e have now reached the time of the year where we have hopefully started preparing for the upcoming season and are already back into our new training regimes. We are thinking about what events we will be entering and what physical training we will do in preparation for these events. However, how many of you have thought about the training required by your Gut; yes, your Gut.
Thinking back how many of you actually practiced during training taking on carbohydrates and fluids or even your body’s response to different types and amounts of carbohydrates and fluids. This is important as you do not want to suffer from GI distress during your “A” event. GI distress is normally more prevalent in the longer events and can be caused by dehydration or by taking on products with excessive amounts of sugar. Therefore now is the time to be preparing so as to avoid that exact situation arising during your big race.
Firstly we have to decide which of the four distances we will be training for this year and then we need to work out a realistic finishing time for the events. This is important as race times longer than 90 minutes should make plans to have a pre exercise meal and the consumption of carbohydrates (CHO) during exercise. However, there are a number of other factors which may need to be taken into consideration such as start time for the race. Normally the longer the distance the earlier the start; this may be important as during the night our liver glycogen (storage name of glucose) levels are substantially reduced.
This makes the consumption of a carbohydrate meal essential to increase the reserves and maintain our glucose levels, but with most races having a 7.30am start, one strategy would be to get up four hours before the start of the race/training to consume about 300g of CHO, although research suggests that most competitors will skip breakfast. If this is the case you must make sure you consume enough CHO the night before or in the preceding days which more commonly referred to as Carbo loading. There are a number of ways to do this; the big secret is to find the one which fits into your lifestyle.
This is why it is important to start thinking about training your gut, as you now need to start practicing how you will fuel yourself prior to and during your race. This would include what kind of supplements will you use, can you tolerate and are the same as the ones which will be used at you’re a race or do you take your own. This reminds me of an event where as we got out of the swim a leading sports drink company were handing out free drinks. The competitor next to me took the drink and drank it down only for him to bring it back up again all over his wet suit which he was carrying in a plastic bag; I did not see him again. I think this highlights the point quite well, as you prepare for your races, do not forget to train your GUT as well.