Tag Archives: recovery

An Idiots Guide to Race Fuelling (By a running idiot!!)

Now getting everything right for a race is tough.  For runs it’s about getting your kit sorted, packing bags getting the obligatory kit photo before the race onto Twitter.  For Triathlon it’s all about trying to fit all the kit you think you need for the race into the car and then double checking you have the essentials!

The one thing I have never been very good at until I started to work with Science in Sport  asa brand ambassador was my Pre, During and Post Race Hydration and Fuelling. (This is obvious with my Blog on Hyponatremia) Luckily now that I’m a SiS Ambassador I have access to their team of nutritionists and Scientists.  This blog will refer to SiS products and will include a cheeky discount code at the end.  If you don’t like SiS then I’m sure it can be replaced by other brands but beware of things like osmosis! (More later)

So here is what I have gleamed from Ted Munson and the rest of the team…….

Pre racing –

To Carbo Load or not

Carbo loading was massive years ago but with current fuelling techniques and science, cramming pasta the night before a Marathon may not have such an effect as you hope.  Carbo loading needs to be done over time, one meal won’t make you a super hero.

Pre Hydrate

Losing just 3% of your fluid can make a huge performance dip.  With this in mind you need to pre hydrate.  Sports drinks are good but are full of sugar and water will not be absorbed by the body and just pass through.  I find the Go Hydro range is great for this.  With salts and virtually 0 calories it will keep your fluid and salt levels topped up ready for the start line.

Go Hydro

During the Race

If it is a short race (Less than an hour) you may not need fuel but caffeine could have an effect on you performance in a positive way.  I’ll talk about caffeine later.

Longer running Races – I as along with others used to fuel up too late.  We cannot absorb enough carbohydrate per hour to our usage so we will be in debt and this will cause issues later in the race.  With this in mind the guys at SiS say start fuelling early.  Don’t go on mileage but time.  If you like gels (My favourite is the Orange flavour) suggestion is 1 every 20 mins with 22grams of carbohydrate per gel the recommendation is between 60g to 90g per hour depending on your size.  I personally swap in a caffeine gel after an hour too and the 1 every further hour.

If you are a heavy sweater…. I am I look like a race horse after 10 miles! You need to think about salt replacement too! I love the Electrolyte Gels and they are perfect for this too!

Longer Cycling Races – People like to mix it up on the bike… Solid food, liquid and gels.  I love this approach but tend to lean towards liquids rather than solids.  On the bike I mix Gels and Go Energy Bars (25g of Carbs and low in fats) but also rely on Go Electrolyte Drinks too.  Lots of people don’t realise that as well as fluid and salts these drinks have 36g of carbs per 500ml this makes them ideal for simple fuelling on the bike.

SiS Energy

Post Race

My old idea of a glass of water or beer (depending on how bad the race went) the banana given to me at the end and a coffee if I could get one has topped.

I have found the delights of SiS Rego a protein shake that has all you need to refuel, replenish and repair after a race.  It has a mix of Carbs, Salts and Protein and when mixed with water it contains the fluid needed too.  Since using it on a regular basis I have noticed I don’t get DOMs as much after sessions and races.

If a shake is not possible (I always have a few in sachet form if away from home) the new Whey 20 protein gels are a good stop gap with some Go Hydro.  With 20g of Protein, some BCAs to help absorption and low calories it’s a great way of boosting your protein intake too!

If you have a heavy race/training schedule I would strongly suggest using the Overnight Protein too.  With a mix of Casein and Whey you get slow release throughout the night helping muscles to repair and prepare for the next day!

SiS Rego


A lot has been written about the use of caffeine to help in sport.  Some love it and some don’t.  The theory is that it lowers your perception of effort.  This means you can work harder.

It’s defiantly something that’s worth playing with.  For long races, using a caffeine Gel 1 hour into an event can help, or 15mins before that killer hill!  If it is a short race with no need for extra energy  the new Caffeine Shots are great or the Go Hydro Caffeine are perfect as they can be taken pre-race.  Word of warning don’t leave trying caffeine to race day!

SiS Caffiene

Words of Wisdom (Not from Me!)

I had always been an athlete that saved my nutrition for best! However if you only use gels and other nutritional aids in races you will find you cannot push as hard as you could and not get the gains you want.  Train Smart = Fuel Smart this means up your carbohydrates and protein intake on training days.  To stay injury free and push yourself your body needs the fuel and protein, So Fuel to Train and Fuel to race!

