6 Steps to Ride Strong Through a Long Endurance Training Block
A long endurance training block can be massively beneficial for cyclists of all levels, if you execute them correctly. Too many riders ruin their back-to-back rides by going too hard, under-fueling, and making other silly mistakes
The key to riding strong day-after-day is avoiding mistakes that will hurt your performance. Everything you do before, during, and after a long ride today affects performance tomorrow. As the days pile up they amplify the effects of small mistakes early on, leading to dramatically diminished performance in later days.
Here are a few things you can do the day of a big ride to have an even better ride the next day.
1- Eat and drink in the final hour of Day 1
Many cyclists eat and drink less in the final hour of their rides because they figure they’ll be home soon and don’t need those calories to ride the last 10 miles. That’s true, but during a big endurance training block, you’re not eating for those 10 miles. In the last hour you are eating to get a head start on the recovery process. When you ration food and fluids toward the end of a ride, all you are doing is digging a deeper hole to climb out of.
2- Make sure to eat enough carbohydrate
Over the past several years I’ve noticed cyclists shifting away from big carbohydrate-heavy post-ride meals. That’s not a bad thing, especially because they’ve been shifting toward smaller post-ride meals and more carbohydrate from fruit and vegetables than processed grains in their overall diets. In the long run those are great changes, but when you want to perform well during consecutive days of an endurance training block, it’s time to find concentrated carbohydrate sources.
To have a great Day 2, 3, and 4 on the bike it’s important to consume adequate calories and sufficient carbohydrate. If you ride in the morning, plan for a post-ride lunch and dinner that both feature lean protein and a concentrated carbohydrate source like pasta, rice, potatoes, or quinoa in addition to fruits and vegetables. To optimize recovery it is best to spread your protein intake across the entire day, rather than focusing it on meal. Big back-to-back days are also a time when protein shakes and/or recovery drinks can be more valuable.
3- Take a Nap
Short naps can be very beneficial. They have been shown to improve skill acquisition after you learn or practice something new. After a 20-minute nap people have improved cognitive performance, better reaction time, and greater focus and patience. (Read more on the recovery benefit of napping.) These are important effects because athletes who are dead on their feet make poor decisions during the rest of the day, like forgetting to hydrate and making bad food choices.
The above is a short excerpt from the full CTS TrainRight article, to read the full article, please visit: https://trainright.com/ride-strong-back-to-back-long-endurance-training-block
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