When training for mountain biking you can’t just start riding around a lot and think this is training. You must learn how to improve your riding ability and fitness. After extensive research and speaking with pro riders, I have compiled these tips for mountain biking training. These tips are crucial if you want real progress.
1. Use Periodization
Your training can be divided into time periods. Each period of training will have a specific purpose, which will help you prepare for your race. This allows you to introduce small changes in your workload every three or four weeks. This will allow your body to adjust slowly.
2. Get Warm
It has many benefits to warm up before you go mountain biking. Your muscles will be able to use more fatty acids as fuel. You will feel less pain from injury because your muscles will be working harder.
The body’s ability create energy rises 13 percent for every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature. Warm up by climbing a hill three to five times, for 20 to 30 mins each. Each climb should be followed with a 1.5- to 2-minute recovery. Keep your seat straight for the first two climbs and then get up to stand for the rest. Every climb will require more effort.
3. Don’t Train in Chronic Fatigue
Many bikers believe that it is possible to increase your speed by exercising while tired. It is believed that tired legs can increase power, so they begin their workouts with tired legs. This is false. Over 1000 studies have been conducted on fatigue and athletic performance. None of these studies have shown that riding becomes more difficult if riders get tired from training.
4. Don’t Track Progress By How Tired You Are
Bikers are not the only ones who believe more is better. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t have a good training day. It is much more beneficial to get the most effective training done at the right moment.
It is sometimes a good idea for you to do more volume training. However, it is not necessary. Sometimes, high volume training is wrong. However, speed training can be more effective. Too many riders focus too much on volume and get tired. How can you tell if your progress is being made? Keep track of your progress.
5. Know When to Stop
It is important to train regularly, but also to do so moderately. It is important to train within your limitations and be willing to challenge yourself from time-to-time. When you’re done with your workouts, you should feel like there was more to do. This will prevent you from getting stuck and allow you to keep moving forward. You can take an example: If you have climbed 4 hills, and you want to go for a fifth, you need to push yourself. Once you reach 4, you should stop.
6. Sleep enough
Biker’s have many benefits from sleeping. Sleep is a good time to increase your human growth hormone. If you do not get enough sleep your recovery will take longer and you won’t be able to train as consistently. If you continue to train too often, the risk of injury is higher.
An average person should get 7 hours of sleep per night. More is required for serious mountain bikers. More training and more frequent hours will result in more sleep. Professional riders can sleep up to 10 hours per night.
How often should you train each week? It depends on what your fitness level is. You can ride 5-6 times per week if you are an intermediate rider.
You can do two workouts per day if you’re a more experienced mountain biker. About 6-12 workouts per week. But don’t do this all year round.
Intermediate riders shouldn’t train like advanced riders to improve their skills. This will lead to excessive training and reduce your fitness.
The length of your training depends on your fitness level and your goals. You should train for longer if you are looking to improve your aerobic endurance. For greater intensity, train longer and with less effort.
Intermediate and advanced riders train longer than intermediate riders. Your workouts will vary depending on which race you are competing in. Training can be twice as long as that of the race you are entering.
Tracking your training intensity is a great way to determine how hard you should be working out. You can use a scale of 1-10 to indicate how hard you exert yourself after each workout. If you have trained for 2 hours, then you multiply your average effort level by 120 minutes to get 710.
This will change the intensity of your feelings over a few weeks. You will be able to reach the next level if you get your intensity right.
In general, intermediate riders should be focused on volume while advanced riders should be more intense. However, no matter what your level, you should aim for an intensity of 7 to 8. You will eventually be able to move up in your training level.
10. Progressive Overload
You must push yourself beyond your previous limits if you want to improve your mountain biking skills. Your body must be gradually and steadily overloaded. After that, your body should rest to allow it to adapt and become more resilient.
11. Train specifically
You must learn to ride your mountain bike to improve your skills. You must increase your muscle movement patterns to ride a mountainbike. This will help you improve your fitness and power.
Running, jumping rope, swimming and aerobics are not good ways to train the heart, blood, and lungs. Only riding your bike can train the muscles, nerves, energy systems, and other vital organs that require training. Cross training is possible, but it is not beneficial.
12. Train Alone
It is the best way for you to improve and focus on your weaknesses. It is also a great way to keep your strengths up and improve them.
Training in a group can be a good option if you are looking for something different. Make sure you train with riders that are at least the same level as yours or slightly better. You may get hurt if you train with riders who are better than you. You might also lose your confidence.
13. Velocity vs. Training Miles
Mountain biking is a sport that improves performance. Beginners will be able to ride more often for longer periods of time. When you are a beginner, your ability to ride for longer periods of time will improve. Training intensity becomes more important.
You can use your average workout velocity to predict how you will fare in a race. This is better than using your average training miles per day. Mountain biking is not a long, slow race. It is intense and fast.
