July is the month of the Tour de France, which may inspire many of you to hit the road and kickstart your very own multi-day cycle ride! Before you jump on your bike and get going, we’ve got some top tips for conquering a multi-day cycling event – here they are:
1. Do your prep work
Have you trained long and hard enough to handle the demands of riding on consecutive days? It may sound obvious, but making sure you’ve got the right fitness level is pretty important. If you feel exhausted after five hours in the saddle and thousands of calories down, it is going to be a struggle to get up and going every morning. Our recommendation? Make sure you know the demands of the event you’re getting into!
2. Commit to your nutrition plan and stick to it
Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t is key. 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, and you can risk stomach issues.
Here at HIGH5, we use natural flavours and colours, and lots of our products are sugar free and without gluten containing ingredients. We’re also Vegetarian Society approved! So, we’re sure there will be something that will work for you.
Don’t have a nutrition plan yet? Check out our advanced nutrition guide for multi-day events.
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. 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. So, focus on fuelling your carbohydrate reserves before, during and after each day’s riding. Most of our products are marked with ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ to help you know what’s best to take when!
4. Hydration is key
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 Energy Drink is a scientifically formulated carbohydrate and electrolyte sports drink designed for use during exercise to replace key electrolytes AND supply energy to your muscles. What’s not to love about that?!
However, 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 Recovery Drink, can help to rapidly restore muscle carbohydrate stores and also help with the dreaded onset of soreness.
5. Get straight to recovery
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.
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.
We hope these 5 top tips help with any multi-day cycling events you’ve got coming up! Interested in more advice? Check out our blog!