You may have the best cycle that money can buy. You may also have been training to such an extent that you’re set to rival a pro. You’ve invested in all of the top gear that you can get your hands-on, and you’re all set for the longest ride of your life. Or so you think!
What many cyclists neglect when it comes to their preparation for a long ride is the food that they eat. Knowing what to eat before a long bike ride is critical for our bodies to keep going, your muscles need fuel in the form of glycogen.
It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve trained. You can only sustain your levels of glycogen for around 2 hours. Get the right foods inside you though, and you can keep on going.
What to eat before a long bike ride:
What to eat the night before a long bike ride
You will have probably had your long ride planned out for some time. You’ll know where you’re going, and you’ll know how long it should take, but have you planned your last supper? The night before a long ride, you need to be cramming your body full of carbs. This is an excuse to eat, eat, and eat some more.
You can get these all-important carbs from the likes of:
These carbs will help your body make the best use of glycogen. This means that your muscles are fuelled for that bit longer and you can go further while you ride.
Breakfast fit for a prince
We’ve skipped dining like a pauper in the evening, but to be all set for that long ride, we’re going to be feasting like a prince for breakfast.
Cycling burns through calories which is great if you’re trying to lose weight. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to maintain energy levels for a long ride, this isn’t quite so good. You can easily be burning through 40 calories a mile while riding.
Fortunately, the motion needed to cycle isn’t the same as running. You can still eat without causing comfort issues with your stomach. Stock up on scrambled eggs, omelettes, and bananas. Anything that adds protein and fat will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Fluids matter too
We all know how important fluids are to our bodies, but that doesn’t always mean that we consider this when planning a long ride.
The day before the ride we need to be hydrating our bodies. If we don’t then we are already on a back foot and are likely to be struggling a few miles in.
During the ride itself, we should be drinking enough to satisfy our thirst. No matter how well we have done, we are going to end the ride being dehydrated! This means that it is time to hydrate our bodies again to aid recovery.
Eat to recover
If we’ve got through the long ride then we’ve certainly a lot to be proud of. A long ride is one heck of an achievement. The thing is though, our bodies won’t necessarily thank us for it tomorrow.
The moment you hop off your bike, you need to be looking for carbs again. Carbs will help again where glycogen comes in and help your muscles to recover.