Training and Nutrition FAQs

Jason, keen to help cyclists achieve their goal






Getting your bike set up correctly


Make sure you drink enough



Eat Little and Often during the ride



Jason from Lifecyle runs through some common Sportive fitness FAQs

The sportive is only a few weeks away now, is it too late to do some training? No. Realistically itís never too late to do some training before an event like this and everything you do, will help on the day. Try the basic fitness boosting programmes on the sportive website here .

What sort of training should I be doing? A mix of strength training and cardio will work best to boost aerobic ability and endurance. Again, information is available here on potential plans for you.

I only have time for one exercise session a week, what should I do? The best thing to do for overall fitness for riding, is interval training. You need to make your training specific to get the most out of it. You need to be aware of your limits as these are increased with age and, if you havenít done them before, start easy and do what you can.

The Personal Training page of the website has some more details about this type of training. If in doubt, seek advice first.

I get back pain whilst on longer rides. What can I do? A professional bike fit is best but, failing that, you can do a simple DIY bike fit by following these guidelines from British Cycling .

The local cycling club - Sodbury Cycle Sportis full of experienced riders and they can advise on this too and point you in the direction of good bike fitters. A good bike fit is always money well spent. If the pains persist, it may be worth seeking medical advice from your GP or a physio. Itís also worth joining them for a fitness boosting ride or two before the event.

What is the best way to prepare for a sportive? There is a huge amount to cover and I simply cannot do it justice here. Fitness, post ride nutrition, route planning, on bike fuelling, bike maintenance and psychological tips are all essential for undertaking an event like this. There is a brief advice guide in Personal Training section on the Sportive website here .

What should I be eating before a ride like this to ensure Iím prepared? Nutrition pre-ride is very important and will help to set you up to ride well, maintain energy levels and avoid bonking (the ďtechnicalĒ term for running out of energy) and maintain concentration. Carb loading is an outdated concept so just eat your usual, healthy diet in the run up to the event and avoid the alcohol and too much caffeine both of which can dehydrate you. When I was doing triathlons I found the pre ride meal that worked best for me was a carefully weighed out portion of wholemeal pasta, salmon, broccoli and a little olive oil. Eaten cold, at least 2 hours before the event. Foods that are lower on the GI index are good as they release their energy slowly.Things like brown rice and peanuts. These may not be your ideal vision of breakfast so you may need to find what works for you. More information can be found here on the British Cycling website.

What should I be eating and drinking during the ride to keep energy levels up? The best thing to do is to have a fuelling strategy. This sounds complicated but in reality, it just means eating something little and often. Personally, every 30-40 minutes I take a bite of a 9 bar (nut and seed bars) or a SIS energy gel or blok sweets or, maybe a sweet hit like jelly babies or haribo. Believe it or not, the ingredients of haribo are almost identical to some much more expensive, scientifically developed energy sweets. Mix and match what you eat to ensure a mix of slow and fast release energy. You shouldnít eat too much during the ride, your body will not be in digesting mode so little and often is best. Hydration is important too and I could go on about both nutrition and hydration but water and an isotonic drink that replaces lost salts and minerals is important whilst you ride. You should aim to drink between 500ml to 1 litre per hour whilst on the bike but this depends on you and the atmospheric conditions. Eating and drinking like this revolutionised my experience on the bike. More info again, is available here .

What should I be eating and drinking after the ride to keep my energy up? It is very important is how you treat your body after the ride. The body will be protein hungry and will turn to your muscles for this if you donít feed it. This wonít help your next ride if you are actually eating your muscles away. An adult should be eating about 0.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day, many of us eat too much protein. After a ride or any demanding exercise, real food is best. A good, healthy, balanced meal containing carbs, minerals, vitamins and protein is ideal. I favour the more easily digested proteins such as fish, seafood, chicken or vegetarian alternatives such as quorn, lentils, quinoa and soy. Immediately after the ride, if it will be a while until you eat, a post ride recovery drink such as SIS Rego is ideal. This replaces, salts, vitamins, minerals, sugars and contains protein to save your muscles. It is only around 200 calories per helping so wonít ruin the diet and will keep you going until you can sit and eat properly. As ever, British Cycling provide great advice here . Hydration should continue in the little and often style with water and perhaps another isotonic drink if you are cramping or sweat particularly heavily.

What stretches should I be doing after the event to prevent muscle soreness?

Muscle soreness, if you havenít prepared or have over-extended yourself, is unavoidable. Itís known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. There is no easy way to overcome it once you have it but you can reduce the effects and recover faster if you stretch gently in the days after a big ride. (You should stretch anyway but thatís another story). Work on the glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads is ideal and you can find stretches for all these muscles groups on Youtube Iím sure. The local Physioís at Toll House Clinic will be there on the day and they can also advise which ones to do. I always favour using a foam roller as this can really help to remove waste products from the muscles and stretch the muscle sheaths and connective tissues, especially as I have many historical injury sites. British Cycling also offer advice here .

For more general advice and guidance about fitness and training have a look at the personal training section of the website or contact Life Cycle Personal Training directly here .

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