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  1. #1
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    Idea! Training for Enduros (Super-D)

    I've been racing DH and Super-D for a while and have never trained before (besides riding for fun). I've decided I need to train for next season if I want to take it to another level. I don't know a whole lot about training, but I'm definetely motivated to learn.

    Any advice on books, websites, etc where I can learn the basics?

    I'll be training for races that are mainly downhill (pedalling the entire time of course), with finishing times ranging from 7-30 minutes. Sometimes there are several 10-15 minute races in a single day.

    My weakness last season was I would "blow-up" at many races, especially mass-starts where I could see that I was losing time to someone else. I'd be a maximum effort, start having tunnel vision, then have to back off to an effort way below my normal practice effort. Some of this is poor race strategy, but a lot I think is my lack of interval training (threshold training?).

    Anyone have any experience with training for DH/enduro racing?

    Any advice is appreciated!!

  2. #2
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    Base fitness will help some. What you really need to do for races less than 30 minutes is anaerobic capacity, you might think your efforts are steady, but really they are a series of bursts.

    I would say that some generic base work (LSD and Force), with some intense stuff like cross fit would be the ideal year round plan. then 6 weeks out from A races do the high intensity training like Tabatas and anaerobic capacity work like over-unders (30s on / 30s off for 5-7 minutes).
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  3. #3
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    Enduros and DH is all about explosive power/sprints and upper body strength.

    Your training plan should focus on those in the build phase. As whybotherme said, base is essential and force will be a big part of it but don't forget speed skills as well, those are the basic components for sprinting power. I'm not too convinced about LSD for shorter races like an enduro however. It is essential that you do some endurance training to some extent to allow your body to adapt to higher training loads.

    For upper body, you want good muscular endurance to be able to sustain the bike handling for extended periods of time. I usually do weight resistance instead of weight lifting as it helps strengthen the core muscles but I'll add some elbows, pecs and back weight lifting as well as those become essential to lift you bike over obstacle in order to "float" over them. More importantly, you'll want short rest between exercices and fast reps to simulate the demands of mtb. As usual, start slowly as not to hurt yourself.

    A lot of work will also be training technical skills, this book is pretty good in that regards and covers some basic aspects of training as well if I remember correctly : Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition: Amazon.ca: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: Books
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  4. #4
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    How many days per week are you riding now, and what else are you doing to train?
    I'm planning to race the Oregon Super-D/Enduro series next year. I'm not planning to train significantly different from the way I train for XC, except I'm going to try to increase my mtb rides to 2-3 days per week instead of the 1-2 rides I normally average, with more of those rides at DH/FR trails instead of the XC loops I normally do. I'm probably coming from the opposite end of the spectrum though, I get schooled by the Super-D specialists and DH guys in the jump lines and technical sections and try to make it up in the pedally parts. On the days I don't mountain bike I'm usually on the road bike riding a steady pace for 2-3 hours, or doing long 10-30 minute intervals up climbs. I prefer doing short high intensity work on the mountain bike.
    It would be hard to overstate the fitness required for this discipline. Around here most of the really fast guys (pro and cat 1 podium material) have also won cat 1 xc/short track and cat B cyclocross races, or already race at the elite level in other disciplines. I see a lot of the fast super D guys at short-track and CX, they are pretty similar in the fitness demands.

  5. #5
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    I probably will be riding 2-3 times a week on my trail bike (1.5-3 hour rides) and I ride ride 10 miles to and from work each morning on my singlespeed (40 min each way).

    I'm definitely the guy in Super D's that gets the hole shot, rails the downhill sections then get passed by the XC dudes on the 45 second dirt road climb. I for sure need to increase overall fitness but I think my biggest weakness is that I can't recover quickly from the start and DH efforts right before the climb. That and I can't maintain powerful sprints for as long as I need to.

    I don't know all the training lingo but it sounds like I need to work on overall fitness, then anaerobic output. I NEVER ride full out for 20 minutes like I do in races when I'm just riding so maybe thats a start. I thought about intervals on my work commute as well.

    What is a good split, percentage wise, for aerobic training vs interval and anerobic training?

    I actuall have the Lopes book, and it's good for skills training- but doesn't get into fitness training as much as I would like it to.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudeboybl View Post
    I ride ride 10 miles to and from work each morning on my singlespeed (40 min each way).

