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  1. #1
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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    Hi
    In 4 months we have what they call an "All Mountain" league. Basically these are races on single track which usually take 3-8 minutes from start to finish on mostly descends and some flat ground. I guess its pretty much similiar to DH racing except the tracks are much less technical and mostly "flowy" with some technical elements here and there and are usually done on trail bikes.

    I did a few runs on these tracks and I usually get gassed out with my heart rate reaching maximal values. Obviously the training I'm doing doesn't suite sprints.
    At the moment I'm about 10-20 seconds short from the first place in my category.
    I usually ride 5 times a week with about 1/2 rides being long cross country rides of about 40km and the rest are on single track with emphasis on having more fun as opposed to beating records. I'm sure that if I build some sprint specific fitness I can beat those guys.

    Any suggestions are welcome, thanks!

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    6x3 in z5. You can mix that in a longer z2 ride maybe throw in some 1 or 2 min efforts in high z5 after too.

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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    I'd have thought that a mixture of the training that you'd do for BMX racing, which is very short and intense, and maybe track pursuit training would do the trick.

    Finding any sensible links on what exactly to do has been proving harder than I thought it would though. Try googling on something like "BMX Sprint training" for some links.

    http://www.bmxtreme.com/articles/livetowin.htm

    If you look at what you're doing during the 3-8 minutes it isn't going to be a steady effort. It's going to be more like sprint for 10 to 20 seconds - pause pedalling (corner, jump, obstacle etc) - sprint for 10 to 20 seconds - pause pedalling (corner, jump, obstacle etc) and so on. I'd probably try and repeat that in training too, short explosive efforts close together repeated multiple times.

    A portion of that sprint work should probably be done from a standing start or low speed trackstand also, in order to simulate getting a good race start.

    Along with that sort of sprint work doing some more traditional intervals with the work period around your race duration, with a short break in between each one should help too. 3 to 5 minute length intervals repeated 5 or 6 times with a 2 minute break between each interval perhaps.

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    Vo2 workout above good. I would think about a micro-burst workout. 10s all out sprint, 20s recovery. Try to get 5min's in (10 sprints), recover for 5-10m and repeat. Help you to get used to multiple /repeated accelerations out of corners.

    Maybe vo2 on tuesday & microburst thurs.

    Thinking about it - event is highly aenorobic- maybe tues & thurs microburst

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    Thanks guys, awesome tips. I will get to training so I can kick ass!

  6. #6
    LMN
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    If you look at the energy systems involved you will find that 3-8 minute efforts are not that much different then 1.5hr race or even 12hr races. Yes, the intensity is different but they are all mainly aerobic efforts. With that in mind how you train for a 3-8 minute race actually has a lot of similarities to how you train for an XC race. This is why most good Pro-down hiller are a lot faster on an XC bike then most of the people posting on this forum.

    I am working with a couple of Enduro races. Their winter training looks pretty similar to XC racer. Their is differences, they do a lot more upper body work, but 80% of their winter training is no different.

    When the season starts the Enduro rider will be doing work more specific. But workouts are actually pretty similar. IE an XC racer might do 4x4 minutes best effort on a steep climb, where as an Enduro rider might do 4x4 best effort on a descent.

    If you are looking for a good training model, read up on how a 1500m runner trains. The duration of their event is very similar to yours.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    If you look at the energy systems involved you will find that 3-8 minute efforts are not that much different then 1.5hr race or even 12hr races. Yes, the intensity is different but they are all mainly aerobic efforts. With that in mind how you train for a 3-8 minute race actually has a lot of similarities to how you train for an XC race. This is why most good Pro-down hiller are a lot faster on an XC bike then most of the people posting on this forum.

    I am working with a couple of Enduro races. Their winter training looks pretty similar to XC racer. Their is differences, they do a lot more upper body work, but 80% of their winter training is no different.

    When the season starts the Enduro rider will be doing work more specific. But workouts are actually pretty similar. IE an XC racer might do 4x4 minutes best effort on a steep climb, where as an Enduro rider might do 4x4 best effort on a descent.

    If you are looking for a good training model, read up on how a 1500m runner trains. The duration of their event is very similar to yours.
    I don't even want to go there...

    Specificity - I would take some of these tips on CX race preperation before comparing to longer events

    Coach's Column - Shift Your Training From Mountain Bike to Cyclocross and Back Again

    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/(X...yclo-Cross.pdf

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    LMN
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    I have spent more than a little bit of time studying the demand of gravity racing. I have coached riders to national titles in DH and my brother-in-law is currently the Canadian National Downhill coach.

