The key elements of training
In order to get fitter, physical stress to the body is necessary. This is why we train. Manipulating the three elements of training will change the stress on the body.
How often you are able to train will vary hugely from person to person. It will be dependent on work and family commitments and also on the level of fitness that you have to start with.
The idea of a training plan is that you go for quality and not just quantity – More is not necessarily better. So even with a limited amount of free time for training, if you use your time wisely the benefits will be greater. This avoids just mileage for mileage sake!
• If you are a new MTB rider or only get out on your bike a handful of times a month, you will find that your performance improves quite quickly with just 2-3 workouts a week.
(Cross training is particularly useful when you are first starting out as it will minimise injury and improves the general efficiency of your heart and lungs).
• Regular MTBers will have a higher basic level of fitness to start with and should aim for between 3-5 workouts each week, work and family commitments allowing. Again these can be varied with other cross training sessions.
• Experienced riders will often manage 8 workouts each week with 2 training sessions done on some days. However, with work and family commitments, etc none of the training weeks will have more than 6 sessions detailed. If time does allow extra training, they should be easy paced "recovery" rides or cross training sessions.
The duration of each ride will vary depending on what you are trying to achieve in that session. Some rides may be short but of high intensity, others will be longer and at a steady pace. Long rides in the winter are always a bit of an effort due to our unique British weather. So, break them up with a café stop, take plenty of warm gear and get your mates to join you! Check out the winter-training tips. The length of your long easy pace rides should be gradually increased as the weeks go on.
• New MTBers will start with rides of between 30-60minutes. Over the weeks, rides should be increased so that in the final 2 weeks before your first event, you will have completed a ride of at least 4 hours
• Regular MTB riders will progress in the same way. In the final 2 weeks before your first event, you will have completed a ride of nearly 5 hours, as well as several 3 hour rides.
• Experienced riders will complete a ride of over 5 hours that should be almost equivalent to the full marathon distance as well as several 3 hour rides.
The intensity part of your training will prepare your body to provide:
• ENDURANCE – to enable you to keep going the entire distance.
• BURST SPEED / POWER – this is the ability to be able to produce bursts of power for short sharp climbs and that sprint finish at the end!
• SUSTAINABLE SPEED – this is the ability to keep pedaling as strongly in the last half of the ride as you did in the first.
These performance requirements are what our training plan will be designed around so that you can train specifically for the Chain Reaction Cycles events and sportives. Different training intensities when used correctly in the preparation for a MTB Marathon will enable you to complete the course comfortably, produce strong consistent efforts on hills and burn off your mates in the last 100m before the end!