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  1. #1
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    XC Race Training Question

    Sorry if this has been asked before, feel free to direct me to another thread and bash me if it has

    I am currently ramping up training for a race in a 5 weeks. Trying to find more riding time in my schedule is difficult, and my current option is to add a ride right after a fairly hard 1 hour gym workout (full body, high reps/low impact). I am thinking about adding a recovery intensity ride after the workout, but not sure if that is a good idea or not.

    Any feedback? I really do not want to cut out the gym day because I know it helps me on the bike. When I quit going to the class, after about 2 weeks I get back pain and my legs to not feel as strong.

    Thanks for any feedback
    -- Bikes are effin cool --

  2. #2
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    Nothing helps you on the bike more than being on the bike.

    If you have little time I would temporarily drop the gym workout and do a high intensity interval workout instead.

  3. #3
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    ^^ This

  4. #4
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    why the heck do so many people ask 'I got a race coming up what do I do' and the word 'gym' is also in there.

    that is the problem people. you don't race gyms, you race bikes.


    get the heck on your bike and stay the heck on your bike ALL the time.

    tl;dr heck

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    why the heck do so many people ask 'I got a race coming up what do I do' and the word 'gym' is also in there.

    that is the problem people. you don't race gyms, you race bikes.


    get the heck on your bike and stay the heck on your bike ALL the time.

    tl;dr heck
    Yikes! I guess I asked to be bashed! I know I do not race gyms, I am a fairly small dude, and in the past I have had difficulty going fast on the down hill sections, UNTIL I strengthened my CORE in the gym. I have no idea how I could do that by just riding my bike. I quit the gym last year and I know for a fact that my skills and speed (mainly downhill) took a hit. Sorry if I struck a chord with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8Shakes View Post
    Nothing helps you on the bike more than being on the bike.

    If you have little time I would temporarily drop the gym workout and do a high intensity interval workout instead.
    Yeah, this is what I was thinking in the back of my head. I think I will do just that, ramp up riding time and cut out gym time in the weeks before this race (eyes on the podium).


    I really appreciate the advice guys, thanks!
    -- Bikes are effin cool --

  6. #6
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    no I didn't mean to blast you but I guess I did


    #1- yes stay in the gym, you need arms and shoulders to do downhill

    but if you want ONE exercise to keep your arms/shoulders in form, get two 30lb dumbbells at wally world, stand up, pick them up and do --arnold presses-- with them... that is all you have to do, and if you can get to 15 reps with 30's...you'll have much ability to steer and control a bike on the gnar

    arnold presses specifically accept no other move (unless you want to do more work) arnold presses work the shoulders and back very well
    and do them standing up too...works the core


    and

    just ride a crapload

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    why the heck do so many people ask 'I got a race coming up what do I do' and the word 'gym' is also in there.

    that is the problem people. you don't race gyms, you race bikes.


    get the heck on your bike and stay the heck on your bike ALL the time.

    tl;dr heck
    Quote Originally Posted by 8Shakes View Post
    Nothing helps you on the bike more than being on the bike.

    If you have little time I would temporarily drop the gym workout and do a high intensity interval workout instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    no I didn't mean to blast you but I guess I did


    #1- yes stay in the gym, you need arms and shoulders to do downhill

    but if you want ONE exercise to keep your arms/shoulders in form, get two 30lb dumbbells at wally world, stand up, pick them up and do --arnold presses-- with them... that is all you have to do, and if you can get to 15 reps with 30's...you'll have much ability to steer and control a bike on the gnar

    arnold presses specifically accept no other move (unless you want to do more work) arnold presses work the shoulders and back very well
    and do them standing up too...works the core


    and

    just ride a crapload

    No worries! Thanks again for the advice. I appreciate it.
    -- Bikes are effin cool --

  8. #8
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    XC Race Training Question

    I'd try doing a bike ride after the gym session and see how it goes. If you're nicely warmed up from the gym work beforehand (as a high reps / low impact core session doesn't sound like the sort of workout that will fry your legs) you could find that you're feeling strong on the bike and be up for a decent quality bike ride too, not just a gentle recovery ride.

    I wouldn't automatically say that it should only be at a gentle recovery pace. See how you feel when you start the ride.

  9. #9
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    This is just my own experience. I'm also an ectomorph. At the risk of inviting the wrath of gym goers and weight lifters, you can get a very strong core with just body weight exercises. By the time you get to the gym you could already be working out doing curlups and planks, etc. We're not talking about bulking, but core. And core strength doesn't come easily. I see it as a long term goal. Years, not weeks. And to piss off even more people, I would say that in general, biking doesn't require the utmost in core strength at less than the highest levels of the sport. I'm speaking from my own experience. I've been on the podium in some pretty tough races, and four years after that period in my life I'm discovering just how inflexible and weak I really was.

    I know that it's all additive. And that everything eminates from the core. Core, being tip of head to perineum. That's everything except arms and legs. But if you wait until you have core strength before you get involved in racing, it may be a long long wait.

    /erects blast shield.
    Note to self: 85% of FTP for 20 min.

  10. #10
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    I think you have to look at the ratio of strength time to bike time.

    In season, about 12 to 1. (12 hours bike, 1 hour combo of strength/core work).

