Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Importance of Fuel and Hydration

Image from Dales Road to Kona
I received a phone call from Papa Millie  this morning (that would be my dad)...  and he tells me "so, did I tell you that I did 25 miles on my bike yesterday?"  He proceeds to tell me that his goal is a hundred miles a week, so he's been trying to reach longer and longer workouts. Now for those of you who aren't in Chicago, you probably don't know that yesterday's temperatures made it well into the upper 90s yesterday with insane amounts of humidty. Why do I tell you this?  Read on...

So, Papa Millie says  "yeah, so I was fourteen miles in and I was so dizzy I was afraid I was going to pass out mid ride.  I actually decided to turn around and actually considered calling a friend of mine to come and pick me up".  My first question "what did you eat before you rode?"  His response "Nothing....  I mean I had breakfast in the morning,  but I didn't eat anything before I went out.  I was more concerned with getting my ride in before the Thunderstorms came in"  OyVey.  Then, he goes further to inform me that he ran out of water somewhere around mile eight and he was going to stop at the McDonald's but decided he could make it home.  Double oyvey.

When training, planning a long workout, or just taxing your body in general -  you ALWAYS need a fuel source.  Remember what happened to me when I worked out with Brutus a few weeks ago?  I got weak and almost passed out...why?  Because my body was on EMPTY.    Before I go into suggestions for long bike rides, lets touch on the basics.

Before a long workout you must eat something.  Even if its a protein shake with some peanut butter in it,  a peanut butter and banana sandwich (my personal favorite)  some eggs, tuna etc.  Whatever the choice, you need a protein with a carb.

Now in addition to eating before you leave-  never leave home without at least 2 bottles of water (even if you don't end up needing both, its always good to be prepared)  some form of electrolyte replacement (especially on a hot day, coupled with a physically taxing ride).  These can come in the form of GU (which is kind of gross)  Electrolyte powders which you can add into water (or if you're really in a pinch you can grab a Gatorade at the gas station)  or  my favorite  Clif Shot Blocks Energy Chews  

Now depending on how long your bike ride Active.Com  suggests 16 to 32 oounces of fluid per hour  and 30 - 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (thats 1 to 2 shot blocks)  and when its hot-  be sure you are keeping HYRATED!  Remember by the time you are thirsty you are already in the process of dehydration!

And some people (Papa Millie)  shouldn't be riding their bikes when the sun is at it's highest, on the hottest day in Chicago so far.


oh_mg said...

I was running down by the lake today and it was absolutely brutal - so hazy and humid, you could barely see the skyline! I made sure to drink lots of water, but I'd like to look into buying some of those shot blocks too - I tried them at the Shamrock Shuffle pre-race expo and they weren't bad, and since this is my first summer as a runner, I'm always on the lookout for things for my workout arsenal! ♥