week our question goes to Namrita O'Dea. A licensed dietician and member of the
Topeak/Ergon racing team, O'Dea helps riders fine tune their bodies for maximum
performance through her business 55 Nine Performance
Question: In a race of 6-8 hours should I be
following a system for eating. How often should I eat? How many calories should
I get? When should I be taking solids vs gels vs liquids.
Answer: First, make sure you are well hydrated and
have full glycogen stores before even getting to the start line of an endurance
race. Depending on your pace, you'll want to aim for approximately
200-250 calories per hour during the event. The more intense your pace,
the more carbohydrates you'll be burning.
As for form of
delivery, there is no difference seen between gels and liquids when it comes to
your body being able to use them for energy. If you are using gels,
you'll want to wash them down with water or a sports drink. Because you
want to be taking in some calories every 20 minutes or so, a
carbohydrate-electrolyte drink is usually the most convenient way to get the
energy. You can then use the gels as a supplement to the liquid calories.
If you do take
in solid food during the event keep in mind that it may take longer to digest
and absorb the solids. For that reason, choose bars or other foods that
are low in fat and low in fiber.