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  1. #1
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    Endurance training question

    I am interested in doing some sort of endurance race this upcoming season, probably only 1 event to get my feet wet. My question is, do some of you guys that are into endurance racing just ride as much as you can with no real training routine? I ride in the neighborhood of 7-10 hours per week, mixed road, double track, and mtb. I have no set training regime though. I realize that I could start a routine, but doubt that I will. I am interested in what other people do.

  2. #2
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    I did my first race ever this season and quickly found out that if your going to be competitive that youll want to have some sort of training plan, and race plan in general for each race. How hardcore you want to go is up to you, but you get out what you put in.
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  3. #3
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    If you are just out for some fun and see how it goes, a plan for you might be as simple as try to up your hours a little and remember to go for a really easy spin at least once a week as your recovery and rest.
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  4. #4
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    just ride alot......that simple

  5. #5
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    Depends on your goals. If you want to be competitive, then you need a training and nutrition plan. If you just want to finish, then what your doing will be fine I'm sure.
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  6. #6
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    Get used to ride as long as your endurance race lasts. Also, plan your nutrition during the race. Didn't eat frequently enough once and almost passed out during the race.. Know I try to eat at least once every 40 minutes during the race.

  7. #7
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    Yeah I am really just looking to finish, being competitive is not on my radar at this point. I just want to get my feet wet this upcoming season. Thanks for the advice so far.

  8. #8
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    Depends on what the race is. I trained this last season for the SM100, followed a plan, etc, but one thing the plan didnt tell you was how much friggen climbing there was in this race. So even though my endurance was there, my climbing suffered, and really put me in the hurt house. I could have done a ton more leg work which ill do this year to help with those LONG sustained climbs. The biggest thing that would have helped me is to actually ride the course ahead of time so I knew what to expect.

  9. #9
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    I agree with nov0798 and other posters. Even if your goal is only to finish you should have a training plan that is specific to climbs, terrain with added distance of the race that you plan on doing. During the week you can work on climbs and terrain and on weekends go on long rides. That way come race day, you are well prepared for the race even if its to have fun and see if you like it.

  10. #10
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    You might not want to do a whole winter of structured training for your first event. Heck, keep it fun until you're officially obsessed, then you can start making it not fun so you go faster during the race The first race should be about a steady pace, finishing strong, and keeping some positive feelings going for most of it. The pain, discomfort, and stress from actually "racing" can come later if it must LOL

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastskiguy View Post
    The first race should be about a steady pace, finishing strong, and keeping some positive feelings going for most of it. The pain, discomfort, and stress from actually "racing" can come later if it must LOL

    Joe


    You nailed it Joe.


    Totally agree. being on our bikes is about good times.



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  12. #12
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    I'll throw in fuel. If your stomach can handle anything then plan on just eating what they provide at aid stations, if you dislike/get upset stomach from some riding foods find out what will be available and see if they can work for you.

    & I'll echo the above, keep it fun, the few events I have gotten to do the people you are riding with make the day enjoyable.
    Go that way really fast......if anything gets in your way turn.

  13. #13
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    +1 for the nutrition angle. Read Hammer Nutrition's book. For me it was a lot easier to figure out the physical training than it was to understand how few calories i could digest while also riding hard. Very surprising difference trying to eat on the bike after 4 hours of riding versus pigging out after a 4 hour ride. I'd strongly suggest that you plan on once a month or so where you ride hard for 6 hours just so you can test what you can eat during that 4th and 5th hour without getting sick on a 2000' climb during your 6th hour. Way better to figure this out on your own rather than taking a DNF at some aid station while everyone else rides on by.

  14. #14
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    Another big aspect for me this last season was mental toughness. A long sustained ride can play tricks on your mind. Luckily I read about the mind games, so I was prepared, and they didnt get to me. I used Infinit Nutrition this past year, and was totally pleased. I never bonked, never ran out of energy, and never cramped during the season. I attest most of it to the nutrition.

