So during big events, we can be competing for 4 races, each lasting 45 minutes each. During each race, when it’s breezy, I average a heart rate of between 160 and 180 beats per minute, and have to work hard all the way round the course. Sailing is one of those sports where “social loafing” is not possible. Unlike sports such as football and rugby, I can never say to myself “right, I need a rest, I’ll take it easy for a bit and let others take the slack…”. When you’re racing a 49er, you can never rest your arms, so when tiredness sets in, you’re in trouble.
One major area we have worked on later is nutrition. It’s not enough to eat a past meal each night and some cornflakes. You’ll never get round the course. You need to be eating between each race, and it is here that we have made one of the biggest gains. Before, we would take out bananas, chocolate bars or cereal bars, and yet I’d always feel lethargic going into the last race.
However, we recently bought a big bag of Powerbars (Powerbar Performance stage 1, to be exact), and have been pretty surprised by their effect. We’re now going through them at about 4 or 5 each per race day, and have had far more energy during and after racing, better concentration levels and more motivation. We’ve started taking them cycling as a mid way energy boost and again have been surprised at how easy they are to digest (no stomach cramps) and how quickly the energy hits your limbs. It’s been such a huge boost to our sailing, being able to train for much longer without needing a decent meal or longer rest stops.
So the moral of the story? If you want to sail just as well at the end of the day as you did at the start, get some Powerbars.