14. Training at 90-100 Percent Maximum Heart Rate
Your VO2 max, lactate threshold and fuel efficiency must be increased to improve and reach your highest fitness level.
To increase your VO2 max, you should train at 90 to 100 percent or 93-100% maximum heart rate.
Lactate threshold training must be performed at 87-93 percent of VO2 max, or 90 tp 93% maximum heart rate.
You can increase your fuel efficiency by using short, high-speed repetitions.
15. Races Can Be Won by Increasing the Lactate Threshold
When you ride hard, lactate builds up in your bloodstream. Long races will have a greater average speed for riders who are able to remove lactate faster. To improve your ability to remove lactate, you should train close to or above your lactate threshold.
16. Use a Heart Rate Monitor
It is important to train within a set heart rate. Your heart rate is an excellent way to determine how hard you have worked. Mountain biking is hard so you need to train hard. Your heart rate must be increased if you are going to mountain biking.
Your heart rate can not accurately measure your workout intensity. There are other factors that could affect your heart rate, including temperature, nerves, and environmental conditions. However, it’s a good guideline.
17. Know Your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate
Your lactate threshold heart rate can be found by riding for 30 minutes on a flat road at race effort. After 10 minutes, activate your heart rate monitor to get 20 minutes of information.
Your estimated lactate threshold heartbeat is your average heart beat for 20 minutes. This heart rate is the minimum you should train to increase your lactate threshold.
18. Use Cadence and Gear Size to Train
Studies show that more power leads to greater performance. Power rises when the size of the gear is increased while your cadence stays the same. Try to train with different gears, and keep your cadence high. Use Tune Corporation’s Power-Tap to keep track of and measure your power.
19. Train for Power
You can increase your power by doing intervals, hill training and sprints in the gym. It is important to be able use all of your strength quickly. This is essential for sprinting to the finish, short hills, and fast starts. Start your workout with power. This is when you will have the most power and energy. It is futile to try to increase your power when you are tired.
20. Track Progress with the Races
A race is a great way to see how far you’ve come in your training. You can then pay attention to:
- How fast did you start?
- What was your average speed during this race?
- Did you manage to climb the hills?
- did your bike handling skills get better
- How focused were you during the race?
Comparing yourself to other riders can help you find the answers. You can use the results as a guide since the other riders might be at a higher level or lower than you. These results will not be 100% accurate.
21. Learn about yourself as a rider/racer
To help you concentrate your training and get the best out of it, you need to know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. It is important to compare yourself to other riders of your race category. Your past races should be compared to other riders in your race category.
On a scale from 1-5, rate each ability. One is the worst, three the average for most riders and five the best. You can tell which areas of your body are holding you back by how you rate yourself in sections 1 through 3. Your weakest areas can be improved upon.
22. Train for Speed
Mountain biking is all about speed and efficiency. You must be able to pedal quickly, even through technical terrain, and at a high speed without wasting effort.
Speed does not refer to your speed. You must train and ride on technical trails. You will improve the timing of muscle contraction and relaxation by doing this. This is essential for speed skill development.
Technical trails require you to contract and relax your legs when pedaling. The same thing applies to your upper body, as you relax and flex your handlebar grip.
This does not apply to braking but rather to the terrain you are on. You are training by adjusting the speed and timing of your muscles relaxing and contracting.
23. Make an annual training plan
A yearly training program will put you on your way to success. First, you will need to establish your seasonal goals. Next, you will need to determine your season’s training goals. Then, set your annual training hours.
Continue listing and prioritizing all races that you will be entering during the year. Next, divide your training into phases. Next, decide how many hours per week you will train.
24. Season Training Goals
Clear goals will make it easier to achieve your goals. You should dream big at this point. While it’s great to dream big, you should also be realistic. Your goal should be achievable in a single season.
You must be able to measure your goal. You should set a date when you will achieve your goal. To help you define your goal, use a number such as “March 1st, I want to complete North Fork Trail in 70 mins.” You may have done this trail in as little as 80 minutes. Your goal should be your own. Don’t set a goal based on what other riders might or might not do.
While you might want to win a specific race, you don’t have any control over the races or how they turn out. It is better to race against yourself. Only you can control your training and your motivation.
However, if you are able to track the progress of other racers, you will be able to keep tabs on their progress. Their performance numbers can be used as a benchmark. The goal you set should be challenging but not impossible to achieve. It should be challenging, but not too difficult.
Your goals should be positive. You should be focusing on what you want to achieve and not what you don’t want. If someone says don’t crash when going around a certain corner, what do you think will be on your mind. It is easy to imagine yourself going around the corner and crashing. Instead, tell yourself what you want.
Perhaps you should let your brakes go before the corner and then ride the inner line. Then, look ahead and pass the exit.
