OTE Sports Nutritionist Annie Simpson said: “Optimal fuelling when training – and recovering – in the winter go towards bigger training adaptations.” Here Annie takes us through her eight top tips to fuel your sportive training over the winter months.
Step 1: Fuel your session
The Struggle is one of the hardest sportives in the UK, which requires intense training rides complimented by a strong nutrition strategy. “Carrying out any training on an empty stomach may start to break down muscle as an energy source,” says Annie.
Whether it’s a 20-minute turbo or a four-hour ride, eating a carbohydrate-based meal or snack two hours before training will allow you to make the most of your session. Allowing yourself that extra time to enjoy your pre-ride porridge will mean you’re out of the starting blocks feeling energised and well-fuelled for your long rides.
Step 2: Do your sums
“Consuming carbohydrates during training has been found to aid immune function, which is important in the winter months,” says Annie. By consuming 1g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per hour (1g/kg/h) you’ll also be able to sustain your energy levels on the club run or a brisk training ride.
Annie’s Top Tip: Choose jersey-pocket foods that aren’t going to be affected by the low temperature. Hard-packed cereal bars can become a bit of mission to eat. Try energy gels, bananas, a peanut butter or jam sandwich or a soft flapjack like an OTE Anytime Bar.
Step 3: Get easy access
Do you find you’re giving up on your nutrition because you simply can’t get it out of your pocket while on the move? “Winter layers and gloves make it hard to access or open your food,” says Annie. She suggests making sure your food is in small bite sized pieces and pre-opened packaging. Try OTE duo bars which are available at feeds on the Struggle sportive.
Step 4: Don’t forget to drink
“As little as a 2 per cent loss in body weight through sweating has been shown to reduce performance,” says Annie. Although you may not feel you’re sweating, you’ll find your base layer is damp once you get home.
It is still important to stay hydrated. Water also aids the consumption of energy gels, and you’ll find some gels direct you to consume with water.
Annie’s Top Tip: 500ml per hour should be sufficient or simply try to stay ahead of feeling thirsty.
Step 5: Avoid germs
Before taking a swig think about wiping the top of your drink or squeezing the contents into your mouth without direct contact on the nipple of the bottle. This will stop you consuming the dirt and spray that’s accumulated from hours of riding on the dirty winter roads – especially around Yorkshire.
Do you know where is (usually) the cleanest place to wipe your bottle top? Believe it or not, under your armpit. “Due to our riding positions this is normally the place that see’s the least muck and grime,” says Annie.
Step 6: Ride then repair
You’ve all heard of the 30-minute window of opportunity. This is the optimum post-training opportunity to replenish the muscles of their carb stores and aid recovery with a protein hit. That’s why we give every rider an OTE protein bar once they’ve finished the sportive.
“Always choose a meal or meal-replacement such as a protein drink with carbohydrates and protein in. The sooner you eat and hydrate the better your recovery and adaptation will be.”
Annie’s Top Tip: Your body can only process around 25g of protein at one time. Eating more protein than this isn’t beneficial.
Step 7: Have a bedtime bite
Slowly feed your muscles throughout the night by eating protein (25g) just before bed. “This is another way to optimise recovery and help to build muscle,” says Annie. Milk, yogurt or a protein shake are good sources of protein that won’t sit too heavy on your stomach.
Step 8: Train fasted
Turn your morning commute into a training session with a specific aim over the winter by riding fasted. This is a great way to encourage your body to use its fat stores as fuel so you’ll loose weight and also build endurance fitness.
But forget racing to beat the lights – or your fellow commuters, this type of ride must be carried out at a steady pace. Always carry some emergency food just in case.
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Continue your Struggle training after 21st May and take on our newest event Struggle The Moors.