Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 39
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    30

    How many hours training needed to compete at a good level?

    Guys,

    I posted this in the endurance section, not realising that that endurance means real endurance, lol. Anyways I was advised to post here so...

    Simple question really, how many hours do you guys that compete spend training generally per week.

    I'm totally new to racing and just curious what the usual training load in terms of duration is like for the average mtb xc racer? I'm a family man with a full time job and a part time business so my time is limited and I'm wondering if I will be able to get anywhere near the training levels of other competitors!

    Oh yeah and the races I'm hoping to compete in are all under 1.5 hours.

    I have juts bought, The Time-crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week Time-Crunched Athlete: Amazon.co.uk: Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg: Books

    but I'm curious to know how much of a disadvantage someone who can only train 6 hours per week is at compared to those who train much longer, assuming com[eting in XC 1.5hr races?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    113
    I trained about 6-8 hours a week and it was good enough to get me in top podium spots in Women's Sport last year. I spent about the same amount of time this past season training for Women's Elite and it was not enough to compete at that level.
    Angie
    Check out my website!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    427
    Quote Originally Posted by Fooksache View Post
    Guys,

    I posted this in the endurance section, not realising that that endurance means real endurance, lol. Anyways I was advised to post here so...

    Simple question really, how many hours do you guys that compete spend training generally per week.

    I'm totally new to racing and just curious what the usual training load in terms of duration is like for the average mtb xc racer? I'm a family man with a full time job and a part time business so my time is limited and I'm wondering if I will be able to get anywhere near the training levels of other competitors!

    Oh yeah and the races I'm hoping to compete in are all under 1.5 hours.

    I have juts bought, The Time-crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week Time-Crunched Athlete: Amazon.co.uk: Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg: Books

    but I'm curious to know how much of a disadvantage someone who can only train 6 hours per week is at compared to those who train much longer, assuming com[eting in XC 1.5hr races?
    IDK it depends upon the person. Some people could spend less time training and still do well.

    I usually train about 10 hours a week. On the weekends I throw in a 2+ hour ride. With that amount of training I was able to consistently finish with the top 4 in my age group. I also competed in a few 6-12 hour endurance events this year which also helped my XC racing finishes. I also do about 80% of my training on a road bike. Buying a road bike was the one thing that really improved my finishes.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    783
    Six hours a week my be enough depending on the races you want to ride. It sounds like you have other obligations and if you can only train six hours then you need to maximize those hours. You need to first identify your weaknesses so you can improve on them. I know people that rides lots of hours but do so without a plan and never get better so worry less about quantity and more about quality.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    training volume depends on many things. you cannot just start out at 20hrs per week. you also cannot buy skills.

    this past year i averaged maybe 12-13hrs per week. i was a fairly good CAT1 XC racer in 35-39. i am hoping to up my hrs for next year to try and stay competitive but it is tough to fit into the schedule with work and life. #1 and #2 in the nation live in my area and are moving up from the 30-34 AG next year and I am anticipating some severe beatings coming my way...

    my guess is that 4-6 hrs per week is what most CAT3 racers do, 6-10 hrs is CAT2, 10-16+ hrs is CAT1, and there is likely some overlap with Elite's training 14-20+ hrs a week. of course this depends heavily on your location and the local competition level.

    i would however add that people make ridiculous claims on their training. i have heard people both under and over estimate training time. some people include stuff like core work or gym work etc. my training only includes pedal time (it is a side note that i don't really do any other form of training).
    My wife's website....
    Allison Mann

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    153
    What specifically is your goal that you want to train for. Do you just want to finish the race? Do you want to be mid-pack in CAT3? Do you want to advance to CAT2 quickly? This will impact how much training you will need to do. You may find out based on your time constraints that some of these goals may be unrealistic. I would spend some time thinking about this while formulating a plan.

    I think 6 hours a week would be plenty to make you competitive in CAT3 your first year if you start training this winter. Of course this depends on how good of shape you are currently in. 6 hours of training/week isn't really a lot, so they should all be high quality bike workouts. I wouldn't bother spending any time in the gym unless you are able to spend significantly more time training.

    I'm not familiar with Time Crunched Cyclist program, but would recommend you find the time to do at least one long ride per week (at least 2 hours) to build your endurance rather than just doing a ton of short workouts.

    In my personal experience, I started training about 8-10 hours per week on the bike (using Friel's MTB Training Bible) and was able to be mid-pack in CAT2/Sport fairly early in my first season. I started training in November before the season started, and I was already in reasonable shape then. I was a high school runner, and this helped me quite a bit since I was already experienced with endurance training.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    48
    I think consitency is the most important thing, just keep on improving from year to year. If you dont have the time to train hard everyday there isnt anything you can do about it. Just keep on working hard! I see a lot of older/ Master guys raceing at a very hight level with very little training because they have built a base over 20 plus years.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    190
    I agree...6 quality training hours a week should not be a disadvantage for Cat 3. The top 5 or so in your class might be training a bit more, but probably not by much unless they are full on sandbagging. Just make the best out of the time you have to train right now and see how you do on the first few races. From there you can focus on what needs to be worked on.
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  9. #9
    SSOD
    Reputation: Crosstown Stew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    740
    Every one of these post are good advice, maybe look at adding Base Building for Cyclist to your reading as well. Get a year of riding consistently/ daily under your belt to build on.