    I thought about intervals on my work commute as well.
    Commutes are great for training, especially if it's a flat road. Then you can do just about anything:

    -Ride Aerobically (17-18mph) and do a 100% 10-second sprint every 3-5 minutes. On other days, do 20 second sprints (those hurt, a lot) with more rest in between.
    -Do a 1-2 minute all out effort, then 3 minutes easy spin. Perform 4-6 efforts. The key there is to extend the point in which you blow up. (you're gonna blow up no matter what).
    -Microburst Intervals - 10s sprint out of the saddle, 20s high aerobic tempo, 10s sprint out of the saddle, 20s high aerobic tempo..........keep repeating for 15 minutes.

    This is the kind of stuff i like doing for crit racing, as well as short-hill type XC courses.

    Longer intervals don't seem to work well commuting, unless there's no lights or stop signs.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudeboybl
    What is a good split, percentage wise, for aerobic training vs interval and anerobic training?
    Between commuting and mtb rides it sounds like you're off to a good start! The classic method for endurance training is periodization, where in the early pre-season you would be mostly doing longer steady paced endurance rides, which progress to higher intensity and more race specific workouts as the race season approaches. For example, if you started training now for races beginning in march, you might spend the next 4 months doing mostly 2-4 hour rides at a good endurance pace - hard enough where you can feel you're working but no leg searing or coughing up a lung. The next two months after that you might progress to long 10-30 minute intervals, i.e. hill climbs. A month or two before you start racing you would work anaerobic and VO2, intervals from several seconds to say 6 minutes - the real race specific work for super-d/enduro. Stick to no more than 2-3 hard days per week with the rest either days of or easier endurance days. The basic premise is that it takes years to maximally develop aerobic fitness, which is why the longer rides take up most of the season and training volume. I attached a pdf by running coach Arthur Lydiard who explains it better than I can, it's based on running, but all the same training concepts can be applied to mountain biking (and road cycling, xc skiing, swimming, rowing, etc). Here's another by Charles Howe, explaining the same concepts with a slant toward cycling: http://www.freewebs.com/velodynamics2/modelplan.pdf

    btw, where do you race?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by strader View Post
    Between commuting and mtb rides it sounds like you're off to a good start! The classic method for endurance training is periodization, where in the early pre-season you would be mostly doing longer steady paced endurance rides, which progress to higher intensity and more race specific workouts as the race season approaches. For example, if you started training now for races beginning in march, you might spend the next 4 months doing mostly 2-4 hour rides at a good endurance pace - hard enough where you can feel you're working but no leg searing or coughing up a lung. The next two months after that you might progress to long 10-30 minute intervals, i.e. hill climbs. A month or two before you start racing you would work anaerobic and VO2, intervals from several seconds to say 6 minutes - the real race specific work for super-d/enduro. Stick to no more than 2-3 hard days per week with the rest either days of or easier endurance days. The basic premise is that it takes years to maximally develop aerobic fitness, which is why the longer rides take up most of the season and training volume. I attached a pdf by running coach Arthur Lydiard who explains it better than I can, it's based on running, but all the same training concepts can be applied to mountain biking (and road cycling, xc skiing, swimming, rowing, etc). Here's another by Charles Howe, explaining the same concepts with a slant toward cycling: http://www.freewebs.com/velodynamics2/modelplan.pdf

    btw, where do you race?
    This is money, don't deviate from this philosophy because I can tell you from running on a very competitive national level, this is how all the running training is based. And its how I plan to train for my Super D/Enduro series next year

    Look into how its done, more specifically once you get to the anaerobic and VO2 types of workouts. When your in this phase don't forget its key to get your body and mind in a pattern. It will help with the intensity of the workout's and during race season. If your workout's are il-spaced in between and in between race's your just fighting yourself as your body doesn't have the proper rest, which is key to achieving quality workouts.

    Strader, if you ever want someone to ride with I live in the Portland area

  9. #9
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    Good job!

    Awesome stuff guys - I appreciate it!

    I'll be racing out of Denver, Colorado - but I'm commiting to race the Oregon Super-D series, the MSC series and as many stops on the NA Enduro series as I can afford. I really want to race a european Enduro, like the Megavalanche if I can get together the funds. Qualifying for the big one at the Mega is definitely a goal for next season...

    Thanks!!

  10. #10
    g3h6o3
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    The Megavalanche is another beast altogether and I would approach training for it differently unless your typical enduros are as long. Around here, the very few enduros that I've seen we're around the 20 minute mark and I think the Mega lasts much longer than that, being more comparable to an XC race in length.

    If your races are longer than 20-30 minutes, my advice was off track in the sense you might require more time at lower intensities, then again it all depends on the amount of pedaling required.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  11. #11
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    Damn, sounds like you're shooting for the big time! Best of luck. If you hadn't heard, but the Oregon Super-D series is also shifting to an Enduro format for next year. Can't wait, it should be awesome in areas like Bend and Oakridge that have so many trails to ride.

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