Last week I walked into a GNC and thought I was being so smart buying this endurance booster mix to spruce up my H2O. Up until that point, I had been relying on Nuun tablets to replenish my electrolytes during exercise, and normally they would work just fine, especially when I supplemented my drink with Clif Shot Bloks or Honey Stinger Waffles. But lately my training rides have been so intense that I'm craving a lil' something extra in my water bottle to help me power through to the end. Like liquid steroids. Just kidding! But seriously, a form of legal doping would be great (I get you, Lance).
When I told Coach Daniel about my energy powder purchase (it's loaded with vitamins, minerals, some carbs, and even protein), he wasn't surprised. But it turns out, I made a classic rookie mistake. Apparently, it's pretty common for people to start trying new products—from fuel to footwear—right before a big event. I guess equipping yourself with last-minute gear is one way of dealing with the stress of what's to come.
Truth is, I should have figured out my hydration needs a little earlier (FACT: 2% dehydration = 10% decrease in performance), but I've been way too focused on spending time in the saddle above all else.
I wish I had talked to Coach Daniel before I walked into that GNC. (Speaking of which, do women shop there? The sales guy and his beefy male clients looked at me as if I just entered a the men's locker room.) Talking to my coach, I remembered this awesome drink called GU Brew that I tried at the Carmichael Training System's camp where I first met Daniel in June. It was tastier than the GNC product and made me feel good during and after training rides. I don't know why I didn't think to order some online. I guess I was just looking for a quick fix (hence, race day jitters).
While the GNC drink will do the trick (and leave a nasty aftertaste), the lesson learned here is that it's really too late to make any major changes to my fitness regimen (my last training ride is this afternoon!). What I need to focus on now is prepping my body and mind off the bike for the ride of my life.
Here what Coach Daniel says I need to do leading up to the YSC Tour de Pink ride, which rolls out this Friday (!!).
1. It's a common mistake is to think, “I need to be hydrated,” so people tend to drink too much water too quickly. Forcing too many fluids in causes the body to wash the electrolyte solutes out. Instead, think about consistent hydration: In the morning, have six to eight ounces of water and continue drinking throughout day, every 15 to 30 minutes.
2. As long as you don’t have hypertension, you can salt your food a bit more or eat salty foods (tortilla chips, soups, etc.) a few days before the event. Consuming more electrolytes will help you hold onto your fluids and therefore keep you fully hydrated.
3. Use products like GU electrolyte tabs or Nuun in water to make the drink, well, more drinkable and help your body retain liquids. Think a fizzy tab in the Fiji bottle that you pick up at the airport or drop a tab in your Klean canteen or Nalgene on the drive to the host city.
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