- Some examples of positive goals are:
- Move up to the Pro level
- Beat 90 minutes on the Sand Canyon Trail
- Finish in the top 10 at the Colorado Championships.
Pick at most 2 to 3 goals that you want to be your focus. More than this may prove to be too overwhelming.
25. Season Training Objectives
You will now choose your season training goals based on your seasons goals. To achieve your seasonal goals, you will need to set seasonal training objectives. To determine your strengths, you had to rate yourself as a racer/rider.
Let’s say your season goal is to finish trail ABC for example in 90 minutes. This trail contains 5 short climbs. Short climbs may be your weakness. Now, short climbs is your season training goal.
Let’s say another season goal of yours is to finish in the top 10 of the Colorado Finals. This trail is fast and singletrack. This becomes a season-training objective if you have determined that the rating was 3 or lower.
This is how you can describe the 2 seasons training goals:
- Up 5 short climbs in under 3 minutes before July 22.
- Go down the Colorado singletrack within 5 minutes starting August 2nd.
26. To establish annual training hours
It is important to know how many hours of annual training are required. If you train too often, you will end up training in excess. It is impossible to make improvements if you don’t do enough. You should include all kinds of training, including those for mountain biking. This includes riding, weight lifting, cross training, and racing.
Add up the time you have spent training over the past 12 months to get this figure. You should plan for a slight increase in training if you are within the first three years of mountain biking. This is feasible at a rate of 10 to 15 per cent.
You will need to guess if you didn’t keep track of how many hours you have trained. Calculate how many hours you have trained in the last week, then multiply that number by 52 weeks.
27. Prioritize Your Races
Races are held on weekends throughout the year. Races take place on Saturday and Sunday. The importance of the races that you enter should be rated. You should make three groups: one, two, and 3.
You can choose 2 or 3 races that are most important to your life and place them in group 1. It is up to you how important they are. These races can be spread out over the year to allow you enough time to train. This will allow you to plan your training so that you are at peak performance for each race in the group.
These are your season goals and your training objectives. These races are less important than the group-1 races, so you can choose as many as 10 races. They will not help you reach peak fitness. You will, however, rest for a few weeks before the race.
The group-3 races are all the races you can choose. These are done to have fun, to get experience, to train for a tough race, and for training for a class-1 race. These races will be your training for the next race. There will be no rest or buildup before the race. These races are an integral part of your training.
28. Learn the purpose of each exercise
Before you start working out, you need to know what you want from it. You are wasting time if you don’t know what you want to achieve. You won’t make any progress or be better.
Your season goals, your training objectives, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, will determine the reason you exercise. Every workout should improve or maintain a strength.
Workouts for a specific purpose will help you achieve peak fitness just in time for important races.
29. Do weight training
Weight training is a great option if you have any weaknesses when mountain biking. Lifting weights in winter is an excellent idea if you are unable to climb hills or power.
Your bike handling skills can be improved with weight training. Your pedal power will improve. You’ll be able to keep the attack position longer because your lower back will be stronger.
When your muscles are stronger and flexible they won’t be as easily injured as compared to weak and stiff muscles. Your technical trail skills will improve as your upper body is stronger.
Do compound exercises such as deadlifts, deadlifts, bench presses, lat pulldowns and seated rows. Do isolation exercises such as leg extensions, shoulder presses, shoulder press, and/or hamstring curls if you have a weakness.
30. Rest and recovery
Rest and recovery weeks are essential to avoid plateaus or overtraining. You can decrease the number of hours you train every fourth week. You can also decrease the intensity and distance you ride. You can also avoid injury and illness by taking these recovery weeks.
31. Indoor Train and Ride
Indoor riding is a great way to learn. This is ideal for winter riding and when going to the mountain biking trail is difficult. You can train indoors to be more specific than on the different terrain.
It is best to avoid riding inside for more than three days consecutively. You should also avoid training inside for longer than 90 minutes. Most mountain bikers can’t tolerate this and prefer to be outside.
You can ride in 4 types of trainers. You can use wind trainers or magnetic trainers. Rollers are also available.
The resistance is created when wind trainers use little fans. As the speed increases linearly, the resistance will increase exponentially. This is similar to what happens on the road. They are not expensive but they are very loud.
As magnetic trainers speed increases, so does the resistance. This trainer is not as realistic as the wind trainer. However, magnetic trainers are quiet.
A roller is the third type. These are ideal if your preference is for a more fluid pedal stroke. However, your ability to improve other aspects of fitness is much lower than with magnetic trainers and wind.
The CompuTrainer indoor trainer is the ultimate high-end option. Because the training is interactive, it is more fun to train. Self-tests are possible, as well as calculations of lactate threshold heart rate and power training. If you can afford it, it’s worth it.