Question: I have the hardest time remembering to eat while climbing, especially winter climbs. Sounds stupid, but any tips for remembering?
You’re not alone…many athletes simply forget to fuel while climbing, runnings, riding, etc. In the winter, when you’re not as hot, it’s especially difficult to stay on track. It often takes time and practice. Here’s 4 tips:
- It has to be readily available. This is why I’m a fan of camelbaks/hydration bladders for drinks. Gels/bars/foods should be in accessible pockets or taped to frames of bikes or in a feedbag. In Winter, it can be difficult to keep foods and drinks thawed when they are near the surface…so, make sure to blow out the hose of your fluid bladder after drinking, and keep foods in a warm (but accessible) place. If you have to dig for it or it’s inconvenient to get to, it won’t get done.
- It has to be something you like to eat/drink, or at least think tastes good enough. If you don’t like the taste of the gel, food, or drink, you likely won’t drink or eat enough of it, even at risk of bonking.
- To get optimal amounts, you need to eat to a schedule. Know what you need per hour (typically 16-24 oz. fliud, 40-60 gms carbs, 0-15 grams protein, 400-700 mg sodium, 100-300 mg potassium per hour). Plan your fuel to meet these needs each hour. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.
- Make it a habit. Just like any skill, you have to practice. Use fuel when training, and not just when competing or on a “big” expedition. Practice, practice, practice. Then, you’ll be able to iron out any issues, figure out the logistics and weight, and decide how to carry it.
I hope this helps!
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