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  1. #1
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    1 Hour XC race training vs. Marathon XC 5-8 hour training

    Would there be any real difference in training for one or the other? I'm hoping to race the longer events instead of the shorter ones and wonder which is the best way to train. Thanks.

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    Start cranking 6+ saddle hours at this time of the year.

    And yes, there is a huge difference.

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    Anything more than 2.5 - 3 hours is a huge difference from a 1 hour race in my opinion. Pacing really comes into play and you will suffer if you are unable to do so. Your intensity must be considerably lower in a marathon race than an XC race. Training wise you must ride at a lower intensity and put some long rides in your schedule.

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    All the training principles are the same, you are just going to emphasize different ones. You need to do long rides on a consistent basis, progressively longer as you build your ability to "go long," and you also ought to consider harder efforts which are lower in intensity compared to when training for an hour long race--but which are much longer.

    I trained for the Cohutta 100 last spring and was riding a total of 7-8 hours most weekends, about 2/3+ of that time was on Saturday, and I was also throwing in hour long to hour and a half long zone 3 efforts during long rides toward the end of my training to simulate race pace. I don't think I did any zone 5 (VO2 max) intervals, but during the week I would doing some zone 4 lactate threshold workouts (maybe 2 x 20 minutes) thrown in the middle of rides which were 1.5 to 2 hours long.

    Same principles, different emphasis, because the qualities that will allow you to succeed in a marathon are different from those that will allow you to succeed in a one hour event.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies. This is what I suspected. Do you now of any marathon specific training programs online?

  6. #6
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    Gatorbacks post has the info your asking for .

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    The BC bike race has a pretty good training program up (free):
    http://www.bcbikerace.com/Training/Programs/

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    cheers
    Pagey

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    One thing that strikes me about this question is how effectively mountain bike racers can race in both disciplines with relatively similar training. Obviously to really specialize in one type of race and do well, you'd have to focus the training appropriately, but can you imagine serious 5 and 10 k racers doing a fall marathon just for something different, or for an end of season lark?

    It's one of the aspects of cycling/mountain biking that I really like the best. Training for and recovering from marathon type mountain bike efforts requires less of the single-mindedness and specific taper/peak/recovery process that running a marathon does

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSCoach2
    One thing that strikes me about this question is how effectively mountain bike racers can race in both disciplines with relatively similar training.
    The Monod Power/Duration curve would predict that to be true. Train to improve 1-hour power and the entire curve is improved... including 5hr+ power.

    Issues with 5hr+ is being able to sit on the bike that long.. kinda need long rides for that. Fueling becomes a larger element as well.

    I would agree with others that pacing is monumental.

  11. #11
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    Switched

    I've been switching over to endurance for the past year and a half. My training stayed almost the same with the addition of a good pace 4 hour ride once a week and an occasional 6 hour day. My coach is a firm believer that training over 6 hours is a waste of time, as no real gains occur, and the recovery time is too great. A wise man who posts on this forum said it best. The fastest man for 1.5 hours will still typically be the fastest for 24 as far as fitness is concerned. You need to still do the VO2's and threshold work, as power to weight is still what dicates the fastest person.

    The difference comes in the mental aspect, bike fit, and getting your body (joints, butt, hands, etc) accustomed to long hours in the saddle. I was training for a 18 hour loop and a 24 hour solo. The 4 hour rides once a week, with a 6 hour ride once every 6 weeks was enough so that my body still felt like a million bucks. Also, I knew that my food was dialed, I had the confidence my body would hold up, and I figured out the pace i could sustain.

    I was foiled at Moab by a bad decision. I wore a different pair of shoes that didn't have enough float on the left side and tweaked me knee. I bring this up, because it's the key to long rides. Getting your food and equipment dialed during those 4+ hour training rides will keep you from finding a nice surprise. I wore those shoes for every XC race and many 2 hour training rides, but never on my long days in the saddle. If I had, I would have figured out the problem.

    Being married with babies, training time is minimal. I was still fairly competitive on 8 to 10 hours of riding a week. No I wasn't going to give the pros (Tostado, Draugelis, Ernesto, etc) much of a fight, but I was in with the top guys who have a day job until my knee said no mas at hour 20.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    I've been switching over to endurance for the past year and a half. My training stayed almost the same with the addition of a good pace 4 hour ride once a week and an occasional 6 hour day. My coach is a firm believer that training over 6 hours is a waste of time, as no real gains occur, and the recovery time is too great. A wise man who posts on this forum said it best. The fastest man for 1.5 hours will still typically be the fastest for 24 as far as fitness is concerned. You need to still do the VO2's and threshold work, as power to weight is still what dicates the fastest person.

    The difference comes in the mental aspect, bike fit, and getting your body (joints, butt, hands, etc) accustomed to long hours in the saddle. I was training for a 18 hour loop and a 24 hour solo. The 4 hour rides once a week, with a 6 hour ride once every 6 weeks was enough so that my body still felt like a million bucks. Also, I knew that my food was dialed, I had the confidence my body would hold up, and I figured out the pace i could sustain.

