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Race Week Taper and Prep?

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Race Week Taper and Prep?

Old 03-27-13, 06:26 AM
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Race Week Taper and Prep?

Hello all, asking for some first race advice. I've done some searching and gone over the sticky, and they were all very useful, however a few questions remain.

How much more should I ride this week?

I've been doing around 100 miles a week so far this year, maybe a little less but not much. The big day is Saturday, a 24 mile road race, 2 laps of a rolling to flat circuit.

I've ridden 3 of the last 4 days and feel very good right now. I went out and did a 22 mile TT yesterday and set a PR average pace with a bit of wind, and the legs don't feel the least bit punished.

My main question is how much more should I ride this week and when? I want to keep pushing my form to maximize my potential to stay with the bunch, especially since the weather here is decent (the race is in upstate ny, where the winter has been pretty harsh, so I think that may be an advantage), but I also want that fresh legs feeling they get after a rest.

Also, how do you eat not just the night before, but the week of?

I've been working toward loosing weight (I'm still way to heavy for anything with climbing in it, I'm 5'6" and 200 lbs.), but should I be more liberal with the carbs and portions this week? I've been drinking water like crazy, taking my multivitamins, and self massaging as often as possible. I will probably hit the sauna today one last time as I won't have access once I head home tomorrow for Easter and the Race. But I'm not sure what is good food for race prep. My staples seem to be tuna sandwiches, hardboiled eggs, greek yogurt with fruit, stir fry, and lots of Green Machine to drink. Should I mix more carbs into the equation? What kinds specifically?

Lastly, for the race should I bring just sports drink or something else as well?

I've used the Gatorade 1,2,3 series before for animated group rides to some success, although I'm more sold on the 3 (Recover) product than the other 2. Should I pound a gel at the start and then again for the start of the second lap?

Sorry for the newb questions but I want this to go well. I'm doing at least 3 more races this year, and my A race is a crit in July. But I still want to do well for this race as well, as I worked hard over the winter.

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-13, 06:52 AM
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1. You need to train on time and intensity, rather than miles and speed. Average speeds mean very little in races.

2. Get to the line fresh as well as fit. Usual advice in the days preceding a race is to cut volume but maintain intensity. Personally for a Saturday race I'd rest on Thursday then do an hour or so easy, incorporating a few short (30second?) sprints, on Friday. Warm up properly before the race.

3. Eat normally.

4. A 24-mile race is going to be over in an hour or so. If you have a decent breakfast you're unlikely to run out of gas during the race. Take a gel if you want to.

5.if you've read the stickies, you'll know not to be surprised if you're dropped like a stone. The intensity will surprise you. Don't be discouraged, keep coming back. And keep losing weight.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:05 AM
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Don't over think things leading up to the race. As you race more you will learn what works for you and doesn't work for you.

Big think is to relax and have fun.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:45 AM
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Thoughts relative to your questions:
1. You did a PR TT doing 3 rides in 4 days. Can you repeat that schedule so that the "TT day" falls on Saturday's RR day? Meaning do what you did for the 3 days before the TT but do them so that the 3rd day ends up this Friday. Meaning today (Wed), tomorrow (Thu), and Fri you do what you did before your TT. Then you replicate, at some level, what you did before your PR TT.

You won't gain any fitness between now and Saturday but you can really screw yourself up by doing too much or too little. By repeating a known schedule you have some idea of what to expect.

2. For eating there are two thoughts. I subscribe to the "load up before a race" thought which is, on paper, unnecessary. I go to a race with 2+ hours of fuel available internally. Many days, especially in the spring, I don't get a chance to eat properly on the day of the race so I end up faltering, even bonking, in an hour of racing that starts at 1 PM. If I went into the day lean I'd be bonking before I even lined up for the race.

The other thought is to go in lean. Eat what fuel you need to race just before you race. This is the proper way to race through dieting - you eat a minimal amount to sustain yourself then you take in fuel to power your riding. Personally I haven't gotten the hang of it, or I've trained myself to eat more the day or so before. On some desperate days I've tried the 500 cal of pretty simple sugars just before a race thing. I can make efforts here and there but I feel like the depth of my reserves goes away - after a few digs in a row I'm running on empty. This is just me, no idea if this happens to others.

When I was dieting in 2009-10 I was on a very militant diet, 1600-1800 cal/day (183->155 in 4? months, 5'7"), even eating 400-500 cal just before bed because I only had 1100-1200 cal during the day. When I started riding again after 3 months of dieting I was absolutely exhausted in 20-30 minutes. I started eating 2000-2200 cal daily and then I could do some 60-90 minute rides. I stopped tracking after that but one or two days where I counted I was eating 2500 cal regularly while doing 2-3 hour rides. I had to eat more to be able to ride hard. By the time the season rolled around I wasn't counting and I remained within a 5 lbs range for the whole season, eating carefully but not counting. I have no idea how the pros and such do it.

3. For race day don't change anything diet-wise. Don't try something new. Do what you're doing now. If you want to experiment you should do it on training rides. For some reason, for example, I cramp pretty quickly if I drink electrolyte drinks in races but in much easier training rides it's not a problem. I found that if I drink heavily caffeinated drinks on training rides I get jittery but in a race I don't notice anything. Etc.

I've tried new bars (usually when someone gave them to me when I was starving) etc. I tried some electrolyte pill drink (given to me when I was dehydrated and that's all that was around). I had cramps, felt nauseous, etc. Every few years I do something dumb and relearn the lesson. Don't try new things on race day. If you really want to try something new then try it knowing that you may be writing off that day's race as training.

Finally, as a closing thought. Depending on how much you can race in your area you should treat most races the same way you treated your PR TT ride yesterday. It's just a training ride where you can try new things and see if you can do something better. It isn't like a triathlon or running race where it's all on your training and "pace".

Mass start racing has everything to do with using the group. This means experience, practice, repetition. For me it's become second nature but in my early years of racing I'd note when I felt comfortable in the field, what month. At first it was August. Then June. Then May. Then one year in my first race of the year I felt like I belonged there, totally at home, inches off hips, relaxed, at ease. I knew that at that point I'd learned how to ride in the group, but it took what, like 150 races and maybe 300+ group rides? Doing 4 or 5 races a year and targeting them specifically doesn't help as much as slamming yourself by entering 35 races in a season and making every mistake possible. At the end of the summer you'll realistically be 4-6 years of experience ahead of the 4-5 race a year racer. The only thing you can't learn quickly is racing form, i.e. adapting your body to racing.

Hope this helps. Good luck in your race Saturday.

cdr
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Old 03-27-13, 08:00 AM
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race week taper and search engine.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:00 AM
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I'm no expert, but I think you may be putting a little too much thought into a 24 mile ride. Sure, it'll be faster riding than you're used to, at least during parts of it. But like someone above said, 24 miles will be done in an hour. Don't overthink it. Don't go ride a century the day before, and don't go out drinking that night, and you'll probably be fine.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:07 AM
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Presuming that a result in this race is not a major goal, and that you ae going to be doing more races coming up, I'd just keep doing what you've been doing.

If you do want to focus on this race, I'd do a short ride today with a couple of short hard intervals. Recovery ride tomorrow. Then a short ride Friday with some "openers."

With my first coach, day before a race was always 45 minutes easy endurance pace, with 5 minutes tempo, and 5, 10 second sprints.

Current coach, day before is 45 minutes easy endurance pace, with 2, 2 minute intervals.

You have to find what works for you, but many people find if the day before is a rest day, or a recovery ride with no hard efforts, that they're sluggish on race day.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Presuming that a result in this race is not a major goal, and that you ae going to be doing more races coming up, I'd just keep doing what you've been doing.

If you do want to focus on this race, I'd do a short ride today with a couple of short hard intervals. Recovery ride tomorrow. Then a short ride Friday with some "openers."

With my first coach, day before a race was always 45 minutes easy endurance pace, with 5 minutes tempo, and 5, 10 second sprints.

Current coach, day before is 45 minutes easy endurance pace, with 2, 2 minute intervals.

You have to find what works for you, but many people find if the day before is a rest day, or a recovery ride with no hard efforts, that they're sluggish on race day.
Good post Merlin and I agree on the day before stuff.

As for nutrition don't ask me. During the season this year I was in excess of 5,000 calories most days and 2 gallons of water.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:47 AM
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Don't worry so much about food for this one. It will be done in an hour and you will be doing a LOT of coasting. The gel beforehand may be a good idea. That, and the glycogen in your body, will be enough. Plain water will be fine, with some electrolytes perhaps.

I don't want to throw a curve ball on your first race, but CAFFEINE could possibly be the best ergogenic aid for this event. I always have a little extra on race day. Consider using it. (I used to prep my bottles so that the last bottle I would drink in a race had more caffeine. Usually helped)

People here are right about the day before: short, mostly easy, with just a couple short hard efforts. Hopefully you've been doing hard efforts a few times a week already so you know what this means. If not, the race will have moments that show you what a hard effort is.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:01 AM
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I would agree that you should maintain the intensity to keep up ability the day before, just make sure you don't overdo it or push to hard and get hurt obviously. Muscles needs about 48 hours for a good rest to build back up strength, so Thursday maybe even Wednesday cut the training down depending on the amount of fatigue you feel but make sure to keep riding and training in the days leading up the race. The day before make sure its light just to stay loose.

As for eating, you're gonna want to eat healthy lol If you feel great now, then you shouldn't make any major changes to your diet, don't over/under eat or you will feel it. If you want to eat more carbs, do so earlier in the week since your body needs a day or two to process and replenish your glycogen stores, make sure you getting your proper cals, carbs, protien, and fat.

24 miles wouldn't be so much that you would NEED food during it, make sure you eat well, maybe something small before the race, it couldn't hurt to carry it with you just incase.

Good luck!
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Old 03-27-13, 09:05 AM
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Takes time to learn your body. lots of good advice above but it really boils down to personal experience. The key tips are to eat and don't run yourself into the ground training for the race. These early season races can be intense as everyone is testing their fitness and hungry to race.

Keep tabs on yourself during the race and write your race breakdown right afterwards:
How did the pace feel?
Were you able to keep your HR in a good place?
At what point did you feel the effort /pace was starting to catch you out?
When did you notice that fatigue was creeping in?

Then train for those efforts when you prepare for each subsequent race.

Last edited by Number400; 03-27-13 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:08 AM
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About popping a gel pre-race: better to have that gel when you are warming up, or preferably once you start the race. Taking in a bunch of sugar at rest can cause an insulin spike. Not saying it would happen, but it can happen, so it's in that "don't do it unless you've already been doing it" category. Personally, I mix my calories in my water, drink during my warmup, and then start drinking again a bit after the start.

Don't forget to warmup. Develop a consistent warmup routine now. It's especially important for a short race; your warmup should be at least 20 minutes.

And I'll pile on about the fact that you should be tapering between now and your race.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:19 AM
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I'll be in the same field as you, CBRC kit, white cannondale with red lettering. Say hi if you see me.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:01 AM
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When was your last rest day?
When was your last rest week?

It's hard to give any meaningful advice without knowing how you train, and how fatigued you really are. Going only by how you feel can be dangerous.

Given nothing else to go on, I would ride tempo today, 45 minutes but no more than an hour. Take tomorrow off. Do your openers on Friday. Race Saturday. As others have said, be prepared to be dropped, because it's more than likely you will be. If you do, don't get all down on yourself, turn it into a productive training ride. Work with others in a group and practice your paceline technique. Don't just sit on and sprint for 47th place. Take a ton of pulls. Drop other riders in the group. Ride hard solo. Get a good workout.

Nutrition is a topic all to itself. At 5'6" and 200#, you're probably not doing it right. Just remember one thing. You cannot diet enough to lose 50# and train to be a competitive racer. Choose one or the other. That said, I like a mix of carbs and protein the night before a race. My favorite meal is spaghetti and meatballs with salad.

My race drink is Gatorade G2 from powder, one scoop per 24 oz. bottle. In hot weather I bring a bottle of plain water to wash my eyes. As others have said, don't try anything new for a race. Prove it in training first.

Good luck and stay upright.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
I'll be in the same field as you, CBRC kit, white cannondale with red lettering. Say hi if you see me.
OK, so this is Johnnycake. I took a look at the map. The hill has a 200' vertical rise. Sounds a lot like the week three course from the past.

OP, don't forget to turn left for the finish on lap 2.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:23 AM
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Echoing what others have said: do not do anything on race day that you haven't done on a training day. Especially eating. Normal breakfast, take a gel before the race IF YOU NORMALLY TAKE A GEL BEFORE A WORKOUT OR GROUP RIDE.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:24 AM
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Sleep. Get more of it. You are probably chronically sleep-deprived, like most Americans.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:48 AM
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Oh gawd yes, sleep. Start sleeping lots, early in the week. Chances are you will be a bit nervous and may have trouble the night before, so start saving up your sleep! And if you cut down on training you might find that you are not as tired as you normally are and become tempted to stay up later.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
OK, so this is Johnnycake. I took a look at the map. The hill has a 200' vertical rise. Sounds a lot like the week three course from the past.

OP, don't forget to turn left for the finish on lap 2.
I guess that is an assumption on my part, but with the distance, description, and upstate NY location I'm pretty confident he will be doing Johnny Cake.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:07 AM
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Nothing else on the calendar. Good luck to both of you.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:22 PM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone except botto, exactly what I was looking for. And yes this is the Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial in Coxackie, which I believe used to be referred to as "Johnny Cake".

The sleep one was something I hadn't really been planning out quite as well, especially since I'm usually asleep during race time, or at least getting ready for bed. I work nights, however after tonight I'm driving home and should be adjusting to "normal people" sleep through the weekend.

I will plan on taking eating a good breakfast before leaving my parents house (in Brunswick rankin, so just up the hill), and I plan on taking a gel during warmups. I will take a bottle of water with an elixer tab, or maybe some sports drink with me during the race, as typical for my club rides. For those of you there I will be riding a carbon Giant Defy, black and white with red accents, either wearing rh+ or capo kit, or some combo. I'm riding unattached.

Thanks
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Old 03-27-13, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
When was your last rest day?

Nutrition is a topic all to itself. At 5'6" and 200#, you're probably not doing it right. Just remember one thing. You cannot diet enough to lose 50# and train to be a competitive racer.
Actually, considering I used to weight 250, I've dropped my resting heart rate from 110 bpm resting to 82, and dropped my BP from 140/90 to 124/82, I think I'm doing alright. It's a slow process.

But why can't I work on being a competitve racer and loose weight, or more importantly body fat, at the same time. While I've only lost 50 lbs, my legs have actually grown in diameter. I was under the impression that muscle gains would raise my resting metabolism and help me loose weight more effectively? Note I didn't say I was starving myself, just watching what I ate, and focusing my calorie intake around periods of activity.
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Old 03-28-13, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wxduff View Post
Actually, considering I used to weight 250, I've dropped my resting heart rate from 110 bpm resting to 82, and dropped my BP from 140/90 to 124/82, I think I'm doing alright. It's a slow process.

But why can't I work on being a competitve racer and loose weight, or more importantly body fat, at the same time. While I've only lost 50 lbs, my legs have actually grown in diameter. I was under the impression that muscle gains would raise my resting metabolism and help me loose weight more effectively? Note I didn't say I was starving myself, just watching what I ate, and focusing my calorie intake around periods of activity.
Good for you on the weight loss. It's very difficult to manage one's nutrition well enough to fuel the sort of training required to get competitive while losing substantial weight along the way, so people usually advise getting the weight off first. Whatever, enjoy Saturday.
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Old 03-28-13, 04:05 AM
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wxduff - Congrats on the weight loss! 50 lbs. is major stuff. You're heading in the right direction.

I was brought up around Altoona, so I know you're used to hills. If anything, it'll probably be slightly less hilly than what you're used to. For 24 miles, I'd go with a good breakfast with time for it to digest, a gel about ten minutes prior to the race, and whatever you're used to drinking during the race. Don't try anything new.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-28-13, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wxduff View Post
Thanks for all the advice everyone except botto,
lazy crybabies rock.

Last edited by botto; 03-28-13 at 07:12 AM.
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