We won’t go into detail about how to train and prepare physically for your chosen event, because this article is centred entirely on nutrition. If your training has gone to plan and you’ve had some sound advice, during the days approaching your scheduled event you won’t have done very much by way of exercise. This is called a ‘taper’ and it’s a vital part of stage race preparation. It provides rest and recuperation from the rigours of hard training and allows for an adaptive process called ‘supercompensation’ or ‘peaking’ where one’s body reaches a heightened energised physiological state. You will be at your fittest and freshest at this point in time if you’ve got everything right. If this talk of ‘tapering’ is alien to you and you need some advice on getting a training plan together to peak you for a big event, consider taking a look at our Fitness Consultancy services by clicking HERE?
From a nutritional perspective, you don’t need to do much other than listen to your hunger reflex in the days leading up to your event whilst your taper weaves its magic, but there should be a significant shift in calorie intake 24 hours ahead of your first day of exertion, which we will discuss shortly under the topic of ‘Carbohydrate Loading’. During the taper your appetite will drop, because you won’t be doing so much exercise and your muscles and liver will naturally store the carbohydrate you’re consuming as glycogen. It’s vital that you maintain your grazing habits, consuming 20-25g of high quality protein every 4 hours or so to maintain muscle integrity. You’ve trained hard to build this muscle, so make sure you consume the raw materials necessary to maintain it. Research suggests 5 to 6 X 20-25g ingestions of protein per day, which works out as a dose roughly every 3 to 4 hours. There’s little point in exceeding the suggested protein dose, because you won’t be able to make use of it and it will be stored as all excess calories are within the human body – as glycogen in the liver and muscles or as fat. Spread your protein intake out over the day.