Wednesday, 23 January 2013

LEJOG 2014

So...I have just joined a group of women from across the UK who are going to cycle Lands End John O'Groats next summer, and we are hoping to raise £50K for Breast Cancer Care.  So, Sports Nutrition is now more important to me than ever as I want to build up a really good base of fitness.  I have wanted to do this for some time, and as the kids get older this seems a good time to do it!

It has been a tough week - the snow has stopped most of my outdoor training, and caused the 210km Audax I was due to do last week to be postponed. It has been rescheduled for this Saturday - fingers crossed - because I want to put the advice Tim and James from SiS have given me into practice! More on that in a mo.  I have done some spinning bike sessions and have even been for a run (yep - me running!) which was fine whilst I was doing it but muscles are not used to it and although I only did 5 km I haven't been able to walk since!  Going downstairs 2 days later is a nightmare!

Anyway, I digress!  I wanted some more advice on what to eat before, during and after my long ride so I asked Tim by email, and spoke to Dr James Morton last week.  This is what I am to do...

Day before - ( I am looking forward to this one!)

Have 500g of carbohydrate between lunch and dinner. and another meal late in the day or add some carbohydrate to my REGO night. 

On the day - 
In the morning (its an early start) a combination of GO Bar and a protein bar with several cups of coffee
During the ride  2 bottles of GO Energy with a GO hydro tab for some electrolytes and some GO Gels - 1 per hour with caffeine gels for the last 2-3.  Aim for a total of 60-80g of carbohydrate per hour of carbohydrate from everything.
After take REGO Rapid Recovery. Have some GO electrolyte or GO Hydro for the drive home and then REGO night.

So, thats what I will be doing if the ride goes ahead on Saturday  - I may substitute some gels for Go Energy bars or REGO protein bars (which SiS are discontinuing which I think is a huge shame because I love them) which was some advice Dr James gave.  I will let you know how it goes...

Everything else is going OK - the Omega 3 has become easier to take now I am used to it, and I bought some CLA to try - this is supposed to help with fat burning, so its worth a try!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Is it working?

I have been following Tim's advice and have been using the SiS products religiously for the past month, so are they working?

Not only am I trying to follow the nutrition advice, but I have also got a basic training plan from a coach at the cycling club - which includes scary things like intervals, endurance rides and recovery rides so I have started to follow that as much as possible as well.

OMEGA 3 shots  - I have nearly finished my first pot of omega 3 shots - I have taken them every day now for a month.  I now take them in either orange juice or lemon squash (as they have lemon flavouring in them that seems to work quite well) - my skin is softer, whether they are contributing to my cardiac fitness I can't say but I am certainly going to keep taking them.

PROTEIN - I have eaten alot of eggs and taken alot of REGO recovery and SiS Protein shakes.  I love the strawberry REGO recovery - it tastes great and is just what I need after a ride.  When I have done a ride during the day I then have SiS REGO night, which I have bought more of in the past couple of weeks.  I prefer the chocolate to the Vanilla, and it certainly seems to help me to be ready for another ride the next day.  I have eaten a few biscuits over Xmas - but generally my biscuit consumption has gone right down!  I was hoping to see my weight go down, which is hasn't  - yet!  All the protein makes me a do I put this politely?... windy.....which my family is not too keen on, but no pain no gain!

SiS Hydro - I like these little tablets - really easy to use and I can carry extras if I need to refill my water bottle.  At the moment I am using these for rides less than 90 mins, and using GO Electrolyte for rides longer than this.  I tried a long ride on just the Hydro and bonked - ending up having to take gels and energy bars, so I wont do that again!

So is all this know what, I think it is!  Last weekend on the club run someone said - 'wow Sarah you are back on form', and I feel like I am.  I went out and did 100km yesterday and found it quite easy (it was as flat as a pancake but even so).   The weight is not coming down, but I will keep working on that.  I have a chat with Dr James Morton from SiS next week and have a few questions - I particularly want some advice on how to get through the Willy Warmer, which is a 210 km Audax that I am riding a week on Saturday....I will let you know how that goes!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Its arrived!

I had an early Christmas present arrive yesterday - a big box of SiS products, so now there really is no excuse

So, I have started straight away.  18 miles yesterday followed by SiS Rego Protein powder and a SiS Rego Night powder at 9pm last night.  I warmed up the chocolate Rego night - and thought it might taste a bit like hot chocolate.  It didn't unfortunately so I don't think I will warm it up tonight and will have it cold like a normal protein shake!  Didn't notice much different last night with my sleep - except having to get up for a wee because I drank close to bedtime.  I will have to see how that goes.

I trie the omega shots this morning - didn't realise they needed to be kept in the freezer but I have managed to clear a space!  Hmmmm, the taste is going to take a bit of getting used to to say the least!  I may try putting it in some orange juice tomorrow morning as it was a bit of a shock on its own.  But I am really keen to see the benefits of Omega 3 so I will be persevering.

The club run this morning, 46 miles fairly hilly miles in the Chilterns powered by Go Hydro in my SiS bottles, and a Go Isotonic Gel half way round.  Hoped that would be enough but I started feeling a bit weak near the end and had to have an energy bar.  Got home and had the SiS ReGo recovery.

So, 106 miles this week.  Now all the products have arrived I will be really interested to use them properly and see what happens!

