Fuelng for Long Rides

12 03 2014

If you’ve seen my weekly workout recaps, you’ll notice that I’ve been putting in a lot of time on the saddle. This year, particularly in the early season, the XP crew is working on getting in some miles on the bike so that we head in to Ironman training strong.When you’re riding that much, you get time to start playing around with your nutrition plan.

One of my goals for 2014 is to really master my nutrition on the bike. I know how crucial this will be in November when I’m biking for 112 miles before I stumble off and then go run a marathon.

IMG_4147(will I be that happy when I start the run of my Ironman? Doubtful)

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I definitely struggle with headaches caused by electrolyte imbalance during/after hard workouts or races. Salt tabs have typically been what’s worked for me, taking them at regular intervals while on long rides or runs; however, there’s definitely been times where I’m so focused on moving my feet that I forget to take them. So, I wanted to come up with some kind of plan that allowed me to only take salt if it was really hot and needed it as a last resort, rather than needing to take it on a regular schedule.

drinking cokeCoke is also good perfect after a long ride.

The caveat here is that it hasn’t been super hot here yet- I’m really interested to see how this plan works through the heat of summer. But so far, this is what’s been working for me:

Several hours pre-ride: We typically don’t ride until late morning, so I have plenty of time to get up and make myself some pancakes. I don’t have a go-to, just whatever flavor combination that comes to my head, but it typically has yogurt in it.

Just before we start:

Depending on how long has passed since I’ve eaten breakfast, if I feel like I’m just starting to get hungry, I’ll eat a Feedzone Rice Cake. My favorite has been Allen’s Rice Cakes. We call them “breakfast sushi”.

Allen's Rice Cake

During ride:

Every 45 minutes to an hour I’ll eat a rice cake or some other “portable”. Allen’s rice cakes have approximately 225 calories in them. The first time I ate a rice cake on a ride I thought it was so weird that I was eating “real food” while cycling. I was afraid I’d get an upset tummy, especially because those rice cakes have bacon in them, but they’ve worked tremendously well. I LOVE having real food now, and now I only bring a bag of gummies as back up.

Bacon muffin(bacon chocolate chip muffins anyone?)

As far as fluids go, I’ve made the switch to Osmo, and let me tell you friends that I am hooked! I first heard about this awesome hydration product system through Katie, and after exchanging a few emails about it, I decided to take the plunge and I haven’t looked back since. I love that it is specially formulated for a woman’s physiology! #womenarenotsmallmen (Learn more about the science behind it here.) The flavor of the Active Hydration is great- the mango flavor is light and refreshing. It’s not too sweet and not too salty. It’s not made to be concentrated, so I’ve been following the mixing instructions to a T. It’s also not meant to be a source of calories- which is why I’m eating real food! I typically go through one of my bike bladders (20 oz I think) and then my 24 oz bottle over the course of a 2-3 hour ride. I actually think I should be drinking a bit more…

Osmo Nutrition(Osmo offers three products for women: PreLoad, Active, and Recovery. I’ve used the Pre-Load once or twice, when I knew it would be hot and we’d be going long. I don’t feel like I can give a full report on it just yet, but what I can say is that at first, I did NOT like the taste. It’s starting to grow on me, and it is most certainly better as cold as you can make it. I’ll give a full report once I’m using it more frequently when summer hits.)

Post Ride: As soon as I get home from the ride I make myself the Osmo Recovery. If you like horchata, this is a great drink for you. (Unless of course you consider yourself a horchata snob, you might find this to be too powdery.) The flavor is great mixed with rice milk (or any kind of milk and/or water), and it’s also light enough that you could blend it into a smoothie with just about anything in it. I’m a big fan of this mix. It’s got protein and glucose, and helps to:

  • Promote Muscle Synthesis
  • Reduce Hormonal Influences on Recovery
  • Optimize Training Adaptations

Since I’ve been using Osmo Recovery, I’ve definitely been capable of riding long on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as comfortably add on a run too.

Based on my performance so far this season (in training), I’d say that I’m definitely on the right track in terms of food and fluid intake during and after workouts. So far (knock on wood) I haven’t had a dehydration headache! Weather will certainly be a factor, so as temperatures rise, I’ll need to adjust as necessary. But, right now, this is what is working for me, and I’m going with it. Real food + women-specific hydration has been my key so far!

Question of the day: How do you fuel for a long ride or run?

