Nutrition: Advice For Multi-day Events

A multi-day event could be two back to back races, sportives or just a hard block of training such as a training camp or a cycling holiday. Whatever the type of multi-day challenge, there is one thing that should be at the forefront of your mind if you want to get the most out of the experience... Nutrition.

I have several multi-day events coming up this year myself; including stage races, training camps and touring trips. This post gives some advice on products and eating plans that I have used, which have proven effective at helping to recover after a hard day on the bike, ready to make an assault on the next day in the best condition possible.

In chronological order...

Before the event
The recovery process starts long before you saddle up to ride. If this is the second day of a multi-day event, then your body has been recovering overnight from the previous day's exertions as you sleep. However, by the morning it will likely have run down the supplies of nutrients needed to carry out this rejuvenation, so it is vital to replenish your stores.

A breakfast before any event will normally consist of a low-GI oat based cereal such as porridge or oat granola, which will provide slow release energy throughout the morning. However, to add an extra recovery element, consider also having a protein bar, or mixing a scoop of protein powder into your porridge to boost your protein intake (the key nutrient for recovery).

I have been testing the High5 Recovery range over the last month or so. I have found it very easy to eat and easy on the stomach, even consuming it throughout the day; this makes it ideal for multi-day events (the last thing you want is a churning stomach). 

The High5 Protein Bar is a great snack sized protein boost, ideal for pre-event protein boosting. My favourite flavour has to be Double Chocolate, but if breakfast time is a bit early for double chocolate in your diet, then the chocolate covered Vanilla/Banana one is equally as tasty. They both have a great taste and texture, so munch one down and you'll feel the benefits later in the day.

During the event
Your preparation in the morning has hopefully fuelled you up and you're now ready to saddle up again. The nutrition products that you use on the bike also have a big effect on the recovery path though, with the primary message again being to supplement your carbohydrate intake with some protein. 

There is a dead easy and effective way of doing this, with new 4:1 Carb:Protein drinks and bars. The High5 4:1 range consists of bars and a drink that are tailored for athletes doing endurance events and multi-day events, where good recovery is paramount. 

The High5 4:1 Energy Drink is one of the best of these types of drinks that I have tried. Often the inclusion of whey protein in the mix causes the drink to have an odd texture and feel "gloopy"; however the High5 4:1 tastes practically identical to their normal energy drink, making it easy to drink during exercise. 

The inclusion of whey in the drink's mix is the recovery building block; with the theory that just a small amount of protein during endurance based exercise will help your muscles to start repairing and recovering, even whilst you race or train. I have indeed found that although there seems little difference on a single day event, if you have to get up and ride the next morning then your legs feel fresher and better if you used a carbohydrate-protein mix during the ride the day before. 

To complement the 4:1 drinks there are also 4:1 Training Bars. These are similarly very palatable in comparison to the competition, the Cranberry flavouring is easy to eat on the move and gives you 7 grams of quality protein to aid recovery. Combining both the 4:1 drinks and the bars during an endurance event will give you a complete nutrition strategy, with a significantly higher intake of protein throughout the day than you would receive if you consumed standard energy foods.

Post ride nutrition
You've done the hard work for the day, now it's time to refuel and recover, ready to do it all again tomorrow! What's the key? Again it's protein. Consider a High5 Protein Bar and/or a Protein Recovery Drink. The whey isolate will start repairing your muscles and get you back on form.

The High5 Protein Recovery is one of the best shakes I've tried, with the chocolate flavour being my favourite (the banana mix is also super tasty though). Mix either of them with some chilled semi-skimmed milk for a refreshing drink after a hot day out on the road.

In addition to getting protein and carbohydrate on board as soon as possible after exercise, it is also vital to rehydrate. Even in a cool climate it is hard to drink enough water to replenish that lost through perspiration and breathing. I normally pop a High5 Zero tablet in a pint of water and sip on it for the hour or so after an event; the bit of flavour encourages you to drink more, and the electrolytes in the tablet will help to reduce the chance of painful muscle cramps during the night and the following day.

As well as sports nutrition it is vital to continue to eat a well balanced diet during multi-day events. Yes, it should contain carbohydrates for fuel and protein for recovery; but it is also extremely important to keep your vitamin intake up with fresh fruit and veg, and to vary what you eat. Multi-day events are hard work for your body, so make sure your immune system is still going strong as well.

A combination of quality nutrition products that are easy on the stomach, as well as a good mix of fresh food, should ensure that your body is in peak condition to take on any multi-day challenge you would like to take part in during the 2014 season.


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