Periodization for mtbers?
I am in the middle of Joel Friel's Cylcist Training Bible and it is clearly directed towards the road crowd. I did not want to buy the MTB version of it as it is now almost a decade old and thought things have changed since then (perhaps incorrectly?). Anyways, reading through these threads, it is mentioned that mtbing requires a higher aerobic force workout than road riding.
Could any one comment on that, and if so, what should that look like.
A little about my fitness level/ goals: I just over 40 and after doing quite well in cat 2 XC in the 09 season am moving up to cat 1 where I hope/ aim to be able to compete in the top 10. I would love to get a coach but that is just not in my budget and am therefor trying to do it myself.
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40 is a tough AG!!! (Ben Capron, Global Marketing for Specialized races in that class! Super fast dude!!!!!!)
Yes periodization is important for developing the aerobic engine. Building/expanding your base is a good thing. Base doesn't have to be flat boring HR Z2 rides. You need to mix it up and work drills, tech skills, etc. Collecting the knowledge needed to do your own training can be time consuming, but very rewarding. I like this resource list and have read most of it...
The principles of overload/supercompensation are pretty much universal.
Stress + Rest = Success.
The other thing is to make sure you are consistent. Don't go too hard and force yourself to take breaks, don't work too little as you won't acheive overload.
In terms of the importance of aerobic fitness in mountain bike racing, think about it this way:
Races are in the range of 2 hours long if you are racing expert. Drafting is not nearly as big of a factor in mtb racing as in road racing. You can't hang on to a group of faster guys, at least not for any extended period of time, in a mountain bike race by drafting off of them. Big accelerations to stick with a pelton or a breakway are not nearly as important as a road race. You essentially have to do the work yourself and mintain a high effort for 2 hours. That is not the case for most road races (except for when you get to the mountains).
Two hours is a long time. It is like an elite runner racing a 30k or even a marathon. It is not a race for the sprinters or even the 1500m or 5000m runners. Those shorter efforts, while distance events, allow you to complete a much, much higher percentage of the race at an anaerobic effort. In a 2 hour event, however, a very, very small percent of your time will be anaerobic--the start, maybe a hill or two, and some attacks--but over the course of 2 hours each racer must get the job done himself or herself and you can't spend much time above your aerobic threshhold. You want to be right at the edge of your threshold, but under it most of the time or you will blow up.
So how you do you excel in mountain biking in terms of fitness? A huge aerobic engine and high lactate threshold. That is the predominate factor. (Of course translating that fitness into speed is important--speed skills off road--but that is not a fitness component and is a seperate element of training).