Here at Struggle HQ we’ve all been floored by bugs, viruses and infections this winter. With our Mallorca Training Camp on the horizon, we've re-addressed our rituals to ensure we’re battling bugs and re-engaging the body and mind post-lurgy. Here’s our tips to ensure you’re all fighting fit during your Struggle sportive training.
With training camps, sportives and road races just around the corner, we’re munching up the miles in preparation for our debut events. With the added stress of winter training, alongside severe weather and dirty roads it’s important for all us cyclist to armour the immune system in the lead-up to the big sportive.
1. Keep it Clean
Practice good personal hygiene such as washing your hands regularly. At Struggle HQ we’re all armed with personal hand sanitisers, which we carry in our pockets and use when leaving cafe stops, bike shops and other public places.
2. Avoid Snotty Socials
If you know a friend or family member is ill, avoid them! Our cycling circle of friends are always quick to admit when they’re infected - and aren’t offended when we take a rain check. Likewise, if you do become ill, do everyone else a favour and stay home.
3. Vit Hit
Sportive training requires an optimal diet. Make an effort to eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg. But often it’s difficult to consume all the nutrients our bodies need from real foods. A great way to supplement your daily healthy menu is with added probiotics and Vitamin C and D3 in tablet form. Check out Struggle’s nutrition partner OTE Sports’ Health and Immune capsules.
4. Stress Less
Everyday work and life stresses suppress our immune system and make us prone to illness and infection. That’s why many professional athletes integrate mind - as well as body - exercises into their training plan to ensure they stay fit and healthy. Our fave' stress remedies are the meditation app Headspace, a bath after a long ride, feet up in front of the early season Classics, or a chill-out in one of our local coffee houses.
5. Max-out on Sleep
Sleep is the optimal way our bodies combat stress and strengthen our immune system. More importantly, sleep aids the body's adaptation after training. Ensure you get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
6. Don’t Suck Your Nipple!
Sportive training requires long, winter rides in wet, muddy conditions. Drinking from a bottle covered in germ-filled road spray is a recipe for illness. That said, it’s important to stay hydrated for a fully operational immune system. Squirt the contents of your bottle into your mouth rather than touching the nipple to your lips. (No puns intended).
7. Insulate Your Core
Protect the body from illness by ensuring you keep your core temperature up while out on a long ride. Layer up and wear a gilet to keep the Arctic wind off your chest. Here at Struggle HQ we love a cafe ride, but we never stop when it’s raining to avoid getting cold when sat with wet clothes. If it's forecast for rain, take a little extra food. Munch an OTE bar or down a gel and keep riding.
8. Recover from your Ride
After a long sportive training ride your body’s immune system will be suppressed and this is when you’re most prone to catching a cold. Ensure you practice good recovery techniques - as standard. Eat protein 20 minutes after your ride, coupled with carbohydrate to replenish your glycogen stores, and rehydrate.
9. Accept Illness
Sore throat, sneezy, aching? These are sure signs you’re getting ill. It’s important not to ignore these alerts and continue to train. Stay off the bike until you have fully recovered. A week without riding is better than a month in bed. It can be mentally tough to do so - especially when your sportive is imminent - but training through illness will just dig you into a deeper hole and you’ll struggle to regain fitness.