MTB specific training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Fooz, May 5, 2003.

  1. Fooz

    Fooz New Member

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    Hey Guys (and ladies)

    Anybody have some tips on MTB specific training?

    I usually ride 4 or 5 times a week, depending on conditions it will either be on the road bike or MTB. In road races I find I can stick with the bunches quite easily, except when a big climb starts (being 101kg's @ 18% bodyfat). I'm working with a dietician at UCT's Sport Science Institute in trying to manage the weight and lose a few more kg's.

    I find that in road races, and even during tests at the Institute (100km TT's) my HR sits at 135 - 165 (Max ever has been 197). During MTB races (enduro's) I find my HR hardly wants to go under 175, and this leaves me feeling already completely exhausted after 15km's in to a 70 or 80km MTB Enduro.

    Anyone have any training ideas and tips to improve MTB specific racing. My next major MTB enduro (78km) is in 2 months time.
     
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  2. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    To start, if you have a weight problem and are competing, you need to be riding 5-7 days a week, not 4-5. Consider a trainer workout 1-2 days a week if you are short on time. Whenever in dought, go for an easy ride.

    As for the Road racing, you "hang" well beacause you are drafting. Climbing speed is so slow, that aerodynamics (drafting) don't play as big a role, so getting dropped once you hit a climb isn't surprising. Also, as a big guy, climbing will naturally be harder for you. Climb, climb, climb. That's the only way to get better.

    You do well when you are at 135-165 bpm in the pack, and have trouble at 175 bpm on the MTB. On the MTB there is no drafting. No drafting plus the climbs is the reason you are hitting high heart rates and cracking at 15km.

    You need to improve your overall power output. This gets complicated, because you need to train for aerobic and anaerobic power. If you are not used to higher power output (MTB racing), this will require a lot of anaerobic power to assist your weaker aerobic system. The unfortunate byproduct of "going anaerobic" is lactic acid/lactate buildup in the blood. This lowers blood PH and makes the muscles contract with less force.

    Eventually you will be fatigued and be forced to slow down. A well-conditioned mountain biker might be able to go as fast as you and remain completely "aerobic", without generating much lactate at all, due to superior aerobic conditioning.

    For general aerobic/ananerobic power and speed, try 3-5 minute intervals at 90+ of max heart rate. Start with 1-2 and work up to 4-8-10 or so. Do them on the flats and on climbs. Vary your cadence. Go as hard as you can to complete the distance. If you have a lot left over, you went too easy!!! Recover as needed between efforts, normally 3-5-10 minutes or so. As you get fitter, your recovery time will decrease. Do them once or twice a week.

    For lactate tolerance, 60 second intervals generate the most lactic acid. Do 60 seconds with 60 seconds recovery (1-1 ratio). These are very demanding physically and mentally. It's easier to find a couple of fast training ride per week and blow yourself up on them. Attack, blow up, recover, and repeat many times. You will get better quickly. Don't overdo, once or twice a week is enough!!! Have at least 48-72 hours of recovery between these workouts. You can do them on a trainer as long as you have a very powerful fan to cool you. If you can only last 40 seconds you are going too hard. Start off with 3 minutes of work (3 intervals). Get up to 10-15 minutes of work for 60 second intervals, 15-20 minutes of work for 30 second intervals.

    You should also have a lot more endurance in your legs than whatever distance you will be racing. If you are competing in 80 km races, you should be doing 130+ km once a week on any terrain and speed. A pro road rider racing for 120 miles, should do 150-200 miles once a week.

    To improve you must push yourself harder (suffer)in training. The guy who wins did!!!

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Fooz,

    Some good advice there by J-Mat, however, some of it (the short intervals) might not be applicable to you (just yet). While doing short, very high intensity intervals lactate tolerance (e.g., 60secs) *does* help you develop a tolerance to lactate, they don't help you to raise your lactate threshold, which is where you need to focus your training efforts as the main initial step. The tolerance stuff, should be completed much closer to your peak/main races, and also if you are doing much shorter races (e.g., ~2 hrs).

    What you need to do is to increase your power output at LT, which will be obtained by quality endurance rides for around 1 to 3 hours at ~ 152 - 157 b/min, tempo work up to 90 mins at ~ 157 - 167 b/min, and some moderate intensity efforts just below race effort (1 to 2 x 20 - 30 mins) at 167 to 177+ b/min.

    Assuming that your technical skills are at least reasonable the majority of your training should be completed on the road on your MTB or road bike (assuming your road bike position is similar to your MTB position). Aim for one off-road session a week, which would be longer than those above (and thus lower intensity) with some harder efforts and skill work thrown in.

    Ric
     
  4. Fooz

    Fooz New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys!

    Looks like I'm in for a lot of pain in the next two months. We usually take the MTB's out on the road or paths where we can find them to break the monotiny of road riding. Over weekends it's usually a 2hr session in the forest on a Saturday afternoon, followed by a 100km+ breakfast ride the Sunday on the road bikes.

    My main problem is still weight. In less than a year I dropped about 20kg's and improved my 20km TT time (in a lab test) from 35m34s to 26m46s, but those darn hills are a pest. Put me on a nice flat road and I can easily pull a bunch (with the climbers hiding behind me).

    Thanx again guys!
     
  5. Fooz

    Fooz New Member

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    Following up from a few weeks ago, I was introduced to Track Cycling this week. This looks to be a excellent way to do LT work, and I easily got my Max HR up to 191, while chasing some people around the track. Very very painfull though, and takes a few laps to recover, before repeating the whole thing again. Whats your thoughts on this ricstern?
     
  6. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    To develop LT you need to work consistantly at LT and the track can be a good way to develop this. This is best acheived on the track on your own or in a fast line where the pace is maintained at your LT. During LT your heart rate shoudn't go to high (within the ranges that Ric has given you), obviously your HR reached 191 which suggests you were training more as J-Mat recomended.

    Keep riding at LT and your avarege sustainable power output will creep up and up with your LT.
     
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