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  1. #1
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    Advice for setting up a training program

    I know this gets asked a lot but i'm pretty stuck. I want to set up a training program for xc racing. Our races are all about an hour and a half. I can realistically go out about 4 or 5 times a week for roughly an hour at a time. Maybe 2 hours once on the weekend. What I really need is some sort of framework to go by. I can find lots of info on interval training, road work, technical work but I don't know how to put it together into a plan. Should I do one interval training session, one road session, one technical session and a fast trail ride per week? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    LMN
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    No matter what level you race at there are three variable to play with: Frequency, duration, and intensity.

    The first thing you have to get right is the frequency. I would start with riding 5 times a week for at least an hour each time. Get in the habit of riding consistently. Mountain biking has a lot of natural intensity, so there isn't really a need to add intensity until later in your program. Duration will need to be increased with training but don't be in a hurry.

    Sticking to a training plan can be quite tough. That is why I recommend to start off focusing on frequency. It is amazing the difference riding 5 days a week for a couple of months makes.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  3. #3
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    If you're like most of us and not a top cat1 finisher, you probably don't have to over-think it. Like stated above, ride as much as you can, regularly with few days off between rides (my maximum is 2 days off between rides). I think one of the better 'strategies', especially as we age, is staying fit through the winter. I shake my head when I remember how quickly I could get fast when I was in my early 20s, I could take the winter off and be fast again in just a couple of months, I don't think that happens in mid/late 40s, so I try really hard now to stay fit over the winter. We have a lots of 35-45degree days, so it's doable here.
    Don't lose the fun-factor; if it stays fun it will be easy to stick with, if you get so serious that you lose the fun, it will be hard to maintain your schedule.
    Find some guys to ride with that push your pace and kick your ass regularly. I have found that to be about the best way to get faster. It's also a lot easier in poor weather if you have some friends help motivate you to get out and ride.

    I have about the same hours per week as you, and did similar distance races last winter/spring. Long hills are great for workouts, but if you have to drive 40 min (like I do) to get to a long hill, it's not all that practical. I did well with our shorter races by training on a 20-25 minute trail loop near my house with several short hard hills. The smaller race series I did had very few longer climbs, so my training loop was perfect for those races; lots of short hard efforts and short recoveries. I was/am doing a longer ride on Sunday morning, plus a longer ride on Wed night (after work since it gets dark late now), I can also squeeze in a lunch break hour ride 2 or 3 times a week during the day. I did a longer 5:30 am road ride last week with some road guys I know, I can really see the value of the fast group road ride, so I'm setting the alarm for 4:45 again tomorrow (and skipping the evening ride).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    No matter what level you race at there are three variable to play with: Frequency, duration, and intensity.
    I would add diet as well, and that being the most important one!

  5. #5
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    if youre limited to one hour a day, try doing some intervals.

    2x20's ( 10 minute warm-up, 20 min @ zone 4 HR, 5 min rest, repeat...cool down)

    5x5's (15 min warm-up, 5 min @ zone 5 HR, 5 min rest, repeat 4 more times, cool down).

    do these twice a week, unless youre currently racing, then you might only do them once a week. Along with some easy rides in between.

    When doing these, make sure youre well rested and staying on top of your nutrition.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the input guys. I appreciate it

  7. #7
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    Just curious. I have trying to increase my training but I am having trouble with leg soreness/fatigue not going away. Even after an off day they feel week. It takes a few days to get back 100%. Any ideas??.?.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazj View Post
    Just curious. I have trying to increase my training but I am having trouble with leg soreness/fatigue not going away. Even after an off day they feel week. It takes a few days to get back 100%. Any ideas??.?.
    This is pretty typical when you have too high a combo of volume/intensity going for a long time.

    The key is to schedule in some easier days within the week, and an easier week within the month to let your legs repair (and be stronger).

    Changing things up seems to work well for me (race, long medium- intensity ride, intervals, short and easy ride, etc.). The long-medium rides seem to work best for me, especially if i can get three or four 2-3 hours rides in per week. Riding the same way every time I ride gets me no where.
    Head Coach, Ben Lomond HS MTB Team
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    http://www.roostersbikersedge.com/

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    Hi chazj.
    I've experienced this. What I've learnt is that you have to look at training as an ongoing process over years. Trying to rush things leads to fatigue and time off to recover. Do hard workouts but learn all you can about rest, recovery and signs of general wellbeing. Listen to your body and curb your enthusiasm sometimes. As is oft repeated, consistency is the key to overall gains.

  10. #10
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    “It doesn’t get any easier; you just go faster.” — Greg LeMond

    Training hurts and you are going to be sore, and you are going to have to train through the pain!
    But, you do need a break every once in while. I find when I am in the middle of an intense training period, if I do a recovery ride one day (about an hour at grandma pace!) and the next day I do completely nothing - I feel like I have have new legs.

  11. #11
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    Advice for setting up a training program

    For many years I made my own plans based on books by Friel etc... But now use trainingpeaks with specific purchased plans and a GPS/HRM for much better results, even with time limitations. The good thing I found of trainingpeaks is the graphing provides great motivation and you can follow your progress in an analytical way and manage your fatigue.

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