    Some of the things that have been noted:
    -DH racing is mainly an aerobic event. (approximately 75% of the energy comes from aerobic system)
    -the commonly held model of micro burst is incorrect. When a DH racer is not pedaling they expending the same power to maneuver the bike. This means a DH race is best approximated by a 4 minute flat out effort. (BTW this is the issue with Hunter analysis of a CX race, he doesn't consider the fitness demands of maneuvering a bike).

    As for CX I have also coached riders to wins in the Elite Category at UCI races. Their preparation for cross season is very similar to how racers prep for a XC season.

    All the displines (DH, CX, XC, and Road) require specific training. However, there is a lot of overlap in how you train for them. The "base" training for all of them looks surprisingly similar however as the season progresses the training for each become very specific.






    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I don't even want to go there...

    Specificity - I would take some of these tips on CX race preperation before comparing to longer events

    Coach's Column - Shift Your Training From Mountain Bike to Cyclocross and Back Again

    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/(X...yclo-Cross.pdf
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  9. #9
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    In for some good info.. I am looking for the same knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I have spent more than a little bit of time studying the demand of gravity racing. I have coached riders to national titles in DH and my brother-in-law is currently the Canadian National Downhill coach.

    Some of the things that have been noted:
    -DH racing is mainly an aerobic event. (approximately 75% of the energy comes from aerobic system)
    -the commonly held model of micro burst is incorrect. When a DH racer is not pedaling they expending the same power to maneuver the bike. This means a DH race is best approximated by a 4 minute flat out effort. (BTW this is the issue with Hunter analysis of a CX race, he doesn't consider the fitness demands of maneuvering a bike).

    As for CX I have also coached riders to wins in the Elite Category at UCI races. Their preparation for cross season is very similar to how racers prep for a XC season.

    All the displines (DH, CX, XC, and Road) require specific training. However, there is a lot of overlap in how you train for them. The "base" training for all of them looks surprisingly similar however as the season progresses the training for each become very specific.
    Sounds good, plenty of experience, you did a lot of typing, you are saying all the right things. But, did you give the OP any thing of any substinance?

    "If you are looking for a good training model, read up on how a 1500m runner trains. The duration of their event is very similar to yours." really?

    we78 - My post from last off-season - see daveryanwyoming response - as you get close to your 'key' event you want training to match demands of sport.
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

    Before stepping up to "race specific" workouts do something like these:
    How to Rebuild Your Power Foundation ~ Hunter Allen Power Blog

    "(BTW this is the issue with Hunter analysis of a CX race, he doesn't consider the fitness demands of maneuvering a bike)." I thought that's what skills/bike handling drills/trail riding was for.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    If you look at the energy systems involved you will find that 3-8 minute efforts are not that much different then 1.5hr race or even 12hr races. Yes, the intensity is different but they are all mainly aerobic efforts. With that in mind how you train for a 3-8 minute race actually has a lot of similarities to how you train for an XC race. This is why most good Pro-down hiller are a lot faster on an XC bike then most of the people posting on this forum.

    I am working with a couple of Enduro races. Their winter training looks pretty similar to XC racer. Their is differences, they do a lot more upper body work, but 80% of their winter training is no different.

    When the season starts the Enduro rider will be doing work more specific. But workouts are actually pretty similar. IE an XC racer might do 4x4 minutes best effort on a steep climb, where as an Enduro rider might do 4x4 best effort on a descent.

    If you are looking for a good training model, read up on how a 1500m runner trains. The duration of their event is very similar to yours.
    Agreed. When I was reading the other suggestions, I was thinking "where's the base training?". Base training just seems to give you somewhere to go when the season is half year away.
    Head Coach, Ben Lomond HS MTB Team
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    Any good places to find some base training? I'm training for an enduro race next summer and at this point I can ride 10-15 miles of singletrack everyday no prob, but my pure sprint is maybe 3-4 minutes max and then i'm just dead.

    I've been thinking of trying to build in a running regiment to go along w/ my riding schedule. I feel like my lungs are just not up to it.. the joys of being 29 yrs old. haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkidd_39 View Post
    Any good places to find some base training? I'm training for an enduro race next summer and at this point I can ride 10-15 miles of singletrack everyday no prob, but my pure sprint is maybe 3-4 minutes max and then i'm just dead.