Now as an ambassador I have a 10% discount code that I can share with people.  This will give you a further 10% off your basket regardless of any deals you have used on the SiS website.  This code can be used over and over again so feel free to use it!

AMBD1G0MUN                       #FulledByScience


Beginning to Tri – 30% physical 150% Psychological!!

I’m sorry but this blog is a little low and more for therapy to get my issues and worries out there.  I hope others who are/have been in the same boat can recognise the issues and can reassure me there is a top to this pit of despair!

So i have had my share of injuries over the years.  Playing Ice-hockey and rugby for most of my formative years helped me develop medical notes that look like a personal library!  Most of my injuries were brakes or sprains which are easier to deal with both in rehab and psychologically.  Also post contact sports i have dodged the injury bullet well until Bath Half Marathon.

If anyone would have told me how hard i would find it to cope with injuring my back and trying to get back to fitness i think i would have not believed them.  If you suffer from back issues or have injured your back, i can sympathise with you like i’m sure you can me.  I never realised how tough i would find recovery.  But as the title reads i struggled with this the most in my head.

As a PE teacher i really struggled with the lack of movement speed and forced inactivity.  I was determined not to take any time of work so struggled on, with the help of my wife and elastic laces!! I’m not glad that i can put my own socks and shoes on!

Jennie at Quay Kinetics was very honest which was tough, but i needed to hear it.  Rest, gentle movement and drugs was what i needed.  12 weeks minimum of no running and cycling! Regular ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and pain management.  I’m not a keen pill popper so i found this tough and when she suggested taking amitriptyline (anti depressant but also a nerve suppressant) i took ages to agree but it really did help (very low dose helps calm and desensitise the nerve endings)

So i think those first 10 weeks were manageable to some extent, work was busy which helped and when i got the nod to swim i swapped all sessions to swim sessions.  I was signed off from the physio pretty much as she suggested 12 weeks from injury but this was when the dark days began!

“Start gently, increase training volume slowly and listen to your body, revert to ibuprofen when needed and expect flare ups!” Advice given as i left the physio.  Now following the advice is a completely different thing!  I have tried but i have really struggled.  I was really worried about running, starting back on my feet a lot later than cycling and other training.  Starting on a dreadmill as i knew if it fell apart i would not cope with a walk home.

Mileage is building with little discomfort but my head is still struggling with the speed and times!  Pre injury i was running 5km in about 23 minutes (I know it’s not the fastest but i was chuffed!) and felt comfortable holding a 4:45/km pace for 10km but i’m now struggling to hold a 5:30/km for 5km!  I know with time it will return but i’m impatient! i want to compete at what i see as my A game!

This is what i’m struggling with, in the famous film quote my brain is trying to write cheques my body can’t cash!  This is why i stated 150% psychological in the title.  I have done several ‘cardigan’ runs with Keryn Seal (our term for social, easy runs).  He has kept on at me to not beat myself up on my lost pace and fitness but i still struggle.  He keeps telling me that it will return in time but the longer it is the harder it is to believe.

It’s not the now but more the future…. Will i regain my speed?  Will i truly regain my previous fitness?  Will i have a flare up and knock me back to square one?  These are the demons that are on my shoulder at the moment that i’m struggling to shrug off.  I’m not overly externally competitive but internally i am worse than anyone.  I find it hard to except being slower, not performing well and struggle to shrug off bad performances.

I spend time with our young athletes in school reviewing competition and talking about only getting hung up on the things you can control.  ‘Control the controllable, except the uncontrollable’ but i’m struggling to follow this mantra personally.  We talk about the Learning Pit and how a growth mindset helps to escape the pit.

I know that i will get out of this pit and need to expand my growth mindset and look at ways to overcome the frustrations, annoyance and ridiculous expectations.  But at the moment i’m still struggling to see the top let alone the blue sky outside of this injury pit.

So i have less than a month before my first summer race Dart Duo i have to stop wallowing in my injury pity and accept the issues and begin to listen to my own words.  Control the controllable and except the pitfalls.

I hope my next blog will be more cheery and that i’m making good progress out of the pit.  You never know i may even be out and in brilliant sunshine!

Happy racing/training