    I was foiled at Moab by a bad decision. I wore a different pair of shoes that didn't have enough float on the left side and tweaked me knee. I bring this up, because it's the key to long rides. Getting your food and equipment dialed during those 4+ hour training rides will keep you from finding a nice surprise. I wore those shoes for every XC race and many 2 hour training rides, but never on my long days in the saddle. If I had, I would have figured out the problem.

    Being married with babies, training time is minimal. I was still fairly competitive on 8 to 10 hours of riding a week. No I wasn't going to give the pros (Tostado, Draugelis, Ernesto, etc) much of a fight, but I was in with the top guys who have a day job until my knee said no mas at hour 20.
    Could you give us an example of what and how you stayed fueled during an event like that? I'm not the fastest on my team, but I always seem to be able to go forever. This year I have the decision to see if I wanna ride sport class or endurance. I have never thought about eating during a race, just gel packs and a camel back. But I'd love to get a good idea of exactly how you do it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to know. Do you use a support crew? What do you drink? What kind of foods? How do you store it all?
    Trestle Bridge Racing

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikescott1
    Would there be any real difference in training for one or the other? I'm hoping to race the longer events instead of the shorter ones and wonder which is the best way to train. Thanks.
    I kinda like turning the training year a bit upside down for an endurance focus. Start with a base, build power and speed, then add in longer intervals with a short session once or twice a week spent maintaining your speed. As you get closer to the race season start doing longer rides. Always do a bit of fast stuff just add in the long stuff, and I personally dont think you need to go over 4 or 5 hrs (not often anyway). Do a hard session to start a long ride then switch to a pace to take you through the rest of the ride.

    And always get a good nights sleep.
    G`Night zzzzzz
    Cheers, Dave

  14. #14
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    Fuel

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrower4g63
    Could you give us an example of what and how you stayed fueled during an event like that? I'm not the fastest on my team, but I always seem to be able to go forever. This year I have the decision to see if I wanna ride sport class or endurance. I have never thought about eating during a race, just gel packs and a camel back. But I'd love to get a good idea of exactly how you do it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to know. Do you use a support crew? What do you drink? What kind of foods? How do you store it all?
    Endurance is a different world. In XC, everything is critical during the race...one bad pass, one missed pass, one broken chain, one crash, or just needing a while to warm up are critical and can mean success or failure. So much rests on a brief amount of time. I like that kind of racing for the adrenaline, and the way that it just falls into place sometimes. It's also very stressful for me.

    The long stuff is a giant engineering problem. You spend a month trying to figure out all the tiny details...packing...unpacking. how many calories what kind of food, how much water, how much lighting, what clothing, what pace to sustain, etc. When the race starts, anything can happen. I felt like crap for 5 hours in the middle of VT125 this year (stomach issues) after 4 hours of feeling great. I then recovered and felt like a fresh XC racer for the next 5. You can have a bad spell and then perservere. The year before, I snapped my chain in two, and was happy about it, as I could take a much needed break to fix it. It's more about toughness and sticking with it as well as great preparation. Of course, small details like my shoe issue can also bite you hard. I lost 6 spots and fell out of the top 10 because of that fricken knee. That could have..and should have been avoided, but there is sooooo fricken much to think about as you are out there, that some obvious things slip by.

    Fueling:
    For a XC race to 4.5 hour marathon, I'm just drinking sports drink and eating gel blocks. From 5 to 8 hours, I'm adding oatmeal cookies, banana bread, snickers, and maybe a PB&J. In a really long race, you will not be going at such a pace that you cannot stomach real food.

    As far as fuel, I have a few basic rules of thumb that dictates everything else.

    1) One 28 oz bottle of fluid per hour
    2) 300 to 350 calories of something per hour
    3) Real food at least every 4 hours (when doing all day rides)
    4) Never more than 600 calories of real food at a time
    5) Plenty of Electrolites
    6) No red bull...makes my stomach shut down


    For the VT125, 18 hour (16 this year as it was shortened due to weather) you have aid stations with great food scattered about. 1st one at 3.5 hours (Breakfast burritos, coffee), 2nd 5 hours later (pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, coffee), 3rd 1.5 hours later (ramen, sandwiches, cookies, coke), 4th 1.5 hours later (soup and sandwich, cookies, coke), 5th 2.5 hours later (soup, sandwich, cookies, coke).

    At 24 HOM, I was doing day laps at 1hr 20 min, and night laps at 1hr 45 min. Ater the first four hours I ate ramen, chicken noodle soup, PB&J, coke, banana bread, etc, every other lap.

