marathon race prep
Using a half marathon race as a marathon paced long run can be a great way of building confidence around
your goal marathon pace. As extra preparation, try adding 20-30 minutes easy before and after the half marathon.

How to fuel your long runs
When your long run starts to extend beyond the 1 hour 30 minute mark, we recommend your really start to practice with different options for pre-run breakfasts and also fuelling during the run itself. Your long run is the best opportunity to practise your race day nutrition strategy. Gels are the most efficient and effective way of getting carbohydrates quickly into the system whilst running. To start with, take small sips of gel and look to take one every 30-60 minutes or so during the course of your long run.

IMG_3102What gels should I choose?
There are lots of brands out there offering similar sports nutrition. HIGH5 have always been our ‘go to’ brand for fuelling and recovery. It’s clean energy with no added nasties, like artificial sweeteners.
Take one EnergyGel Plus or IsoGel Plus sachet every 20-30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. The most convenient way of carrying gels is to use a Gel Belt but make sure you test it out in training. There are always a few runners that lose their gels within the first miles of a race because the gels are the wrong size for their belt.

To ensure you are fuelling and refuelling yourself clever, check out HIGH5 Marathon Nutrition Guide.

Be safe, work hard and enjoy your run!

RunningWithUs

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