**Please not that I’m NOT a nutritionist, I have NO degrees in any of this. I’m just sharing what has been working for me!

Heat Headaches?

19 04 2012

Last weekend, I packed up these guys:


And headed to Orlando to hang out with Bill 🙂

Shortly after I arrived on Friday night, we went for a run. Usually I take Fridays as my rest day, but since I did something fun on Tuesday night and didn’t get a workout in, I counted Tuesday as my rest day. We went on our usual 4-mile loop, and man, Bill made me work.

4 miles at 8:02 average? I’ll take that!

I also had a long run planned for the weekend too, and was hoping Bill would be up for running some of it with me. Thankfully, since I’m tapering (WAHHOOO!!), I “only” had 12 miles to run. We had talked about strategy for doing the run, and we were originally going to run 8, then Bill was going to grab his bike and ride the last four with me. He isn’t training for a marathon, so he typically doesn’t go for a 12 mile run on the weekends.

We geared up, and hit the road.

We got a little bit of a late start for the Florida heat (and by “little” I mean we started around noon).  But there was some cloud cover and I figured my body needs to learn to train in the heat anyhow.

We hadn’t really mapped a route, but we had a general idea of where we needed to turn around for the 8 mile loop to head home. When we were almost to where I thought the turnaround for the 8 mile loop would be, I looked at my watch and realized we were only a little over 3 miles in. I told Bill, and he said he was feeling good so we should just keep running to Lake Eola. I had mapped out how far it was to Lake Eola, and it was 6.5 miles. Bill was going to do the whole thing with me!

The way to Lake Eola wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t feeling super, but Bill kept encouraging me along the way. When we got to the Lake, there was an art festival going on with TONS OF PEOPLE. We dodged and weaved through some of it, and then I told Bill that we needed to get out of here. He joked and said it was practice running through the crowds at a busy race:-)

At about mile 7, we stopped at 7-11 to grab some Gatorade and headed back home. I was feeling ok, but the last two miles felt like forever. I had to stop and walk some; the heat was getting to me! As soon as my watch beeped at the 12 mile mark, I stopped running and switched to a walk, even though we weren’t quite home yet. I was SO over running at that point.

I can’t believe I have to do that twice, plus another 2.2 miles IN TWO WEEKS! Marathon day is so close!

I peeked at our splits when I got home on Sunday night, and they were actually pretty decent:

I’m so proud of Bill for sticking out the 12 miles with me. He was doing GREAT the whole way and was the only reason I kept going. I’m pretty sure that was his PDR (Personal Distance Record); he’ll be upping his mileage soon enough though, when we start training for our Half Ironman!

After the run, we refueled at Garabaldi’s. Unfortunately, we didn’t think it was quite as good as last time, but it was still tasty.

A bean burrito and cheese enchilada. Rice and veggies too, smothered in cheese sauce. Mmm cheesy!

We got home after filling our bellies, and promptly took a nap on the couch. I was starting to feel a headache coming on, and I hoped a nap would squash it. I should have known better though…

Let me back up.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that when I do strenuous exercise in the heat, I will often get a pretty bad headache afterwards.  Last triathlon season, I remember coming home from almost all of my triathlons and developing a headache shortly thereafter. I never thought too much about it; I just took a few ibuprofen and then took a nap. But at Rockett’s Landing, my head started to pound not long after finishing the race. I was still hanging out near the finish line, so I asked one of the medics for some ibuprofen. He didn’t have any, but after asking me what was wrong, he told me I was probably dehydrated and he gave me a few salt tabs. I wondered how that could be, since I drank plenty of water and gatorade during the race. And, after going to the bathroom, it certainly didn’t appear I was dehydrated (if ya know what I’m sayin…). I took the pills, and figured he probably knew what he was talking about.

And you know what? It helped! I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with only a slight headache, instead of a pounding, I-only-want-to-lay-in-bed-and-sleep headache. From that day on, I was on a mission to find salt tabs. I also decided to investigate Accelerade and AccelGels, since they contain more sodium than Gatorade and Gus.

For my late season races last year, I tried to take either Salt Stick or Endurolytes right after racing. If I remember correctly, I didn’t get headaches after any other race last season.

This year, as I train in Florida for my marathon and will soon be training for my tris, I have again been plagued by headaches after working out. Even one night after a hard swimming practice I developed a headache! I know I haven’t been really strict about watching my nutrition, but I have been taking AccelGels during and Salt Tabs after my longer runs but still get headaches.