    I've been thinking of trying to build in a running regiment to go along w/ my riding schedule. I feel like my lungs are just not up to it.. the joys of being 29 yrs old. haha
    Maybe these will help

    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Ar...20Training.pdf

    http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/fe..._Power_Nov.pdf

    How to Rebuild Your Power Foundation ~ Hunter Allen Power Blog

    another angle pending on your time available
    Richard Westwood: Winter Bike Training - Key Workouts

    See daveryanwyoming response below- notice his 'specific/detailed advice' (ie no generalizations / broad sweeping comments), as you get close to your first race you want training to match demands of sport.
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

  14. #14
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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Agreed. When I was reading the other suggestions, I was thinking "where's the base training?". Base training just seems to give you somewhere to go when the season is half year away.
    My reading of the original post, and previous threads, was that we78 has been increasing the volume, riding 5 days per week and doing more miles already. Making the base training largely a given and the starting point to then give suggestions for sharpening up from.

    Post #70 with the quote about the German pursuit track team's training regime for base training:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/xc-racing-tra...l#post10774184

    There's a TV program called "The Cycle Show" that's been on ITV4 in the UK for the last few summers. In it they have guests from various cycling disciplines (road, track, mountain bike, cyclocross, BMX, touring etc) come in to be interviewed. At the end of each program they have a short roller race between the guests with the times being entered onto a leaderboard, essentially a short sprint lasting about 30 seconds. It was quite interesting because you have these elite riders and professionals and it was the BMXers who had the best sprint, often by a long way. Now that's a shorter duration than a 3 to 8 minute race but if you want to improve your sprint and explosive power I'd be looking towards what they're doing training wise.

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    This has some similarity to an older thread regarding getting good starts, which are co-incidentally around the first 3-8 minutes of the race. Someone here wisely said that instead of working on fast starts, get faster overall and the starts will take care of themselves. I think that's pretty much stated in the posts above, I'm just agreeing and saying it a different way; you're not looking to be a sprinter, you're looking to get stronger and faster.

    Another thing that I think is very important in such a short race is your warm-up. Bring a road bike, or just a road wheel to put on your mtb and use a trainer for a good warmup (like all the faster guys in cx and xc do). I find my starts are a lot better if I'm warmed up, if I'm not warmed up it takes 10-15 minutes for me to start feeling fast.

    Come to think of it, in my best start last spring I brought a road wheel to put on my mtb and a trainer, and did a 'proper' 10 minute warmup as close as I could to start time. A minute or so after the start, I actually thought "why is everyone going so slow?" as I pulled off the front. Last cx race a little over a week ago, I did not do a proper warm up, and with the cold weather I was having trouble keeping warm at the start line, I felt like crap the first lap, then after about 10min I started feeling better (warmed up) and did some passing for a decent finish. -Cyclocross racing will help your starts too.

  16. #16
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    This is pretty rough and pretty basic, but it is a starting point.

    (1) First develop your aerobic engine. There is many different ways to do this but most will say that long steady rides are the best starting point. Perhaps start with two 4 weeks training blocks. Shoot for 8-10hrs of aerobic training per-week. Spend 2-4hrs doing functional strength workouts, Crossfit might be a good fit for this. During the last week of each block reduce your training load.

    (2) Two-4 week blocks developing specific skills and fitness. Keep your riding volume the same or perhaps even increase it. Add two or three intensity workouts a week. I would do these as DH runs for specific training. There is some excellent suggestions as to what those intensity workouts might look like posted in this thread.

    (3) Race season. Have fun. Make sure you ride lots to maintain the fitness work you have done.

    Really though you need to either
    (a) Hire a coach
    (b) Get a couple of books on training and develop your own training program.a
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Jkid
    I guess a good question would be "how many hours a week do you have"?

    Another - you can train outdoors all off season?

    I was able to step up to the "next level" by focusing on #2 in article below - no coach (but, what else would you expec a 'coach' to say .,. It's not that complicated?)
    Hunter Allen Power Blog: The Next Level

    If you are interested in a book with emphasizing modern training methods - print date 2012 (here we go - a recommendation, not just a broad comment)
    Hunter Allens Cutting Edge Cycling
    Note: book does contain content on SST and HIT in off-season

    PS: concerning base training - some people have LSD on the brain - pun intended

    Cutting-Edge Cycling:Amazon:Books

  18. #18
    LMN
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    I think the link you posted by Hunter Allen is excellent. Although generally, I am not overly fond of Hunters work. I think his programs/suggestions are too hard and lead inconstant training.

    Jkid as for books:

    Here is a lot:
    Amazon.com: VeloPress: Books about Cycling Training

    Personally I would get a couple. You will find that there is a lot of different training philosophies out there. You need to decided which one or combination works for you. I would start with:
    1. The cyclist training bible
    2. The time crouched cyclist (just ignore the author, the book it self isn't that bad)
    3. Weight training for cyclist
    4. Cutting-Edge Cycling (the one scottz123 recommended)





    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    Jkid
    I guess a good question would be "how many hours a week do you have"?

