Nutrition for Long Distance Cycling
One of the main things which draws people to cycling is the sense of adventure. When you are on your bike you can travel to just about anywhere, from short journeys and commutes to travelling a long distance to explore, the possibilities are endless. Short rides don’t normally require too much preparation beforehand, however if you are planning on going on a longer distance cycle, you would need to ensure that you are fully equipped with the right nutrition and amount of water to keep yourself fuelled. Therefore, within this article we are going to look into the best food and water prep which will see you through your long journey happily.
The most important meal of the day is your breakfast as it sets you up for the day. Therefore, when you are planning a long-distance journey which is going to require endurance, stamina and focus, it is vital that you prepare your body with the right nutrition to prepare yourself for the ride ahead. A great idea for a quick and easy breakfast is a slow-release meal like porridge. This will help keep you fuelled over time rather than giving you the boost of energy straight away to only have you crash not long into your journey as the carb stores become used up. So that you reap the benefits of the slow release, it is ideal that you consume your breakfast around 1hr 30 minutes before you head out.
As well as ensuring that you have the right breakfast, it is also a great idea to ensure that your last meal the night before is high in carbohydrates to help fuel your stores in the right way. Foods such as pasta, rice or potatoes are an excellent choice for a pre-ride meal the night before.
Food on the Go
While you are out on your cycle it is vital that you keep your carbohydrate stores fully fuelled to aid you on your journey. However, there is a limit to how many grams of carbs your body can absorb so it is recommended that you stick to no more than 60g an hour. This could be through high carb bars or gels or even a small meal such as a pastry which can easily be consumed while on the move.
Although it is crucial that you keep your body fuelled with carbohydrates on your cycle, it is also vital that you do not neglect your hydration. However, how you hydrate yourself could depend on the circumstances and conditions while you are outdoors.
For example if the weather is colder it is more important to keep your carbs up while not putting too much of an emphasis on drinking as you will be less likely to be sweating during the cycle, but you should still ensure that you are consuming water every now and then.. And for hotter days outdoors you may find that drinking your calories to be more effective as they will not only keep you hydrated and fuelled so shakes, gels and bars would be more ideal.
However, you may be tempted to try electrolyte tablets but these are only a source of hydration not energy so you would still need to consume an ample amount of carbs and calories to keep your body fuelled.
Allow Ample Recovery Time
As well as ensuring that you are eating and drinking enough to fuel your ride, you might also want to prep yourself for your recovery time too. During the periods before and after your cycle you can intake protein through shakes as these are a fantastic way to help your body recovery more effectively after a long cycle.
How Do You Keep Yourself Fuelled for Long Distance Rides?
Within this post we have explored the best preparation for before and during your long cycling journey in terms of nutrition and hydration. If you have found any points in this article helpful or have your own advice for long bike rides, let us know over on our social media channels. Don’t forget that you can also kit yourself out for your cycling adventures at our online store – Sports Fitness.
This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury