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Fatigue, headaches & nutrition

rampaxrampax Posts: 139
I have recently started trying to get my base fitness back up after a very sedentary 6 months (due to work). Each and every ride is killing me!
Anyway I am up to around the 30 mile mark, at a very sedate pace (12-14mph) but I get home a completely broken man, like The Bonk, but not quite as severe.
For the final 5 or so miles I can often barely turn the pedals.
Then, after 15 mins or so of getting home I will get a headache, like a hangover and I will be ravenous for the remainder of the day, eating everything I can find.
My vision is also deteriorated, like my prescription has gone right up.
I will be so tired that I am unable to do anything (but eat) for the rest of the day, and will fall asleep in front of the telly.
The next day I will often still feel a little light headed and very weak (not in the legs, just general energy levels). Still ravenous!

Pre ride I will usually have something like:
Toast butter and jam, or Fruit and Yoghurt.
On the ride I might have: a Trek bar, a banana and a mini malt loaf. That kind of thing.

Hydration wise I have two large bidons containing Vimto cordial or Torq.
I will usually have 1 wee on the ride, and need another as soon as I get home (clear like water if you are interested), so I don't think hydration is the issue here.

Now, I KNOW my fitness is very poor at the moment, but the thing is this happens to me quite often when I am at "reasonable fitness". I will get these symptoms after most rides above say 25 miles.

The only time this doesn't happen is when I am doing bigger events or loaded tours with friends, where we are having regular snack stops and sometimes a full sit down lunch.
On these tours we will be in B&Bs, so will start the day with a full english breakfast!
We might have 6 successive days of over 50 miles and I will feel fatigued but otherwise ok at the end of each day.

I have been to the GP and it's not Diabetes.

To me this would suggest it's is a nutrition issue, that I am simply not getting enough calories on my solo rides. Having a full english before every ride is not really practical, and having a full sit down lunch (on my own) feels like overkill on a 30 miler.

I need a better nutrition strategy. I'm not really into gels and plastic food.
Any ideas?
The A6 Hazel Grove - "Always the worst part of any ride".

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I suspect it's just lack of fitness and possibly pushing too hard. That's how I used to feel when I came back to road riding aged 50; a ride of 20 miles would wipe me out. Here I am 10 years later a lot fitter, lighter, and more resilient. 20 miles is now an evening ride with just half a bottle of water, 40-50 miles at the weekend and I'll take a few fig rolls and jelly babies to snack on. I'll only pack proper food if I plan to be out all day, and then I'll make sure I'm eating / drinking little and often.

    Provided you're starting out with some kind of breakfast inside you, take it easy, pace yourself so you're not finishing the ride exhausted, and just concentrate on gradually building up time on the bike. Don't worry about speed or distance for now, just try to cycle for a bit longer each time. Increase it by 10% a week, see how you go.
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    12-14 mph is a half decent pace, may be pushing yourself too hard, 10mph is my average pace over 30 miles.....15 is my fast pace for an hours blast, I'm usually one of the faster riders when I do group rides. It's also about pacing yourself, if you are feeling that bad then it's time to go home, try some shorter rides with a bit of pace and stop before you bonk/feel ill and you'll be ready for another ride sooner which will help build endurance/fitness. I would say visit your GP as well but you've already done that.

    I usually have a big meal - large bowl porridge/yoghurt and banana, big bowl pasta etc hour before I ride then start taking on food little and often if I'm on a long ride, and sip energy drinks regular and often. Aim is to eat/drink/before I feel I need it.

    An evening ride, around 15 miles, couple of hours max with breaks/banter a decent meal before hand and a bottle of home made jollop (sugar/salt/squash/water) is all I take.
  • Were you riding before, or doing other sports?
    My standard for a long ride is way past the 45 mile mark, but it's the same principle. Whenever I plan for several hours long trip, I have a really huge meal before the ride.
    Yeah, sure, I might feel heavy for the first half an hour of riding, but I'll be able to live for the rest of the day on minor snacks. Before I put any aggression into the pedals, I first get about 30 minutes of warming up - riding at a relatively low speed and high cadence.
    As for hydration, on these longer rides I equip myself with a non-carbonated (always non-carbonated fluid) isotonic drink. Absolutely no need for anything fancy. The point should be to help with hydration and the more expensive stuff still usually doesn't do much more than that. I used to drink energy drinks regularly, but now I try to avoid them completely. If I feel like having something really sugary, I make a stop for a cold bottle of Fanta.

    It might be a good idea to think about supplements, first (and often the last) candidates being magnesium and potassium. Reduces recovery time and prevents cramping among other things. And there's a rather huge list of ill effects caused by magnesium and potassium deficiency.

    If I were to be completely honest, I think you're pushing yourself too hard. Being able to push yourself is a good thing, but if you want to improve quickly and efficiently, you want to do exercises which are easily repeatable, preferably on daily basis. When I push myself really hard and come home decimated, I actually feel absolutely fantastic.
    Before building up base, I think it's important to have strength and short-term endurance. So I'd rather opt for more intensive and shorter rides at first, and then slowly extend the rides. Once at "reasonable" level, start building the base miles.

    Some food for thought - instead of simply measuring your performance by how many miles you did, or how fast you went, try to concentrate on how much did you push yourself that day and how soon or how many days in a succession are you able to repeat similar efforts. And challenge yourself into climbs. I try to put at least 3km of climbing into any training ride that's 45 minutes or longer.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I can't see that it's nutrition.

    I'll do rides of 40M or more with no food and just water. Many people do more.

    Is it just that you're very unfit? Compared to when you're doing your 50 miles with pals?

    I'm amazed you can ride after a full english. Your body will be busy digesting rather than giving you the energy to ride.
  • cougie wrote:
    Your body will be busy digesting rather than giving you the energy to ride.

    You actually end up getting energy from that food.

    Fasted morning rides are great, but I never plan any longer than 120 minutes. In fact, I don't like to extend them beyond 90 minutes. I mean, yeah, I could go for longer, but there's a certain point at which it starts cutting into recovery time. Fasted rides should be short and intensive.
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    I'm amazed you can ride after a full english. Your body will be busy digesting rather than giving you the energy to ride.

    Kind of the point, it slowly releases energy as it digests, that's why porridge and other slow digesting foods are good for rides. don't ride straight after a meal, I usually give it an hour.
  • You haven't eaten enough before the ride in my opinion, I always have porridge no more than an hour pre ride, don't scrimp on the portion size, and bring your usual on ride snack's (Cliff bars are excellent). Two drink bottles sounds plenty. Fitness should build with riding/time/effort, try an easier pace at the start of the ride and finish strong.
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  • penskipenski Posts: 124
    I would agree with the general consensus that you may be pushing yourself too hard too quickly.

    Build up your fitness over 2-3 months in increments.
  • LookyhereLookyhere Posts: 987
    Maybe your eating too much sugar? try eating different foods pre and during ride, pushing yourself might make you tired etc but headaches and completely broken? ? ?
    if your perceived exertion is the ride is sedate then you should nt really need more than a banana and bottle of water for a 2 hour ish ride.

    Try a better breakie too as suggested, porridge or similar.

    "Pre ride I will usually have something like:
    Toast butter and jam, or Fruit and Yoghurt.
    On the ride I might have: a Trek bar, a banana and a mini malt loaf. That kind of thing.

    Hydration wise I have two large bidons containing Vimto cordial or Torq.
    I will usually have 1 wee on the ride, and need another as soon as I get home (clear like water if you are interested), so I don't think hydration is the issue here"
  • I think that it's some kind of a shock by which the body responds to the high stress. Pushing yourself too hard momentarily can even make you puke.
    Anyways, would be interesting to hear from OP, as it's been quite a while.
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