Saturday, March 13, 2010

Training for RAAM - Nutrition

In the ultra-cycling community, there are endless conversations about nutrition. What works best varies from person to person and from situation to situation. But I want to take a different tack. I want to talk about nutrition off the bike.

For the last couple weeks, I haven't felt good on the bike. I've mentioned it to JV (my coach), citing difficulty completing workouts and difficulty staying in the higher power zones. About a week ago, JV suggested more protein. It didn't solve any problems. On the way back from my ride last Saturday, JV calls and confirms that my intuition was data shows that I am not making any progress.

Often, good training is about finding your limiters, and working around them. During that conversation, we found another limiter. Pure and simple, I'm not eating enough. As we came to this revelation, my first thought was "of course, I'm trying to lose weight." But, in addition to feeling awful on the bike, I wasn't really losing much weight! Basically, I was "starving" myself, and my body had shut down. I wasn't able to produce any power and my body was conserving everything it had to stay functional.

So, the solution was simple...go eat! I've doubled my caloric intake and feel MUCH better on and off the bike. I'm also nailing the workouts better. We will check out the numbers in another week to see if they back up my intuition.

So, why am I bringing this up? Sometimes the limiters to your training can be so obvious and in-your-face, that you completely miss them! How could I possibly think that consuming 2500 calories per day would be effective while training at a high intensity? It's obvious now, but for some reason, I just didn't see it!

So, as you continue to pursue your goals, athletic or otherwise, make sure to take the time to examine the obvious limiters. What's holding you back could be right in front of your nose!

Ride safe!

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