    If you have a good base I think you could compete with the 3's/ maybe 2's if you train at a high intensity for 6hrs/ week. Meaning a lot of LT intervals for 15-20 mins with little recovery between sets. The problems then becomes if your body can handle the intensity and recover adequately week after week of training, this is where your base is going to pay off so depending on how much base you can get in and how well you take care of yourself, it could be possible to compete at a good level with 6hr/week imo.

  10. #10
    LMN
    LMN is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,469
    The best way to think about it is annual hours, not weekly hours. A guy who trains 15hrs a week 25 weeks a year, is only going to get so fast.

    People who progress really quick have decent annual hours really quickly. My general rule of thumb is it takes a minimum of 400 annual hours to be quick. You can be quick on less but to be quick for the majority of the season that is the minimum. Most people can handle that volume as long as they spread it out over the year.

    Low volume/high intensity programs work well for those who have done a lot of base work in the past. But if you have never put the hours in then your progression on a low volume/intensity program will be limited.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    799
    I think you will probably be in the class with others who are riding a similar amount, as simplistic as that sounds. Those riding 15 hrs a week are not going to be around long in Sport to beat up on the riders getting 6 hrs a week.

    Agree on the annual hours. I got 550 last year and hoping for around 600 this year. A good bit of this is commuting miles with no particular rhyme or reason other than getting to work and back.

    I would skip the book.

  12. #12
    bi-winning
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    11,137
    I race sport, pretty casually. I place anywhere from mid pack to battling for a podium spot.

    This year, it looks like I'll hit about 300hrs of bicycle riding. I took three months off in the winter (XC ski season), but hit over 60hrs in July. A ton of that is junk / commuting, not training.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  13. #13
    lgh
    lgh is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    413
    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    My general rule of thumb is it takes a minimum of 400 annual hours to be quick. You can be quick on less but to be quick for the majority of the season that is the minimum.

    Low volume/high intensity programs work well for those who have done a lot of base work in the past. But if you have never put the hours in then your progression on a low volume/intensity program will be limited.
    IIRC, this is what Carmichael says in his book. 6/week will get you so far over 12 weeks if you have a history of base miles but, beyond that, development will depend on doing much more time in the saddle.

    Larry

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    30
    Guys,
    Great advice all round. Thanks for all the feedback and food for thought. Better go and get in that saddle...

  15. #15
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    You might have noticed a couple of people get some of their time in commuting. I do too.
    I'm a married father of 3 that is the sole proprietor of a business. I commute on average 2-3 days a week year round in New England. Sometimes it's tough, but if I don't get the hours in then I won't get them in, and as you get older, you loose fitness quicker, and have a harder time getting it back. Getting to work is just about getting there, but the ride home can have more (or less) purpose.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    76
    As you've read, there are many factors which will determine what 6 hrs a week can get you. If that's what you can get and not jeopardize your real priorities in life then make those 6 hrs count! Ride hard and recover harder so you can ride harder the next time out- rinse/repeat. If your body weight is down, (important!) and your fitness base and genetics are good, you'll do well. It may take a year but stay consistent and give that volume time to work.
    "Pain Doesn't Hurt."

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    You might have noticed a couple of people get some of their time in commuting. I do too.
    I'm a married father of 3 that is the sole proprietor of a business. I commute on average 2-3 days a week year round in New England. Sometimes it's tough, but if I don't get the hours in then I won't get them in, and as you get older, you loose fitness quicker, and have a harder time getting it back. Getting to work is just about getting there, but the ride home can have more (or less) purpose.
    Actually I'm planning on making 4 of those 6 hours on the commute (30 min ride which obviously I can extend). The problem is I have to carry a rucsac on my back. Is there much disadvantage to this!? Also means my on days consist of 2 rides at a minimum.

    I also tend to listen to audio books on some of the rides some of which involve work type readings!

  18. #18
    banned
    Reputation: Spinning Lizard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,487
    I try to hit a minimum of 10 hours a week. There are weeks I hit 20(rare though) and some that stall at 10 for several weeks. One thing that tends to make me faster is riding gnar back to back to back. I can hit three days straight of technical trails then spread the rest of the week out on road, trainer or easy singletrack. 2 years ago started to focus on the tech side and started winning races, felt like I was just flying over obstacles rather then getting worked by them. This year in Cat1 have had 4 top 10 finishes with a 4th place 2 weeks ago. Also have been competing in the open field and I am 41. Wish I would started this progam 15 years ago, was stuck at Sport (Cat2) for over 15 years of racing.

