On Sunday, 19 November thousands of cyclists will take to the streets of Johannesburg at the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg Cycle Race. A few hundred of those enthusiastic riders are there in full support of the Reach for a Dream Foundation.
FitPro will be there to cheer them on and offer much-needed sports massage and stretching services at the Reach for a Dream hospitality tent. Our qualified fitness professionals are eager to help these athletes recover from their grueling race and celebrate their accomplishments.
With all your training hopefully locked and loaded, we would like to offer you some tips in the final preparations before the race.
Some hydration tips:
Hydration is something that can’t suddenly be loaded on race day. Ensure you are adequately hydrating at least 7-10 days before the race. There is no set volume of water that is the rule for everyone. The guidelines are simply to drink when thirsty and to choose water before sugar or caffeinated drinks. Adequate hydration levels can be gauged by the light or transparent colour of your urine. Just remember that if you are on vitamins or medications, it may alter your urines colour as well.
On race day, ensure you drink 3-4 (750ml-1l) cups of water about 3 hours before the race. This water load will stimulate gut absorption which you need during the race. Avoid all alcohol and drinks that are excessively high in sugar or caffeine. A good double espresso combined with the correct pre-race food is the most gut-friendly option.
During the race, keep drinking. A low sugar and sodium solution mixed with water is great to carry you through the race. Most sports drinks are correctly mixed so choose one that you are familiar with, and you know you like. Try to choose one that has some sodium or electrolytes in it; and not sports drink that only contain sugar.
Pre-race meal tips:
Nerves, jitters and of course the travelling stress can make pre-race a race on its own. Plan what you want to eat on the morning and make sure you are prepared.
What do you need? A good quantity of carbohydrates combined with some protein, fats and salts.
Carbohydrate options is firstly food that you are comfortable and familiar with. Oats is always a great option because it is low in fibres but high in great carbs. Don’t be shy – have a good portion with some milk if you like it. And a bit of syrup or honey can be sprinkled on for taste. Alternative options are low-fibre porridges/ cereals, or your can have white or brown toast with butter or jams.
Proteins allows for you to avoid that empty/ hungry feeling while on the bike. Boiled eggs or a protein shake mixed with your oats are both good options. Again, only use a protein shake that you are familiar with and ensure it is high (>25%) in isolate-whey protein.
Another recommended option is bacon. Bacon provides fat and protein – both to help avoid the hunger binge on the bike. But it is also high in salts. Salts are a great way to avoid cramping during the ride especially when the sun meets you in its full heat-glory.
A combination breakfast is the key. And have it with a good coffee- double espresso here we come! You want to eat it about 2 hours before the race. That 1 hour before your race starts, you want to snack on the energy bars, dates or even biscuits are ok.
Get to FitPro for a good stretch and massage!
But before that, start hydrating with water and a chocolate steri-stumpie. Then get to real food. Whether your first choice is a salad or a hamburger – you want to eat real food within 30-45 minutes post the finish line. The only alternative is a high combination supplement such as meal-replacement shakes. If you do choose the shake option, mix it with full cream milk, not water. The full cream milk assists in fast recovery.
Once you have rewarded your body with some good food and water for recovery, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the hospitality.