When training regularly with friend, rivals, or increasingly even solo training with a Strava download in mind, there is a tendency for every training session to become more like a race. On the weekly chain-gang we often see riders skipping a few turns in order to demolish a double caffeine gel before the last lap. If it is really important to ‘win’ the training session ‘performance’ strategies make sense, if you are eyeing a more serious goal then adaptation strategies may need to take priority over immediate performance. For ‘marginal gains’ type strategies, high dose anti-oxidant vitamins like C and E may help to reduce muscle soreness, but may blunt adaptation when taken close to training. Cashew nuts can make a healthy snack but contain uncoupling agents which make the body less efficient, this may increase the effectiveness of a training load but acutely reduce race performance.
Whilst it is possible to make a case out for carbohydrate loading for something as short as 10 mile TT, if this is done on a regular basis there’s a good chance BMI will suffer and so will PB’s in target races. Over many years the focus of sports nutrition companies has been to try and find ways of delivering more carbohydrate to working muscles during exercise. A reflection of how professional athletes are now differentiating between training and racing was illustrated when riders from one of our top pro tour teams asked us to produce a ‘slow release’ carbohydrate drink to support their fat burning rides.
Think about the objectives of a training session and structure nutrition accordingly