In the movie Back to the Future 3 when Doc Brown and Marty McFly hijack a train we get the following dialogue:
Engineer: Is this a holdup?
Doc: It's a science experiment!
Well, this weekend I began field trials of my own "science experiment" regarding my racing nutrition strategies for bike training.
With the aid of my training coach, I developed a base nutrition goal of 280 calories (including an as yet undetermined amount of protein), 700 mg sodium chloride and 24 liquid ounces per hour. I employed 4 variations on a 62.56 mile training ride this weekend that lasted nearly 4 hours (3:49:35).
Formula 1 was basically my current training strategy of 24 oz. of Cytomax with 2 gels (Hammer gels for today) and 2 Endurolyte capsules. This contained a total of 270 calories with 340 mg of sodium chloride, although no protein was included in this sample. The main drawback I experienced with this sample was opening the gel packets and dealing with the stickiness with getting some of the gel on my fingers..
Formula 2 was 24 oz. with a double serving of Cytomax with 3/4 of a serving of protein powder and 2 Endurolyte capsules. This contained 270 calories with a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein and 590 mg of sodium chloride.
Formula 3 was 24 oz. with a combination of HEED and Hammer Sustained Energy, plus 2 Endurolyte capsules. This contained 277 calories (with a 12:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein) and 296 mg of sodium chloride.
Formula 4 was 24 oz. with a double serving of Accelerade and 2 Endurolyte capsules. This formula had 240 calories (with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein) and 580 mg sodium chloride. I found this mix least pleasing from a taste perspective.
Overall, I did not have any digestive troubles with any of the formulas. Each was close to the calorie goal and there was a variety of carbohydrate to protein ratios. Each was below my target goal for sodium chloride, though this is easily adjusted by an increased Endurolyte capsule intake. At the moment I am leaning towards a greater experimentation with Formula 3, starting with my next run.
From the perspective of the evening following this bike ride. Although I had a PR effort through the 56 mile mark, I have no soreness from this training ride. This may be because my better recent training, although it may also be because of my increased attention to today's nutrition.
On Sunday morning, I continued my experiment by using Formula 3 (melon-flavored HEED + Hammer Sustained Energy) for the first hour of my run. In the second hour I used water and 2 packets of Accel Gel. Each of these was well-received by my body. I found the taste of the Accel Gels to be sharper than that of most gels, though I found the taste pleasing and they were easier to swallow than most other gels.
My next step will be to experiment with alternative HEED flavors and to attempt to mix in Hammer Perpetuem in place of Hammer Sustained Energy and see how that works for me as well.