    Another - you can train outdoors all off season?

    I was able to step up to the "next level" by focusing on #2 in article below - no coach (but, what else would you expec a 'coach' to say .,. It's not that complicated?)
    Hunter Allen Power Blog: The Next Level

    If you are interested in a book with emphasizing modern training methods - print date 2012 (here we go - a recommendation, not just a broad comment)
    Hunter Allens Cutting Edge Cycling
    Note: book does contain content on SST and HIT in off-season

    PS: concerning base training - some people have LSD on the brain - pun intended

    Cutting-Edge Cycling:Amazon:Books
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  19. #19
    LMN
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    Since I am getting so much grief from scottz123 about not posting something of substance

    Here is some thing I put together

    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

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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post

    I will leave that for another time.
    Papa!!! More info!!

    That is great info. I planned on a training plan very similar for 4-6weeks and then starting to integrate some DH type training. 4-8 intervals with 5-10 minutes rest in between.

    I will be getting a trainer for Xmas so that will allow me some flexibility to my program.

    Thanks for the knowledge.

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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    Jkid
    I guess a good question would be "how many hours a week do you have"?

    Another - you can train outdoors all off season?
    I would like to dedicate 2hrs a night to training. Whether it be trainer or trail.

    I'm in Nw Arkansas so outside of this highly unusual 8 inches of snow we got this weekend I can pretty much ride whenever. We have been riding down to 25 degrees. I rode a few miles yesterday in fresh powder and it was 15 degrees.

    I prefer the cold weather for riding. I have lots of gold gear given I used to work outdoors year round.

    If I start to waiver on riding if say I have a breakdown on my bike I will supplement this training with cardio at the gym. I see huge gains doing interval training on the treadmill.

    This doesn't help my bike training per say but it makes a huge difference on my lung capacity.

    Just for info to you guys. I'm 6'3" 285. I am planning on doing an enduro of sorts. It's a 1 time timed event. It's a mix of climbs and dh. It is 6.15miles iirc.

    Here is a video from last years event.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKJgayrrFK0

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkidd_39 View Post
    I would like to dedicate 2hrs a night to training. Whether it be trainer or trail.

    I'm in Nw Arkansas so outside of this highly unusual 8 inches of snow we got this weekend I can pretty much ride whenever. We have been riding down to 25 degrees. I rode a few miles yesterday in fresh powder and it was 15 degrees.

    I prefer the cold weather for riding. I have lots of gold gear given I used to work outdoors year round.

    If I start to waiver on riding if say I have a breakdown on my bike I will supplement this training with cardio at the gym. I see huge gains doing interval training on the treadmill.

    This doesn't help my bike training per say but it makes a huge difference on my lung capacity.

    Just for info to you guys. I'm 6'3" 285. I am planning on doing an enduro of sorts. It's a 1 time timed event. It's a mix of climbs and dh. It is 6.15miles iirc.

    Here is a video from last years event.
    Eureka Springs Fat Tire Festival 2013 - Super D - YouTube
    Sounds like on your DH type events you are competitive.

    Your weight will work against you on climbs.
    TrainingPeaks | Power Profiling

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Since I am getting so much grief from scottz123 about not posting something of substance

    Here is some thing I put together

    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.
    Wow! Good Stuff!

  24. #24
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    How to best prepare to 3-8 min sprints?

    There's a little in this Pinkbike interview with Dan Atherton about how he's adjusted his training to deal with going from downhill racing to enduro racing:


    PB: As a family you talk a lot about your training programmes, does enduro mean your programme is very different to Gee and Rachel?

    Dan Atherton: It is very different. This is the first year it has been different. We're still going away in the winter on training camps together, but Gee and Rach never ride cross-country. They'll never do anything for more than an hour really, just because it's such a sprint discipline in downhill. It's short and intense and you've got to be trained at 100%, there's no point training at 75% because every world cup is 100%. It's got to be short and it's got to be intense, but enduro is not 100%, it's a little bit off. Your training needs to be a bit longer and bit broader.

    PB: Has the focus of your gym work shifted too?

    Dan Atherton: That's changed massively, and I think if you ask Gravesy, I'm sure he'll say the same. You've got a lot of power left over from all those years training for 4X, so you've got to keep on top of that so you've still got that advantage, but definitely cutting down on the weight and going up on the reps. Just going up on the length of rides is the big one. I still struggle with long rides, definitely.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Dan-Ath...view-2013.html

    .

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