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18th Jun 2014

Stop Yourself Getting Tyre-d Out With An Post Cycle Series

You are what you eat!


As the old proverb goes, you are what you eat and that is certainly the case when it comes to exercise.

As hundreds of riders across the country prepare for the An Post Cycle Series, it is vitally important to put as much preparation into your diet as you do into your training to make sure you can bring your best on the big day.

The event comes to Clare on Saturday June 21st, Meath on Saturday June 26th and Sunday July 27th and Waterford on Saturday August 23rd and Sunday August 24th, before finishing in Cork on Saturday September 13th.

Follow our top tips to make sure that you don’t get tyre-d out!

1) Hydrate

The corner stone of preparation for any big race is making sure that your body is well hydrated. This means upping your water intake throughout the week leading up to the event, rather than on the day itself.

2) Cook up some carbs

All those diet books may have told you to avoid carbohydrates but this is exactly what you need to fuel your body for the task ahead.

However, this is not your cue to go and drown in a sea of crisps and white bread. What you need is complex carbohydrates, which include wholewheat bread and pasta, other whole grains such as quinoa or oatmeal and lots of fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that your muscles have plenty of glycogen, a type of stored carbohydrate that turns into glucose to help sustain energy and endurance, so make sure to up your carbs the day before and the morning of the race.

3) Plenty of protein

Another of the vital food groups for those in training is protein so make sure you’re getting enough pre-race. Protein-rich foods such as meats, nuts and dairy products like milk and cheese will give you energy and also help you to stay feeling full throughout the day.

salmon 2

4) Stock up

It always pays to be prepared so make sure to stock up on healthy snacks before you head out on your ride. Protein bars and lean meats can be handy to carry and are easy to take on board before you hit the road.

5) Vital nutrients

Your body is a complex machine and requires a lot of different nutrients to sustain it through a workout such as a long cycle or run. In the days leading up to the event, ensure that you are getting some iron (to help oxygen get to your muscles), calcium (to help your muscles work effectively) and omega-2 fatty acids (to ease pain and inflammation).

With this in mind, here are some recipe suggestions to make sure you are powering on all cylinders during your race.

The night before: Salmon fillet with brown rice and asparagus

This is a great choice as it ticks almost all the nutritional boxes – complex carbohydrates from the rice, protein and fatty acids from the fish and both carbs and vitamins from the vegetables.

The morning of the race: Ham omelette and wholemeal toast


Some people can be unsure about whether to eat before a race but it’s essential to make sure you have enough energy to get you through. To avoid feeling sick during your race, eat between two and three hours before the start time and opt for a mix of carbs and protein for best results. Some people find that coffee can bring a welcome kick-start to proceedings.

During the race: Energy bar/drink

Feel free to snack on an energy bar at the beginning or during the race if you’re still feeling hungry. It is advisable to sip on an energy drink also to replace the electrolytes that your body is losing through sweat.

After the race: Fluids and a banana, followed by a high-carb meal

After the race, it’s all about recovery as your glycogen stores are down and your blood sugar is probably down also. The answer is lots of carbohydrates and protein. For best results, many advise getting them on board within 30 minutes of your finish but a lot of people cannot stomach a heavy feed after such exertion. Instead, have a snack like a banana or a slice of toast asap and then follow with a larger meal once you feel ready.

An Post Cycle Series is supported by An Post and the Irish Sports Council and encourages communities around the country to get on their bikes. The Series began in 2009 and over 56,500 people have taken part to date.

The Series is a great way for family, friends and work colleagues to spend a day of fun together while the serious rider can follow a more challenging route. Family routes will be approximately 10kms while short, medium and long distance routes will be approximately 60kms, 100kms and 160kms.  For more details, click here.