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  1. #1
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    Enduro Training Program

    I'm looking for ideas on overall training strategy and individual workouts to incorporate into my training program. I will be racing enduro.

    I started a periodization training program using heart rate training, its based off of Joe Friels "Cyclists training bible". It starts out with 3 months of base training mainly zone 1-2 (easy rides) but increasing in intensity in month 3. I'm also going to the gym twice a week, low rep high weight leg exercises. (This will end when race season ramps up)

    Then two months of building, this is were i'm planning on doing all my interval and sprint work. I'm most concerned with increase my strength, power, and sprinting ability. Then i will leap into higher intensity riding in the weeks leading up to my first big race. Then repeat the build stage until the next big race.

    On average ill be riding 10-12 hours a week.

    Does anybody have any thoughts?

    I would also like to get some good workout ideas to increase my sprinting, strength, and power. any ideas?

    Cheers,

  2. #2
    LMN
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    Starting out with 3 months of mainly zone 1-2 riding is a bit of dated training philosophy. Don't get me wrong but long steady rides in zone 2 should be a staple of training for all cyclist in all disciplines. But you don't need to restrict your training to them for three months.

    Here is something I post over in a thread in the XC forum

    How to train for Enduro:

    (1) Demands
    Enduro racing is pretty varied. Each event has it owns unique structure; are you pedaling, shutting, or lift? How many days of training do you get? Are the race days full days, or are they half days with training in the afternoon? Are the “special stages” all downhill or do climbs play a significant roll. These variables make training for them fun and challenging.

    (2) What do you need to successful?
    a. Technical: Obviously you need some mad technical skills.
    b. Endurance: Enduro involves long days. Between training, racing and transfer you can easily log 8hr days.
    c. Fitness: You can put “Fitness” into energy systems. Aerobic, Lactic, and Alactic. Enduro racing is probably 80% Aerobic, 19% Lactic and 1% Alactic.

    (3) How do you train?
    You can break training into three phases:
    (1) Winter or General preparation.
    (2) Spring or Specific preparation
    (3) Race season.


    General preparation:
    The main goal is to develop your aerobic base. You are looking to improve your endurance and aerobic threshold. The best way to do this is through consistent steady workouts. During the week try and get three workouts in of 1-2hrs. On the weekends aim for 2.5-4hr days.

    I wouldn’t do any structured intensity. A lot of time natural intensity (you go harder because you are going up hill) is best way to train.

    If you live in a winter climate I don’t recommend doing all your workouts on the bike. Where I live this isn’t even possible (it is -36C as I write this). XC skiing and Back country ski touring are great winter training. I think for an Enduro racer Back Country skiing is probably the best training you can do.

    What ever you do for training make sure you include two rides a week. You might have to suffer on the trainer to do this.

    Specific preparation:
    During this period your priorities should be; Descending skills, descending skills, aerobic threshold and, to use a technical term, lactic endurance.
    -Descending skills speaks for itself. You need to be working on you DH speed. Focus on your weakness; if you are good at jumping and railing berms but struggle on non-flowy old school single track work on the single track.
    -The aerobic threshold always needs to be worked on. A high aerobic threshold is going to allow you to be fast at the end of your run. At this point in your training you will need to some intervals to improve. Fortunately you can do these intervals in combination with skills work. I would pick a rolling trail that is 6-10 minutes in length and do 4-6 repeats of it at best effort.
    -Lactic endurance; this is what allows you to sprint longer. Be careful training this, the workouts are extremely hard and the performance gains in your event are minimal. Something like 6x(30s max, 2 minutes rest) would be a simple yet effective workout. Train this at most once a week.

    Race season:

    I will leave that for another time.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info LMN.

    I'm including about two days a week of intensity into the first three "base" months.

    I have races from April to October, any ideas on how to stay tuned up throughout?

  4. #4
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mt. Tam Haze View Post
    Thanks for the info LMN.

    I'm including about two days a week of intensity into the first three "base" months.

    I have races from April to October, any ideas on how to stay tuned up throughout?
    My background is in cross-country where general the determining factor is fitness. Gravity racing (Enduro, and DH) fitness plays a significant role but it isn't the determining factor.

    Given that I would say that once you are in season, you need to do enough aerobic training to maintain the fitness you gained in the winter. The rest of the time you should be working on descending speed.

