A brief look at each training phase
Over the coming months you will see that the balance of your training programme between low, medium and high intensity sessions changes as the event season approaches. This allows the body to adapt progressively resulting in increased fitness whilst providing plenty of recovery so that you do not over-train. The variety in the programme on a month-by-month and week-by-week basis also means that you won’t get bored!
BASE TRAINING / PRE-SEASON (WEEKS 1-8)
The emphasis at this stage is on increasing aerobic fitness and developing the efficiency of delivery of oxygen to the muscles. Sessions are done at a low intensity with long slow distance rides forming the basis of the training. This is a good time of year to concentrate on your pedaling technique and to do lots of sociable "café rides."
Road biking can also be useful and adds variety. Use these rides to experiment with different foods and energy drinks. (See hydration and nutrition) Work out which High 5 energy drink flavour and concentration works best for you. Also, try different energy bars and other goodies such as dried fruit or jelly babies. Include a broad range of cross training activities during these months. During this time, the duration of the training sessions will increase but moderate and high intensity work is kept to a minimum.
For a closer look at these phases, visit the base and pre-season pages
EARLY SEASON / PEAK SEASON (WEEKS 9-16)
As your first Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series approaches, your training will become more specific. There will be more high and moderate intensity sessions with rest days to allow recovery. At this stage you can also include hill interval sessions (interval training). Because you are training for an endurance event you should still continue to increase the duration of your long rides, aiming towards a ride of between 75% and 100% of your enduro distance, approximately 4 weeks before the big day. This is a good time of year to take part in shorter sprint races, MTBOs, time trials or cyclo-cross events. They prepare your body and mind for racing and can be good learning experiences if you’re new to mountain biking. Trailquests are also useful pre-marathon tune-ups as they combine an endurance ride of 3-5 hours with intermittent higher intensity efforts.
For a closer look at these phases, visit the early and peak season pages
This is the name given to the planned period of reduced training immediately prior to an event.
In general it takes 10 days to feel the fitness benefit from a workout. So, long hard training sessions less than 10 days before an event will produce no additional fitness.
In order to be fully fresh for your MTB Marathon, the 2 weeks before hand sees a gradual tapering of activity. The total weekly volume of training is reduced but the frequency of the workouts is maintained. Sessions can still include some high intensity work. At this stage it is essential to get plenty of sleep. Eat well, minimise alcohol and drink plenty of water.
A small amount of high intensity work during the event week produces better endurance performance so you should avoid complete rest as preparation for the Chain Reaction cycles MTB Marathon. Brief bursts of intense activity with long recoveries are most effective as this makes muscles "event ready”. Slobbing out, eating piles of pasta will make your legs feel really sluggish. Two days before event day should be the most restful day. Use this time to do any final checks to your bike, get your tools organised and pack your camping gear. Plan and buy the food you will be riding with and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Eat normal sized meals. See “Preparation for your first marathon”
For a closer look at this phase, visit the event week page