Monday, February 1, 2016

Race Weight for Eaters

by Gordo Byrn

Following a high load training protocol while glycogen depleted will trigger health problems. So please remember to never lose the last kilo and arrive at race day fit, fresh and focused.

The most important tactic is to eat when you train and replace what your burn -- you’ll only have a limited number of long days where you can train your body to process calories. Take your key days seriously.

Eat, drink and pace so you can finish strong.

As a young man, one of my favorite meals was chilli with rice. I think I liked it because I never had to chew. I like to eat so I remind myself that chewing is okay.

Related to my habit of shovelling food, I try to put my fork down. I tell myself it’s okay to slow down because, as I like to eat, I get to eat longer.

When I lived in Asia, I’d use chopsticks to slow myself down further.

As a teenager, I worked at summer camp and we’d eat every meal between two slices of bread. Bread is an easy target if you want to knock out empty calories.

I’d also eat Raisin Bran by the box -- cold cereal is another good target if you want to replace processed foods with fruits and veggies.

I’ve been known to eat out of mixing bowl -- that’s okay for salads but less appropriate for lasagna. Consider sizing down your plate when eating energy dense foods.

That said, if you’re refueling after your big day then you’ll need to reload your plate a few times. Seconds, thirds and fourths… I get more servings when I size down my plate and that makes me happy.

Truth be told, I can be a zombie eater in front of Le Tour, my phone or my computer. The meals where I have no electronics are more enjoyable, longer and I make better choices.

One thing I am good at is serving in the kitchen and eating elsewhere. Getting up to reload my plate also slows me down.

When you get really, really hungry it helps to have foods that are unlimited.

  • Apples
  • Veggies - broccoli, spinach and mushrooms
  • Lean protein - whole eggs, chicken and salmon

While I can get carried away with the above, it’s better than blowing out with ice cream, bread or pizza.

I’ve found that light days following big days can be triggers for me. On those days, I buy a four-pack of low-cal fudge ice-cream bars (about 110 cal per bar). I space these across an hour (one every 15 minutes) and that gets me through a period of temptation.

The above examples are extreme but I had success at racing lean for my key events. Where I failed myself was not letting my body rejuvenate after my breakthrough seasons. That lead to periods of being overtrained and shortened the duration of my peak performances.

Be wary of the warning signs of impending doom...

  • Dental issues
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Night sweats
  • Sugar cravings
  • Grumpy!
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Loss of bike power
  • Hair loss on head - new hair growth rest of body (particularly face)
  • Always cold

Nurture your body so you become a lean, powerful racing machine.

Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog at

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