  19. #19
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by Fooksache View Post
    Actually I'm planning on making 4 of those 6 hours on the commute (30 min ride which obviously I can extend). The problem is I have to carry a rucsac on my back. Is there much disadvantage to this!? Also means my on days consist of 2 rides at a minimum.

    I also tend to listen to audio books on some of the rides some of which involve work type readings!
    No disadvantage to two rides a day.
    As far as wearing a backpack, as long as you aren't hurting your back you're just burning more calories. I have the luxury of having a locker at work to store work clothes in, and a frig and storage for food so I don't have to worry about carrying anything to work with me.

    I don't know about the audio books.

  20. #20
    Has skills-will travel
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    352
    Some tools that can reduce your training hours:
    - Training Plan (maximizing every minute you have to train and being consistent is key)
    - Coach (can do the above for you and adjust it for you - thus freeing up time for you to train instead of planning)
    - Road Bike (getting on the bike at your house is a big difference in time savings than your mountain bike)
    - Power Meter & HR monitor (tools that give you feedback during your training to tell you if you are training properly, and tell you if you need to make adjustmenets to your training)

    I actually like the training more than racing - I just use racing as a way to tell me if I am doing well in my training.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    338
    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    this past year i averaged maybe 12-13hrs per week. i was a fairly good CAT1 XC racer in 35-39. i am hoping to up my hrs for next year to try and stay competitive but it is tough to fit into the schedule with work and life. #1 and #2 in the nation live in my area and are moving up from the 30-34 AG next year and I am anticipating some severe beatings coming my way...
    ning).
    Mr Mann, Please tell me you and those other two are not going to keep racing in age groups. How could you win the national champs (or podium for that matter) and not upgrade to Pro or at least race Open (pro license is not required to race open out here)? That would be waaaay lame if you guys don't move up. You'd just keep racing each other rather than competing with the big boys.

    To the OP - 6 hours of on-bike time if spent right will get you pretty far. 10-12 pedaling hours is ideal for me at this point. More would be better, but as others have said - quality over quantity.

  22. #22
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by jd1072 View Post
    Mr Mann, Please tell me you and those other two are not going to keep racing in age groups. How could you win the national champs (or podium for that matter) and not upgrade to Pro or at least race Open (pro license is not required to race open out here)? That would be waaaay lame if you guys don't move up. You'd just keep racing each other rather than competing with the big boys.

    To the OP - 6 hours of on-bike time if spent right will get you pretty far. 10-12 pedaling hours is ideal for me at this point. More would be better, but as others have said - quality over quantity.
    I disagree.
    I've raced against National Champions, and former pros and it raises your (my) game.
    I don't think someone over 30 with a full time job, and a family shouldn't be forced to race an extra lap because they are fast. You, we, I need to work harder and or except that some people are faster than us.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    30
    Great advice again guys. Appreciate the input.

    I was chatting to a guy today who knows one of the main Irish XC riders here (who wins a lot of the races personally) and he says that guy only does 4 hours per week! Guess you can't believe everyhting you hear (or read), but would love to know if that is indeed true.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by mooddude View Post
    Some tools that can reduce your training hours:
    - Training Plan (maximizing every minute you have to train and being consistent is key)
    - Coach (can do the above for you and adjust it for you - thus freeing up time for you to train instead of planning)
    - Road Bike (getting on the bike at your house is a big difference in time savings than your mountain bike)
    - Power Meter & HR monitor (tools that give you feedback during your training to tell you if you are training properly, and tell you if you need to make adjustmenets to your training)

    I actually like the training more than racing - I just use racing as a way to tell me if I am doing well in my training.
    Useful post, thanks. Can you clarify your point on the road bike though please?

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    338
    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    I disagree.
    I've raced against National Champions, and former pros and it raises your (my) game.
    I don't think someone over 30 with a full time job, and a family shouldn't be forced to race an extra lap because they are fast. You, we, I need to work harder and or except that some people are faster than us.

    I disagree with your disagreement

    I am not saying anyone should be "forced" to race up to pro, but if you're already beating everyone else in the country, then what's the point of racing in the same category? I agree we all need to work harder and I've definitely accepted there are plenty of folks much faster than us, but that's why I moved to Open - so I can race those guys and figure out where most need to improve. Besides, on the off chance Mr Mann makes it out to Austin to race MJ's again, I'd love to get a crack at him! I've been playing catch up with that Mann since I joined this forum, and I didn't even break my back/neck / spine. He's a beast, and he may as well go for it!

    30 is not old. I think we just about all have full time jobs, families, and lives.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. training at sea level vs. at altitude
    By Garlock in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-12-2010, 05:48 PM
  2. Elite level training example
    By stevemtu in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 06-12-2008, 09:18 PM
  3. Z1 Freeride oil level help needed
    By SuperBri in forum Shocks and Suspension
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-26-2007, 08:50 PM
  4. Beginner level TOOL KIT needed
    By hallin222 in forum Tooltime
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-30-2006, 07:44 PM
  5. altitude training at sea level?
    By jdiver in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-30-2004, 06:17 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •