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4 Common Sports Nutrition Mistakes Cyclists Make on Race Day — And How to Avoid Them!

Updated: Mar 2

Are you unknowingly sabotaging your cycling performance with common sports nutrition mistakes? In my over 15 years of experience working with cyclists, these are the 4 most common mistakes I've encountered:

  1. Restricting carbohydrate intake

  2. Waiting too long into a race to start eating

  3. Not having a hydration plan

  4. Trying new foods and drinks on race day

The good news is, these mistakes are easy to avoid once you learn proper fueling strategies and practice them in training!


Just as you follow a training plan to get fit for race day, you need a sports nutrition plan too. Even with the best training in the world, if you're not fueling well enough to reap the benefits of that training, recover from it optimally, and increase your fitness, you're likely missing out.and potentially underperforming. After putting ALL that time in training! What a waste.


There's a lot you can't control in a bike race including weather, mechanicals, competitor fitness, crashing caused by others, and for if you never train you mind it can be hard to control too.


BUT...you CAN control your sports nutrition. So why not take full advantage of that?


The images below walk you through some simple specific strategies to help you avoid each of these pitfalls. Don't let these fueling mistakes hold you back from reaching your full potential. Stop leaving watts on the road that should be going down through your pedals!


In life there are those who hope for the best without planning for it and there are those who PLAN for success. The latter seem to have more luck ;). Don't leave your success to chance.




Let's address restricting carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately the fear of consuming carbohydrates runs high in the cycling community. It's a mistake that has negatively impacted many cycling performances. Gladly I've seen athletes make significant improvements once they implemented proper fueling strategies.


Let's address waiting too long to fuel during longer races. If you're starting a 4 hour road race, your motto..."eat early and often." You're eating in hour one to be powerful in hour four and through the finish line! This isn't about 'surviving' it's about THRIVING.


Let's address dehydration and how it can impact your power output.



Let's address shoving all the new samples you got at the expo in your pockets on race day. It's always best to test in training, not on race day!


Control the controllables!


Curious to learn more? Search these references!


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Need more help figuring out your sports nutrition? Stay tuned as I'll be posting some guides in the store before the season starts and throughout the year to help you understand and implement sports nutrition foundations. What are the key factors you need to consider for pre and race day nutrition, daily nutrition, on the bike nutrition and much more.


Want to learn more about sports nutrition, training and mindset to blow your cycling season out of the water? Head over to my podcast Imperfect Progress with Anne Guzman where you'll find 30+episodes on all things bike nutrition for road cycling, gravel cycling and mountain biking, strength and endurance training insights from top professionals in the peloton and some expert advice to sharpen your mental game for training and race day! Click here or on the logo below to start listening!




Subscribe to my newsletter on the footer of any page to stay updated on new sports nutrition for cycling, supplement and habit building guides in 2024!




Anne Guzman



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