During my 20 miler I drank an Accelerade sample I bought at a running store (I wanted to try it out before buying a huge tub of the stuff), had a few Gus and Accel Gels, and took salt tabs afterwards and I didn’t get a headache. It also wasn’t blazin’ hot that weekend either…

After doing some research, I think the headaches are caused by an electrolyte imbalance. I think I just sweat a lot, which throws off the balance of salt and water in my system. I need to be sure that I’m replacing my electrolytes before, during and after exercise. I’m no expert, so please, if you know more, tell me!

As I write this post, I’m really thinking I need to pay even closer attention to my nutrition whenever I workout. Earlier this week,  I placed an order for Accelerade and ordered some more AccelGels as well. I also have a canister of salt tabs. Is there anything I’m missing?

Now that I’m a Florida gal, I’ve got to learn how to hydrate my body properly when I do strenuous activity. Drinking only water  does not work for me! I certainly don’t want to get headaches every time I do a tough workout.

So- has anyone else experienced anything similar? Does anyone have suggestions for how I should figure out what works best (besides just experimenting?)

{Guest Post} Group Cycling (Part 1)

8 09 2011

Are you dried out yet? While we were experiencing rain ALL DAY LONG yesterday, Chloe was experiencing a different kind of rain. She was south of the equator, exploring the rainforests of Brazil. Yes, I said Brazil. I’m slightly incredibly jealous, but I’m sure she’ll have some exciting stories and pictures for when she returns! In the meantime, we’ve got a guest post lined up for you from yet another world traveler. Courtney, from Passionate 4 Life, is currently in Beijing, and will be competing in the ITU World Championships this weekend. Pretty impressive, right? Her post is in two parts, so stay tuned for the second half!

Hello 321 Delish readers! My name is Courtney and my blog Passionate 4 Life talks about racing experiences and different things I’ve learned as a triathlete the past five years and as a competitive swimmer for ten years.

My first experience cycling with a group in 2007 was slightly embarrassing. Aside from my goofy attempt to recreate a cycling outfit, I had no clue what I was doing. This was maybe my second or third time out on the road. A friend invited me to join a smaller weekday ride that went 25 miles at a pretty decent pace. At the major turn my Dasani water bottle flew out of the holder causing the group to swerve and call out “Bottle!”. I lasted about 10 miles before getting dropped and was determined to master riding with a group.


Source                                 Source

After getting a proper water bottle and talking to a few experienced cyclists, I was ready to try again. No safety mishaps the next time but I got dropped again before the 20 mile mark. Third try was a charm and I held on the entire ride and loved every minute of the socializing, advice, and challenge of riding with a group. Check out How to look like a Pro from Cycling Tips.

So, why should you ride with a group? It’s a way to meet new cyclists and triathletes. Time flies by on a 40 mile ride. Drafting allows you to ride at a much faster speed. Learn new routes. It’s fun!

So here’s some of the advice I’ve learned along the way through experience and talking to other people.

How to find a group

1. Search online using terms like “tampa cycling club”, “tampa triathlon club”, “tampa group rides”, “tampa bike groups”, etc.

2. Check out local bike shops by checking out their website and calling. Ask about group ride schedules.

3. Talk to other cyclists. Some of this information isn’t online and the only way to find out is through networking. It’s great community and usually cyclists are eager to point you in the direction of a group ride that will fit your needs.

How to decide the group is right for you

1. Determine the route, distance, and speed. Most cycling clubs will have this information posted online. If you are talking to a cycling friend or a bike shop, simply ask. “Where does the group ride?”, “How far is the route and are there alternative distances?” “What’s the average speed?”. If there’s a map, then print it out or have somebody draw it for you.

2. Determine if the ride is “newbie” friendly. Look for phrases like “No-drop ride” or “All cyclists welcome”. You may be an experienced solo rider but your first group ride should be a safe and comfortable experience.

3. Determine the level you are riding at because many rides will have different groups. Generally, the “A group” will be a fast drop ride. The average speed is 22-28 mph and the group won’t slow down or wait for you to catch up if you fall off the pack. These rides are fast and fun but not good for your first time with a group…no matter how strong of a rider you are. The “B group” is usually a little slower and no-drop with an average speed of 19-24 mph, while the “C group” is a little slower 16-19 mph average and they will slow down or wait for you to stay with the group….meaning they are no-drop. The C group is ideal for a first time group rider.

Come back on Monday for some tips on what to do before and during the ride!