It doesn’t matter what kind of bicycle ride you will be going on – a training one or a real marathon, – you need to be ready for it in all senses. Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of doing sports right, so here is how to eat for a long bicycle ride.
The Day Before the Ride
The day before the ride is just as important as the day of the ride, so you need to start preparing beforehand. Eat as you would usually but focus specifically on hydration. You need to get hydrated properly early on instead of trying to catch up in the morning when it’s too late already.
If you have an event prior to your bicycle ride, don’t eat fast food or service food. Instead, pack your own healthy meal with sandwiches, fruits, and unsalted nuts. If you aren’t planning to stay home, make sure that wherever you are going to eat has a healthy menu.
In the evening, don’t eat too late so that you get enough sleep (eating late can impact your sleep). Preferably, eat before 7 p.m. Don’t eat heavy red meat or foods that are particularly hard to digest and don’t get too many carbohydrates. You can still eat chicken and fish though as well some carbohydrates like rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.
Your aim is not to overload yourself with food. If you want to have some alcohol (e.g. a glass of wine, a pint of beer), you can have it as long as it helps you relax. Alternatively, you can get a hot drink to soothe your nerves.
The Morning of the Ride Day
The morning of the ride day is extremely important because that’s when you do the most preparations. Try to have your breakfast 1.5-2 hours before your ride, so probably at around 7-8 a.m. considering that most rides are set quite early during the day.
If you know that the terrain will be fairly smooth at the beginning, then you can have your breakfast even 1 hour before the ride. When it comes to food, you can get some porridge, eggs, perhaps even a coffee which is often an essential attribute of any cyclist. Nevertheless, remember to drink some water too to stay hydrated.
Then, at around 9 o’clock when your ride begins (or later depending on your situation), start out at a pace that you can keep up with. You should make it not too fast and not too slow at the same time. You want your body to be able to digest and actually start using up the energy you are feeding it with.
While riding, sip your water regularly to consume around 500-1000 ml of fluid every hour which can vary based on your physical build. You can also set an alarm for yourself in order not to forget to drink regularly.
As for food, you need to start consuming carbohydrates early into the ride. You can eat your first portion after 30 minutes considering that you need around 500-1000 mg of carbs per kg of your body weight every hour. Divide that into 2-3 “meals” every 20-30 minutes.
You can also use some sports drinks or gels, but make sure that you get some real food too. Ultimately, it comes down to your own preferences, so mix the two and see what kind of food works better for you but remember that your body might not be able to digest real food later on in the ride.
Before Noon of the Ride Day
It is important to remember that you need to do as much research about the path that you will be riding through as possible. If it’s somewhere abroad, you could use best writing service websites to help you find as much information as possible.
By the end of the first hour, you will have had 2-3 meals and finished your first bottle. By the end of the second hour, you might come across a food place like a café or a feed station. If you decide to buy something there, make sure that it fits into your food schedule. You will burn off most of what you eat, but you should still make sure you’re doing fine.
In addition to that, you need to repeat your fueling technique throughout the whole ride. Don’t neglect your meals even closer to the end of the ride, because those few calories might be the ones that will help you with those last several kilometers.
After Noon of the Ride Day
If you did everything right, you will be hungry by the end of the ride, but not hungry to the point when you are dying to eat something. It’s good to have a recovery drink based on proteins or carbohydrates that will help you get energized while you are taking a shower and getting dressed after the ride.
It’s important not to overeat, and it would actually be ideal if you could get your food in the 20 minutes after your ride is over – and then you could skip the recovery drink. Just keep in mind that once the ride is over, your eating schedule is not.
After some time, you might feel hungry again. This usually happens if you interrupted your schedule at some point. The next time you go on a ride, change your schedule a bit to make sure that such sudden hunger doesn’t happen again.
The Evening of the Ride Day
At around 7 o’clock in the evening, you can begin your evening routine. Unless this is a very special occasion (such as your last event of the year), don’t simply relax and eat a ton during the dinner.
Instead, continue eating like you usually do with an appropriately-sized meal. Anti-inflammatory foods and foods that help your recovery will be perfect. Include some oily fish, broccoli, spiced potatoes, and maybe even some berries for dessert.
All in all, it is extremely important to know how to properly eat before, during, and after the bicycle ride in order to stay in good shape. Follow the advice in this article and you will definitely do everything right.