Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cycling Nutrition

If you started your Annual Training Plan (ATP) in Nov-Dec, like I did, you'll be leaving the Base Phase of Training and entering the Build Phase.   The Build Phase, according to Friel, is where you develop greater anaerobic endurance fitness with intervals and sprints while refining muscular endurance and power.  What does that mean?  That means more VO2max and Anaerobic interval workouts and longer Lactate Threshold workouts.  That also means HILLS...HILLS...and MORE HILLS to start developing Power in those legs.  Remember all that strength training and speed drills you did on the bike and at the gym from Nov-Jan?  Now's the time to turn that Force/Strength (and Speed) into Power on the bike.  It's the Power that makes you go faster on the bike  (Power=Force x Speed). 

Never is/was Nutrition more important than now.  I never realized how important nutrition was for an endurance athlete until now.  Why?  I just completed a course in Sports Nutrition (as part of my USA Cycling CEU Coaching requirements) and figured I'd share some of that info with you and try to summarize it in a single chart (see below).

The reason Nutrition is so important NOW is because your body is going to need premium fuel to run that high-performance motor of yours- at the higher intensities that you're going to be running it during the Build Phase.  You feed poor fuel (nutrition) into that tank/motor of yours and you're NOT going to last during your workouts.  Even if you do last, you're not going to be maximizing the Power Output you would if you put premium fuel (nutrition) in the tank.  Remember: your body (muscle in particular) adapts, and gets stronger, based on the stress/load you impose on it.  If you're only able to produce say 300w for 5 min. intervals (with improper fuel/nutrition) during training instead of 350w, then your muscles are only going to adapt to the lessor power output.  Proper Nutrition (including Vitamin and Mineral supplements) will also boost your immune system and help you ward off all of those cold viruses, flus, etc. that are running rampant in the office.  I swear some offices that I've visited on travel recently made me feel like I was in a huge petri dish of a Bio Lab.  Nothing but sneezing, hacking, coughing, sick people.  BLEH!  And, trust me, the last thing you want to do right now is catch a cold/flu that is going to sideline your training for a week or two.

Proper Carbohydrate intake is necessary to resynthesize glycogen used during exercise before the next training period begins.  This is NOT the time of the year to be going on an Atkins (low-Carb) diet.  (More on that in a future blog).  In addition to the correct amount of Carbs needed, timing of Carb intake is important.  Proper Protein intake, Fat intake, Vitamin and Mineral supplementation, and Water also play an important role in the body.  Lets face it, we're just not getting the proper nutrients from "processed" foods we eat these days.    

BTW, just because you're entering the Build Phase does NOT mean that your strength training days in the gym are over.  It just means that instead of working out resistance training and working core muscles 3 days a week, you can limit them to 1-2 days per week.  Oh, and don't forget to get proper're going to need it with the tougher workouts around the corner.

Power ON! Coach Rob

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