Nutrition is Key

Building a Healthy Body

Ian Field on Avoiding Illness During the Race Season

This week we had professional cyclo-cross rider and OTE fuelled athlete Ian Field visited the Performance Centre for some end of season testing.

Photo credit: Russ Ellis

The cyclo-cross season typically runs from September and draws to a close at the end of January. During this time Ian raced a full World Cup & British National Trophy Series, 18 races, 5 different countries on 2 continents. This started in Las Vegas mid September and ended in Belgium at the World Championships on the last weekend of January. During this time Ian has covered thousands of miles travelling, raced in conditions ranging from -1⁰C to 22⁰C. On top of this he has clocked up around 260 hours of training mostly in Yorkshire, which this winter has thrown some particularly challenging weather at him.

But one thing that stood out to us as we chatted about Ian’s season was that actually, despite all the travel, training and challenging conditions, Ian has not been ill once! Remarkable really as we all know how easy it is to pick up the common cold at least once during the winter months.

We were intrigued, how have you done it Ian?

“I have to make a conscious effort in the cyclocross season not to get ill, as missing blocks of training or races can really impact series results. I take time to plan out my calendar to find a balance between racing, training and travelling. Too much of one can leave you depleted and playing catch up. And with this I try to consider my nutrition, I don’t plan everything I eat but I make sure I never miss a meal and always fuel adequately for training and racing, especially when I am travelling.

In terms of the food I eat there is no real secret to it, I just make sure I have a well balanced diet and that I am not under eating. When trying to train hard I don’t want to allow my body to get run down by under fuelling. I make sure I have lots of fruit and veg too, we have a nutribullet at home so a morning smoothie helps. I also have been having the OTE Health & Immune Supplements, two every morning. I think this has helped me avoid illness as this has been a new addition for me this year. Similarly if I start to feel run down or tired I have some of the OTE Super Greens mixed with apple juice.

Photo credit: Russ Ellis

Another key thing for me is just allowing my body to rest and making sure I get the correct amount of sleep. During the season I always aimed to get 9-10 hours of sleep and was happy to nap in the afternoon if I felt I needed it. Suppose that is the beauty of being a professional athlete, you get paid to rest!”

What are your top tips for people trying avoid illness during the race season:

  • Think about your hygiene, washing hands and trying to limit contact time with obviously ill people. I have hand sanitizer in the car which I use when out and about.
  • During key racing and high end training, don’t try and lose weight. Eat properly to fuel what you are doing.
  • You can monitor heart rate levels during training, so for me if my heart rate won’t go very high during top end training sessions then I know I am tired. This is an individual thing but by monitoring it you will find what’s normal for you.
  • Above all just try not to stress about getting ill, I have always found if you overly worry about it you usually end up coming down with something. Stress in general can lower your immune system so avoid it where possible.

For more facts about nutrition and the immune system check out our article here.

Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice, OTE Fuelled Athletes


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