The Cape Town Cycle Tour countdown has begun! The focus of the next week is to get plenty of sleep and rest, taper your exercise and optimise your nutritional intake so that you start the race with your carbohydrate and fluid stores well stocked.
Carbohydrate-rich foods should dominate every plate of food 1-3 days before the race. So, eat less protein and limit your fat intake. To boost your carbohydrate intake between meals, make use of sports drinks, fruit juice, sports bars and jelly sweets.
- The pre-race breakfast
Eat a meal 1-2 hours prior to the race, focusing on carbohydrate-rich foods with a small amount of protein. The meal should be light and easy to digest, such as a cereal with low-fat milk or toast with cheese. If you don’t have an appetite in the morning, try a liquid meal such as a glass of Nestle Nutren Active or Ensure.
- Drink fluids with your pre-race meals and snacks
On your way to the race, top up your fluid stores with water or a carbohydrate drink. Aim to consume about 300-400ml immediately before the start of the race. This helps to prime the stomach and improve gastric emptying.
- Consume 30-60g carbohydrate per hour + fluid
By now your race strategies should be well rehearsed. Don’t try anything new on the day. Remember to start taking carbohydrates 30-45 minutes into the race and to drink according to thirst.
- Plan for a snack 30-40 minutes after the race
To assist with recovery, you should replenish your carbohydrate, fluid and electrolyte losses within 30-40 minutes after the race. A small amount of protein also needs to be included in the recovery snack. Some ideas are:- Drinking yoghurt, e.g. Yogisip (350ml)
– Small handful of lean biltong + energy bar
– Sandwich with cold meat/chicken + a fruit
– Handful of lean biltong + a hot-cross bun + water