Sometime the change from the cold season to the summer can be quite abrupt, without any moderate temperature in between .
It is exactly what seems to have happened during these days, at least in Europe. Every athlete needs to learn how to manage the situation as best he/she can. For this reason, one more time, we asked a good friend of SportPlusHealth, and knowledgeable cyclist, to enlighten us about the topic.
“This a delicate period – Davide Martinelli confirms – the body is not yet accustomed to the high temperatures and it is important to start taking magnesium and potassium supplements as soon as possible.
I myself take magnesium supplements at night: our team uses isotonic sport drinks by 6D Nutrition. The piece of advice I’d like to give to all athletes is to drink a litre of water for every hour of training. I believe it is also fine to drink shortly after the training session. If it is a day of reduced workload, and I am not going to sweat a lot, I will probably not drink too much. If, on the contrary, the intensity of the training session is high, I will need to keep more hydrated”.
Spring is often a capricious season, with sudden changes of temperature. The period is critical and the ability of our body to adjust to the temperature is not fine-tuned yet. “Exactly like a boiler that needs a little time, before being fully operational. Something similar happens to the body during the phases of transition”.
Due to these sudden changes, does the diet need adjustments too?
“Not really: the diet does not change much. Perhaps we add some fruit of the season: it is always a good choice and is the best solution from an ethics perspective too; it is easier to digest and does not contain preservatives. In this period I choose kiwis, strawberries, tangerines, oranges. Always between meals. Hydration is what requires most care, though”.
Does a different nutrition require changes in the training plans too?
“It may happen that we reduce the workload, as per overall volume more than intensity. In percentage terms, I would say around 10% less. The body needs to compensate for the fact that the transition from lower to higher temperatures actually gives the body itself a hard time. It is better to train a little less and leave the body with enough energy to go through this change”.
Davide offers another interesting piece of advice:
“A tip that will come in handy later, when the heat will be unbearable:split the training session into 2 parts. I usually do that way, and this also gives me time to hydrate and rest”.
Some athletes, like some triathletes, get up at 6 am. Would you do it to avoid the warmest hours?
“Some people do that, it’s true. I don’t completely agree with that course of action because I prefer to encourage habits in my body that are more like what happens in a real racing scenario. What race does start so early in the morning? None. The way you manage your physical conditioning must be aimed at real racing situations. So, I prefer to reproduce a typical race as realistically as possible: the start time is usually at midday. A training session that begins at 10 am, not too early, is perfectly fine”.
With some exceptions: “Before going to the World Champs in Richmond, Canada, I had done all my training at a completely different time of the day in order to get used to the that time zone, with good results ”.
Back to today’s question: the arrival of high temperatures. “Spring brings some evident advantages too. In the warmth muscles work better and perform at their best: temperatures around 20-25 Celsius provide the body with the ideal conditionsand, as a matter of fact, I reckon this is the best time to run some tests and break all personal records. A similar level of conditioning can only happen again in September, but by then I will be more tired because we will be well into the racing season. Even when I was young, these were the months when I performed at my best”.
Can I tell you something in confidence? “When I was young I was hoping to become a pro and maybe compete in Giro d’Italia because it takes place in May: as I explained earlier, one of the months I do perform at my best. On the contrary, I have always been quite intimidated by the Tour: it is held in July and heat is not my best ally”.
To conclude, a thought that is the essence itself of the very cycling: “It is amazing when you are out on your bike wearing shorts only;you feel free and you are fully content. Spring really carries something magical with it. Most riders love it”.
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