endurance ride mistakes

Are You Making This Big Mistake Before An Endurance Ride?

endurance ride mistakes

It was supposed to be a rest day today but that didn’t go to plan as usual.

I met a long-term client of mine this morning for an hour, which was perfect!

He’s off to the 312 Sportive in Majorca next week so it was nice to get a ride in with him before he jets off.

After that I met Anthony at the office and decided to ride into the city with him.

He needed a new phone after smashing his one and I needed to pick up my long awaited racing licence at cycling Ireland HQ.

I then peddled back to the office for a quick shower and flew down to the cafe on the hacker for a meeting about 5km away.

I then decided to peddle home (another 5k) to grab the lunch I forgot this morning before heading back to the office.

I’m just back at the office now and obviously have to ride back home tonight – in other words a solid 4-hour day!

Rest day my arse… tonnes of miles without even trying.

Yesterday I had a chat with Barry Murray about a few things and one that I believe to be too important not to have a rant about.

Endurance training

Endurance can be defined as the ability to cope with stress over a prolonged period of time and refers to the training of your aerobic system.

As a result there is a host of physiological adaptations that follow – see below.

Essentials of strength and conditioning

The adaptation that isn’t mentioned on the list at least directly happens to be arguably one of the most influential factors in cycling performance at a cellular level.

That is ‘fuel or substrate utilization’ or your bodies improved ability to generate ATP from aerobic sources – such as fat!

The body’s ability to utilise fat as a predominant fuel source at submaximal intensities is a big contributor to your overall cycling efficiency and contributes to the sparing of that much needed muscle glycogen.

So here is the question I had for Barry –

‘If one of the big goals of endurance training is to improve your fat burning capability and overall aerobic efficiency does eating a big bowl of carbohydrates before you leave negate some of the adaptations of a steady endurance ride?

His answer was that it doesn’t sabotage the whole session from a physiological point of view (you can see that from the list of adaptations in the table) but you are loosing a big chunk of the potential adaptations by eating a bowl of glorified sugar before you do a steady ride.

This is due to the insulin response to the sugar load and your bodies fat burning mechanisms are essentially paralysed as a result.


So in other words you’re not talking full advantage of one of the foremost adaptations of an endurance session.

So what does this mean for you and what are the take home points?

Easy or endurance zone rides don’t need large carb fuelling before you leave, there’s enough stored if you’re eating correctly and thanks to not having a high insulin response, fat burning isn’t stitched off .

Have some scrambled eggs and salmon for example instead of that bowl of porridge and eat the oats when you get home instead.

Rethink your steady or easy sessions and what you eat before hand to get the most from them.

It’s a small change but just for those easier rides save the sugar until you get home and you will reap more adaptations from those ‘steady ride’ type sessions.

Happy fat burning.

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