    In season I would probably break my riding up as:
    20% road
    40% XC
    40% DH focus.

    I put the road in there because you can't mountain bike effectively every day.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    My background is in cross-country where general the determining factor is fitness. Gravity racing (Enduro, and DH) fitness plays a significant role but it isn't the determining factor.
    Disagree. I think at the top level, fitness IS the determining factor. Everyone is so good technically so then it's about getting the most out of the pedaling. LOTS of ex pro XC guys on the top steps.

  6. #6
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Train View Post
    Disagree. I think at the top level, fitness IS the determining factor. Everyone is so good technically so then it's about getting the most out of the pedaling. LOTS of ex pro XC guys on the top steps.
    It is an interesting debate.

    I think, in North America at least, many underestimated the technical skill level of the top XC riders. The XC Pros on the podium not only have the fitness but they also have the skills to back up that fitness. I would hazard to say it is their skills not fitness that is putting them on the podium.

    However, raise the competition to higher level. At the Enduro world series, the difference between top level XC skills and top level gravity skills start to show. The guys (and girls) with an XC background still do well but they are a couple of steps off the podium.

    Who do you think would win in Endro race, Steve Smith of Nino Schuter? Nino is crazy fit and very skilled, where as Steve is crazy skilled and very fit. Even though I am XC racer at heart, I don't think it would be even close. Stevie would crush.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  7. #7
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    The US does not have technical courses like Europe and that is why the XC people can do well here. Nino would crush almost every course in here. Fitness is THE determining factor in our races.

  8. #8
    LMN
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    The courses in Europe are quite a bit more technical. Although the gravity specialist did dominate both of the Endro world series rounds that were in North America.

    The "determining factor" really depends on the rider. Consider two riders:

    1st Myself. I am generally pretty fit, not Pro XC racer fit, but point end of the Cat 1 field fit. I am also a pretty good going downhill. Still if decide I want to race Enduro (not sure I want to start gravity racing again) the best results are going to come from improving my ability to go downhill. Working on my ability to go uphill might help, but probably not.

    2nd ride. My brother in law. Six years ago he was one of the best downhillers in Canada. Represented Canada a couple times at World Championships and raced a lot of world cups. Good enough that when he finished racing he took the role as the national team coach. He is still crazy fast going downhill and thanks to some rather solid genetics is pretty fit despite the fact he only rides a couple of times a month.

    If he decides to race Enduro he would have to work on his fitness. At his current fitness level it would be the determining factor. He would have one or two good runs early on but would fade as the day went on.

    But it wouldn't take him long to get his fitness to the point where he could pin it for every run (as I said there is some good genes in his family). Once he reached that fitness level to do better he would have to do a lot of work to get his descending skills back to level they were 6 years ago.

    I still think that even on the less technical North American courses the top DH guys (Atherton, Smith, Gwinn) would be quicker then the top XC guys. As many people underestimate the fitness level of a top DHer as those who underestimate the technical skill level of a top XC racer.




    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    The US does not have technical courses like Europe and that is why the XC people can do well here. Nino would crush almost every course in here. Fitness is THE determining factor in our races.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  9. #9
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    Completely agree with you on the fitness levels of DH guys.

  10. #10
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    For me personally, having done the California Enduro and some Oregon enduro fitness seemed to be the limiting factor. The courses (even the "gnarly ones") don't tend to be that technically challenging (IMO).

    I can pin it down long technical trails all day long, but when you throw uphill climbs and flats you can drop a lot of time if you can power through that.

    You do need to have good handling skills. But once you have the skills down it seems like you can shed more time on small climbs and flats, instead of trying to shave 1 second over the course of 20 corners.

  11. #11
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    Guys any suggestions how to specialise on improving the technical skills? I'm in top shape but I'm still no where close to the downhill speed of the faster out of shape weekend warriors. Each time I start pushing it on the downhill I end up being sketchy and almost crashing/crashing to the point that it affected my confidence.

    Is there something I can do off the trail? I have a BMX bike and I intend to ride the pump track once a week. Does the pump track really improve technical skills that can be applied to the trail?

  12. #12
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    I'm not the bike handler I'd like to be either. But I think sessioning trails really helps. Do it once for an overview. Do it as many times as it takes/you have time for to ride everything on the trail, experiment with line selection and timing, try the 'A' and 'B' lines, everything. Then lap it a few times for flow.