Oh...and I haven't had any biscuits this week...(but I have had alot of eggs!)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The first stage…the chat with Tim

So, last week I had a call from Tim Lawson, the founder of SiS.  I admit I had preconceived ideas about what he would say.  I was convinced that the reason I reach for the biscuits and am starving after short rides is that I haven’t been eating or taking on energy drink whilst riding – WRONG!  He explained that there are benefits on riding ‘empty’, so I should ride with SiS Go Hydro Tabs in water and carry SiS Go energy gel just in case.  That was a surprise and I haven’t tried the Go Hydro tabs yet so look forward to that.  The important thing here is that as soon as I get back I should have SiS REGO recovery and nothing else for an hour or so to let it do its job unhindered.  This is fascinating, and totally different to what I have been doing which is to immediately have toast/peanut butter/banana/muesli bar  ie a lot of carbs when I get back from a ride.
I had a feeling Tim would say I was not taking on enough protein and sure enough…I am not taking in anywhere near enough protein!  If I increase the amount of protein I eat I will stop having those cravings for biscuits and junk because I won’t be hungry.  So 20g of protein for breakfast – 2 eggs, mix in some SiS REGO Protein powder into my porridge or even have a ‘fry up’ of bacon and egg on a pile of salad….interesting!  Tim also suggested I cook with coconut oil…I will have to do some googling to find ways to do that.  He also suggested some SiS REGO Night to help overnight recovery, improve sleep and stop me waking up starving.

The other thing we talked about was increasing my amount of Omega 3 intake, to get my skin, brain and heart to work better – and there is research to suggest that if you take enough for long enough it helps reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.  I have been taking an Omega 3 supplement from Boots every day, but apparently these are not concentrated enough, and the fish oil can be ‘bad’ and do more harm than good.  I suffer a bit with hair loss and dry skin, and the other benefits sound great so I really want to try the SiS Omega shots.  I will also start eating more oily fish such as mackerel.

So I have already started to put some ideas into action.  2 eggs for breakfast yesterday and I wasn’t even slightly hungry during the morning – had no biscuits all day!  Hooray!  Today I thought I would try mixing SiS REGO Protein powder into porridge but unfortunately didn’t like it, so I am now sitting here sipping a shake made up with SiS REGO Protein powder instead!  I am really keen and motivated to make this work, so I am going to stick to the advice….oh, and I need to stop buying biscuits – if they are not there I can’t be tempted to eat them!

Who am I?

I entered a competition a few weeks back to be part of the SiS Winter Academy, and never thought in a million years that I would be chosen….I am not much of an ‘athlete’ I am a 41 year old working mum of 2 who likes to cycle. But, amazingly an email came through from SiS to say that I had been chosen as one of the 9 – wow!

So, who am I?  Well, you may once have seen me broadcasting the weather on BBC (under my maiden name of Sarah Wilmshurst), but I left when I had my kids, spent a bit of time managing the BBC  Weather Centre and I now work as a severe weather advisor to emergency responders and government. 

When I was young I was a keen swimmer, swimming for school and a club but when I went to University that all seemed to lapse, and when I started work I did shifts and the exercise fell to second place.  Then I had 2 children and I noticed after the second one 7 years ago that my weight had gone up and I generally felt a bit rubbish.  So I joined a slimming club to lose the weight, and just as I reached target weight I saw an ad in a slimming magazine for a ride around Cuba for charity.  50 miles a day for 5 days….could I do it??? 

I decided to give it a try and I have never looked back!  I started on a comfort mountain bike, trundling along the Thames and getting to a standard where I could manage the 250 miles in Cuba – which I loved.  I was hooked.  I bought a lightweight hybrid when I got back and joined Maidenhead and District Cycling Club.  They didn’t seem to mind that I turned up each Sunday for the social ride on a hybrid whilst they were all on road bikes. I did my first few sportives on that hybrid – the biggest of which was the Wild Wales in 2009 when I unfortunately fell off over the handlebars and had a trip in an ambulance to hospital.  4 new teeth later and I was back on the bike, another charity ride around China in 2010.  It was time to get a road bike. 

I continued to do a few Sportives – improving quickly to be able to do 100km’s easily.  Now for the next challenge – I tried time trialling.  Again the friendly nature of my cycling club meant that they were fine with me trying a time trial on a road bike – and first time only managing 33 minutes for a 10.  I time trialled every week last year, 10’s and 25’s and improved so that I beat the 30 minute mark for the 10’s and 1:18 for the 25.  It was a good year.
Then this year I bought a new road bike, a lovely carbon Pinarello Quattro, which I have put time trail bars on. The year started well, I did the London Revolution (where I discovered SiS products) and managed the 2 days quite easily, and I got my 10 time trial time down to 28:04 on the new bike.  That was early in the season, and since then I have got stuck, and don’t seem to be improving – if anything I think my form has decreased.  Family commitments mean I can no longer make the time trails each week, but I continue to try to do at least 100 miles a week.  Most of these miles are done in 60-90 minute blocks at lunchtime, and a longer 3-4 hours on the Sunday club run. I have also bought a mountain bike – my brother is a keen mountain biker and he persuaded me to do the Kielder 100 (100 long, hilly miles – all off road).  He thought from having seen my form early in the year that I would manage it – but I missed the time cut off at 50 miles (I did have a puncture but I think I probably would have missed it anyway) and was sent back, so only managed 56 miles.  I REALLY want to be able to do the full 100 next year….but unless I improve my strength and stamina I have no hope.  I am also noticing that on club runs, new members join and I have to wait for them…..but within a few weeks they are zooming away and I am trailing behind.  What is going wrong?

I probably don’t have a good training plan.  I tend to just go out and ride – with little structure.  I have tried the odd interval session, and have loosely tried to stick to training plans that others have leant me but I don’t stick to them.  I also do no strength training which would also probably help.  But I think my main issue I think is my nutrition strategy.  I have a biscuit addiction and the weight I spent so long losing 7 years ago is creeping back on.  I use SIS products – but only on long rides.  I want to get the weight back off, feel more energetic on the bike and start to improve again. So, the SiS Winter Academy is just what I need….