    In between real food, I have a bento box on my top tube with powerbar gel blasts, or cliff blocks (I cannot eat gels ever). On the bike, I will either have water or endurox (I find endurox tasted better than perpetuem and has the same basic makeup) based upon what I just ate. If I ate 300+ calories worth of real food, then I just drink water for an hour as I cannot digest any more calories. Once that hour is up, I'll have a bottle with 250 calories (drink one per hour) of Endurox and eat caffiniated gel blocks (up to 100 calories per hour) for the next few hours, or until I get real food again.

    Storage:
    As far as storage, it's a no brainer for lap races. 2 bottles on the bike, bento box on the top tube, and no weight on my body. Clothing is all I put in my jersey pockets. For the VT125, it starts at 10:00 PM so in a light weight pack I have 8 hours of batteries, 2 lighting systems, 5 hours of food (fill in between aid stations), 3 hours of water (+2 on the bike for the long 5 hour stretch) warm clothing (It goes up to 13,000 feet around dawn), first aid, 2 tubes, 3 big airs, and TP. It was real tricky this year, as it was raining and snowing at the race start, so we all had to bring an ungodly amount of warm clothes as we headed into the unknown. 12 hours in there is a drop bag, so I can ditch the lights and batteries, and replenish.

    Support:
    There is no support crew for the VT125 other than the most amazing volunteers you will ever meet at the aid stations(Dave Wiens, Fixie Dave, etc). Thye make you food, refill your bottles, and lube your chain while you eat their food. For 24 HOM and future 24 hour races, I'll have my wife and her sister. They are a great team, and alot of fun out there.
    Last edited by used2Bhard; 11-04-2009 at 07:56 AM.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  15. #15
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    A guy I met at a cross race said he uses Boost for marathon racing.

  16. #16
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    That's bs flargle.

    Read The endurance athlete's guide for success for the bases of fueling.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotta Know
    That's bs flargle.

    Read The endurance athlete's guide for success for the bases of fueling.
    What exactly is wrong with Boost?

  18. #18
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    Thats good information. Are your amounts based on your body weight, or just what you've figured out works over the years?
    Trestle Bridge Racing

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle
    What exactly is wrong with Boost?
    Nothing if you're going for sub-hour rides. Anything longer and ... I'll let you find out on your own ...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotta Know
    Nothing if you're going for sub-hour rides. Anything longer and ... I'll let you find out on your own ...
    Don't be a douche. What is wrong with it?

  21. #21
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    trial and error

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrower4g63
    Thats good information. Are your amounts based on your body weight, or just what you've figured out works over the years?

    Pretty much what works for me. I've always done the 28 oz of fluid per hour, but in XC, I would usually only get 200 to 250 calories in per hour due to the intensity - usually half in the bottle, half with blocks. When I started doing longer rides, I played around with different food/perpetuem/etc, and some stuff made me sick, some worked... I've bonked, had sick stomach, sloshing water, dehydration, you name it.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    Pretty much what works for me. I've always done the 28 oz of fluid per hour, but in XC, I would usually only get 200 to 250 calories in per hour due to the intensity - usually half in the bottle, half with blocks. When I started doing longer rides, I played around with different food/perpetuem/etc, and some stuff made me sick, some worked... I've bonked, had sick stomach, sloshing water, dehydration, you name it.
    Thanks for filling me in with all of that. Its good stuff to know!
    Trestle Bridge Racing

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    Thanks for all the replies to my original post!

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    One thing you might want to consider if training specifically for endurance races is reverse periodization. That is, hit your Vo2 and higher intensity stuff early, transfer over to long rides, and then build the intensity you can hold those long rides at up to your goal event.

  25. #25
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    Pit Crew for Multi Lap Events

    I found I just don't have time to do longer rides. Also new to Solo 24 hr races. Did 3 years now.
    Pacing is important. I like to use my heart rate monitor, but just as a general guidline as terrain can force you to ride a bit harder than you would likeat some points.

    I had the best pit crew my last race and even with poor weather and no brakes one lap and no shifting for 2 laps I did 2 more laps than my previous best. This was the first time I had mechanical issues and major ones at that !
    My crew was always ready with food, encouragment and mechanical repairs. Without them I would have probably quit half way through with all the mechanicals.

    I had planned for Gatorade and gels for a lot of my nurishment but ended up forgetting the gel 550kms away ! !
    I ate a mixed bowl of fruit pieces my crew had cut up for me for most of the race with no problems. So I kind of discovered a great way to fuel for me by accident.
    I did have a bit of soup, potatos and other food every 4 laps or so.
    Also after the first lap I told my crew to just ad the bit I had left in my bottle to another and they thought I meant it was too strong. I kept drinking this very watered down Gatoraide and I never said much til the morning with about 2 laps left and they figured out the mis-understanding. Go figure...

    At any rate no matter how hard you train you should try get a pit crew that knows what your needs are and that know you enough to try work things out on the fly. Could make or break a good race

    Cheers,
    Paul

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