    Another poster said something interesting a while ago: he's slower if he's pushing himself to go fast on a trail than if he just tries to be smooth and flowy. I think that's true for me too. That's not to say I won't pedal if there are sections where it pays some dividends. But I don't try to get through the parts that challenge my handling extra-fast anymore, that seems to usually just mean I brake at bad times and carry less speed by the time I exit a turn or whatever.

    A while ago, I also worked on wheelies, manuals and bunny hops. Just in a park, away from a trail. I think that was useful.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
    LMN
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    Sometimes it helps to build a chart of your strengths and weakness

    For instance: I would look something like this

    Compared to your competitors rank yourself on scale of 1 to 5. 1 being inferior, 3 being the same 5 being superior.

    Cornering: 4
    Single track speed: 5
    Steeps: 2
    Jumps and Drops: 1 (I should probably use negative numbers)
    Race Fitness, can pin it for a single run: 3
    Fatigue resistance, as strong at the end of the day you were at the beginning of the day: 4

    Looking at this to improve I obviously need to work on jumps and drops. This is a huge limiter for me, particularly as the trails become more jumpy. I also need to work on steep trails, I am quick on steep trails I know but need to get more comfortable attacking the steeps on trails that aren't as familiar.

    I also need to work on my race run fitness. Specifically I need to work on upper body fatigue resistance. On extended rough trails I really suffer, more than anything I would say this my greatest limiter.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by we78 View Post
    Guys any suggestions how to specialise on improving the technical skills? I'm in top shape but I'm still no where close to the downhill speed of the faster out of shape weekend warriors. Each time I start pushing it on the downhill I end up being sketchy and almost crashing/crashing to the point that it affected my confidence.

    Is there something I can do off the trail? I have a BMX bike and I intend to ride the pump track once a week. Does the pump track really improve technical skills that can be applied to the trail?
    Before I answer this I would like to understand your bike setup. Are you running a full XC setup and comparing to guys on AM set ups?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Before I answer this I would like to understand your bike setup. Are you running a full XC setup and comparing to guys on AM set ups?
    Sorry if it was confusing. I have a bunch of bikes. BMX, XC/Trail HT 29er and an AM bike.
    For racing/improving PR on enduro tracks I always ride my AM bike. My end goal is to be great on the AM bike. The other bikes are there to help me improve the skills.

    Some good advice here, thanks!

  16. #16
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    As far as getting better tech-wise, riding with faster dudes always helps. Just follow as best you can and you're bound to learn a ton. Time on the bike is probably the most important. Also, get ahold of the Fluidride video, it's got a bunch of good stuff on cornering and whatnot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Another poster said something interesting a while ago: he's slower if he's pushing himself to go fast on a trail than if he just tries to be smooth and flowy. I think that's true for me too. That's not to say I won't pedal if there are sections where it pays some dividends. But I don't try to get through the parts that challenge my handling extra-fast anymore, that seems to usually just mean I brake at bad times and carry less speed by the time I exit a turn or whatever.
    Somewhere a while back I came across a quote from Jerome Clementz about how important it is to carry speed when not pedaling - a combination of pumping the trial and not getting hung-up on things that take away speed and/or momentum.

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    Enduro Training Program

    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    Somewhere a while back I came across a quote from Jerome Clementz about how important it is to carry speed when not pedaling - a combination of pumping the trial and not getting hung-up on things that take away speed and/or momentum.
    Pumping is super important IMHO. I can catch up to someone pedaling just by pumping. It takes a ton less energy than pedaling.

  19. #19
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    I would agree pumping and flow are great skills to have. I plan on riding the flow trail we have in my area frequently this winter.

    I'm currently trying to figure out the most ideal intervals for "Enduro DH" Runs.
    I'm thinking that 3min, 8min, and 15/20min intervals will be ideals. Probably shooting for z5 for the 3min (all out) z4/5 for the 8min, and Z4/3 for the 15/20min interval.

    Anybody have any ideas or other techniques. I want to increase power and probably vo2 max for the descents.

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    Check out Enduro MTB Training | Elite Training & Performance Programs for the Enduro Racer and MTB rider for a comprehensive training approach that encompasses all of the topics you guys have covered.

  21. #21
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    There's this:


    6000 calories!

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