When: Sunday, June 10th 2018
Where: Philadelphia, PA to Atlantic City, NJ
Start Time: 6:30 am
The American Cancer Society is hosting its annual Bike-A-Thon from Philadelphia, PA to Atlantic City, NJ. The ride is 65.7 miles starting from the Ben Franklin Bridge and lasting all the way until the Boardwalk at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Participating in this race or one of the many cycling races in Philadelphia this summer, is a great way to get in shape while raising money for a good cause.
When training for a race or completing one that is that many miles, it is extremely important to make sure you properly fuel your body before, during and after the ride. Properly fueling your body means eating appropriate foods and staying hydrated to make sure you have enough energy to last the entire 65.7 miles.
Before: In order to get yourself up in the morning and ready to bike you need to start with a properly fueled tank. Although you should be consuming some protein and fats before the race, your body is largely fueled by carbohydrates during exercise. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle,and are constantly being used from the starting line to the end of the 65.7 miles. That is why it is important to fuel up on carbs during training and right before the race to ensure that your glycogen stores, or your energy, doesn’t run out.
- Days Before – Fuel up on lean protein like chicken or fish and carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables, fruits, rice, pasta, breads or legumes. Stay away from processed foods, high-fat foods, and fried foods.
- Night Before – Consider “carbo-loading” on a simple pasta dish to really stock up on glycogen. Stay away from heavy cream sauces like alfredo, and instead choose a light tomato sauce mixed with sautéed vegetables.
- Morning Of – Many people think that eating a meal before a race may give them stomach cramps or GI issues. However, it is important to fuel up, even after carbo-loading the night before, because you lose glycogen stores while you sleep. Try to eat 1-2 hours before the race starts. A good breakfast to have consists of high energy foods that are easily digestible such as oatmeal with fresh fruit, or a bagel with peanut butter and glass of orange juice or milk.
During: Keeping your body fueled for those long miles can be challenging on a bike because snacks need to be portable and easy to eat while you cycle. It is important to choose snacks that will give you energy, but also provide nutrients to your muscles, especially your legs, to keep you pedaling all the way to finish line. A good system to follow over the course of the bike ride is to have small bites of food and sips of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Some on-the-go snacks that could be perfect to enjoy on your bike are:
- Fruits like bananas and apples
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Energy bars
- Sports gels/gummies
- Gatorade or other carbohydrate-containing sports drink
- Lots of water
After: Once completing those 65.7 miles you may feel relieved and ready to celebrate. Before you head out on the boardwalk to grab some fried food and a beer, you need to make sure you refuel your body so you can properly recover and be ready for the next race. Research indicates that having recovery fuel within 30 to 60 minutes after exercise is ideal. The best recovery fuel should consist of a small meal that contains a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. An example of a recovery meal is a parfait with plain low-fat yogurt, layered with cubes of cantaloupe and granola or almonds. Also, make sure to drink a lot of water, because biking in the summer means extra hot temperatures and lots of sweating or fluid loss.
American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon Link: http://community.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=89079&pg=entry
Sarah Domino, Penn State Intern