You’ve put in the miles, (T.O.S.) time on seat, as many of us like to say, and you are ready for your event. Well, as ready as you’re going to be. Assuming that you know your nutrition plan, are relatively rested, and have done your T.O.S. then all you can do is rest up and make sure you’re ready to roll on your event morning. BUT, what should you do in the days leading up to the event? Should you go out and try a hard workout to “boost” your fitness? Should you eat a massive bowl of spaghetti and garlic bread the night before? Should you sit on your behind and not use an extra ounce of energy to save everything you have? It’s so hard to know what to do. Therefore, I’m going to let you know what many of us have been doing for years, and what will work, most likely, for you.
The days leading up to the event should not have hard efforts or super long workouts. Your fitness will not improve in two to three days, and in fact, it may leave you depleted on race day as your body is still recovering from those workouts. Instead, a simple, short ride two days out and one day out may be your best choice. As a sample, an athlete completing the Sound Cyclists Bloomin Metric this Sunday could have a lead up such as this:
Friday: Active Recovery Spin – 30-45’ in Zone 1-2 (easy to breathe through the nose (ignoring allergies) and feel no burn in the legs) with a cadence of 85-105 and a low heart rate
Saturday: Pre-Ride Faciliation – 35’ (warm up easy riding for about 15’, then complete a quick acceleration between 15” and 30” long, then recovery with 8x the effort time (i.e. 15” effort = 2’ of Zone 2 easy riding before next effort).
Sunday: If you’re riding with a group of riders that are stronger than you, then arrive early and spin at least 20’ to warm up your body and get your muscles and joints lubricated and ready for action. Try to start your 100K effort within 10’ of ending your warm up for the best results, and if possible, and you’ve tried them before, take a gel shot with water within 5’ of starting your ride.
Assuming you’ve been having appropriate recovery nutrition after your hard workouts and longer endurance rides, then your muscle and liver glycogen stores should be pretty well stocked. Include complex carbs in your pre ride meal and some protein and healthy fats. It should be obvious, but go easy on the fiber in the morning and it may “activate” during the ride. Be smart during the ride and stick to a nutrition schedule that has worked in your training in the past, and as my clients always hear me say, “When in doubt, shoot a gel”, because often we over exert at the beginning and then later wonder why we are so darn slow and pooped. Ever seen a car run without gas? Well, that’s where that gel shot comes in. Always nice in an emergency.
So this Saturday morning I hope many of you enjoy a short, zippy, pre-ride facilitation, and even though the weather is going to be gorgeous, try to limit the amount of time spent sunning yourself by the pool, mowing the lawn, spending hours gardening, or whatever your honey-do list chores are, and know you’ll have a better Sunday ride for it!
I’ll be riding the Bloomin’ Metric this Sunday and would love to hear your thoughts. Please look for me in the brand new Pacific SBR kit on my black BMC (helmet color TBD, but will probably have my Lumos with turn indicators and brake lights).