    When you start falling below that bike time, then you may be better off eliminating strength work.

    I've been continuing strength training this summer (with the above ratio) and i'm just killing it this year (road bike though, since road nationals is here locally where I live).
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 08-04-2014 at 02:39 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Also, it's my belief that when it comes to core, and biking, you are not really looking for strength as much as endurance.
    Note to self: 85% of FTP for 20 min.

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    In my experience, it's as much about having a not-weak core as a strong core. My lower back was really killing me in longer races, and I realized that having a not-weak back should help. Like Gregg said; you can do some great core stuff at your house in less time than it would take to drive to the gym, then you have more time for the bike. I've been doing pushups/pullups/situps/bicycle-crunches regularly for about a year, I started doing them after rides since I was already warmed up, now I do them as my pre bike commute routine, and they have made a difference I think. I need to look up those Arnold presses. I think in Carmichaels time-crunched book he quotes a dr who says that if he only had a few weeks to train for an event he would do a lot of sprints, I'll see if I can find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I think in Carmichaels time-crunched book he quotes a dr who says that if he only had a few weeks to train for an event he would do a lot of sprints, I'll see if I can find it.
    THIS. (plus PEDs)
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Sorry if this has been asked before, feel free to direct me to another thread and bash me if it has

    I am currently ramping up training for a race in a 5 weeks. Trying to find more riding time in my schedule is difficult, and my current option is to add a ride right after a fairly hard 1 hour gym workout (full body, high reps/low impact). I am thinking about adding a recovery intensity ride after the workout, but not sure if that is a good idea or not.

    Any feedback? I really do not want to cut out the gym day because I know it helps me on the bike. When I quit going to the class, after about 2 weeks I get back pain and my legs to not feel as strong.

    Thanks for any feedback
    If I were you I would at least cut out the leg and arm stuff from the gym to get more bike time. With only 5 weeks to go you should be more bike specific. Just do core and back stuff on a bike recovery day.

  15. #15
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    Dennis, I assume you're aiming for FOTR? If so, I'd say skip the gym and start to enjoy hill repeats and then enjoy more hill repeats.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevland View Post
    Dennis, I assume you're aiming for FOTR? If so, I'd say skip the gym and start to enjoy hill repeats and then enjoy more hill repeats.
    You guessed it! I appreciate all the feedback in this thread, just confirms what I was thinking in the back of my head. Hill repeats here I come!
    -- Bikes are effin cool --

  17. #17
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    XC Race Training Question

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    my current option is to add a ride right after a fairly hard 1 hour gym workout (full body, high reps/low impact). I am thinking about adding a recovery intensity ride after the workout, but not sure if that is a good idea or not.
    I hadn't intended to but I actually wound up doing this today. The weather forecast was bad so I did some light weight training and core work in the morning. It unexpectedly cleared up and stopped raining so about an hour after doing the weights I went out for a bike ride too. In terms of riding a bike I had no problems at all after the weights so I'd say go for it.

    If I'm doing a double day training I'd normally try and do it the other way round - bike ride in the morning and weights in the late afternoon/ evening so I was pleasantly surprised.

    It was just a shame that I got drenched on the bike right at the end. Looking down from up on the hills into the valley I could see that I was descending down into cloud. It absolutely hammered down with rain for the last 10 minutes of the ride so now I've got wet shoes for tomorrow. Oh well.

    A lot of exercises are ones that you can do at home. These videos are examples of the sort of thing that I'll do normally which you could do at home without needing gym equipment for.

    Forearms and avoiding "arm pump" whilst riding
    Home weight training equipment ?

    Back extensions etc
    Strong Core - How Important?

    .

  18. #18
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    I have found that at my age (47) I start to notice an improvement after about a month of work (3x a week or more) in any area; longer/harder rides, hill repeats, runups, pullups, - I'm hoping my current focus on more hill repeats and also sprint repeats will give me some payoff by the first cx race on Labor Day. You younger guys may need less time to notice improvements. If I were you, and I'm among the less well read on this board re training, I'd be focusing on hill repeats and sprints (just like I'm doing). I do my hill repeats on a really steep short mtb trail that I could just barely ride when I started, I still have to slide forward on my saddle to keep the front end down, most of the guys I ride with cannot do this hill. My arms get worked after a few reps because I'm pulling back so hard, I think this sort of hill is good for the core. From page 29 of Time Crunched Cyclist, Dr. Ed Coyle is quoted from his writing in the 'Journal of Applied Physiology': "Indeed, it is likely that if an experienced runner or bicyclist had only two weeks and very limited time to prepare for a race of about 30 minutes duration, that sprint interval training would become a mainstay of their preparation". -Just get fast enough that you can finish is less than 30 minutes and you're set!

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    I injured my ribs last week and just went for my first ride. I was surprised at how much I engage my core when climbing in bigger gears - as evidenced by pain from my injury that was non-existent when running lower gears/higher cadence. That makes me think that a stronger core has to help a lot with climbing too.

  20. #20
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    What about adding an endurance-paced ride after a hard gym work-out? Lots of times, my coach will have me do some tough riding, then finish with endurance-pace riding. Of course, it depends on what you've been doing the rest of the week and how tired you are.

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