  15. #15
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    Agree on the mental part of it. That's why we do this, isn't it? Somebody remind me again.

    BTW - I love the SM100, but had to play some serious mental games with myself to get through the humidity this year. I can handle climbing and dry and hot, but that damp Virginia forest was a killer.

  16. #16
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    I would do a structured training program for the 12 weeks before your race. If you are just having fun, a winter training program may end up burning you out more than helping.

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  17. #17
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    Agree on doing SOME structured training, but for your first race, just structure the training of the last two months or so around the event you have chosen. For example, the Cascade Cream Puff can be described with some accuracy as climbing gravel roads and descending killer single track. So do that. OTOH, the Capitol Forest 100 does a lot more of its climbing on single track......you get the idea.

    For the first endurance race, the best advice I ever got was to make sure NOT to race anybody but yourself. It's all about energy management. One minute in the "red" zone burns as much energy as about a billion minutes at a smooth, comfortable aerobic pace!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  18. #18
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    Kosmo
    Excellent point on not trying to race the others, and only worrying about yourself. Funny thing was when I did the SM100 this year, I saw people passing me like crazy at the start, I just sat back and relaxed, and rode at my pace. Over the course of the day, I ended up passing the same people sitting on the side, burnt out, the same folks taking 20-30 min at checkpoints resting, etc. So in the end, I passed the faster riders by maintaining my own pace!

  19. #19
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    Another thing to consider when approaching endurance events will be your overall depth of fitness. I had been racing for years before taking my first endurance start. If you are new to the sport and don't have many years of solid year round riding your approach toward training for your first endurance event would be different than mine. Without the miles on your legs (competive or not) a simple structured training plan to build a solid base would help keep your first enduro a fun challange no matter if you choose to go all out or ride just to finish. At very least I would recommend at least one training ride the distance of your event to prove to yourself that you are able to handle the workload.

  20. #20
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    Similar to others - depends on your goals, but given what the OP has said keep it fun, but have some structure. Here are a few thoughts....

    Have some kind of plan - even an informal one. Last year was my first year on a bike. The first day I demoed a MTB (2010) I unexpectedly ran into the High Cascades 100 in Oregon. Riding the 2011 HC100 became a goal. I read as much as I could in general and knew I needed to dial in the bike, the nutrition, and get as much fitness as possible. This was my first year on a bike at all so I had a long way to go. I planned to do one long ride a month and bump up the distance by 10 miles each month. I also selected a few "training" races that were longer. The HC100 was July, and I found a 60 miler in June and another in May that would give me prep for the distance and being in a race setting. This was the extent of my formal training program. I never rode beyond 70 miles.

    Find what works for you. I learned a lot every race and on many rides. Gear, clothing, nutrition - it all makes an impact. The nutrition that works for one person may not work for another. I tried so many different things gatoraid, heed, gels, blocks, bars, perpetum, etc. The recipe that worked best seemed condition dependent, but what I can say is that robot food (gels, GU, and some liquid fuel) seemed to be all I needed for long distance. My body didn't like some things like perpetum (often the 3hr+ drug of choice, but it made me feel really heavy and slow). Use every ride to try different stuff till you find what works for you.

    A professional fit. This was THE best investment I made. I'm new and had several overuse injuries. I tried all different ways on my own of adjusting the fit of the bike, but it wasn't till after a couple of professional fits that it all came together. These fits are often a couple hundred dollars, but they are the best health insurance I could have spent. The bikes that have had this fit give me NO knee, back, arm or other issues. If you're riding long, you're bound to discover a fault somewhere. Oh, and it's not a one time thing. I got a fit and went back in a second or third time - both free. The follow-up is common and quick.

    The unexpected happens. Learn from it. When race day came I felt nervous but ready. I had obsessed over everything and had it all dialed in - so I thought. The clothing system worked out nearly perfectly. (Chamois cream was needed and worked, but the high $ super awesome all day bibs are now my least favorite. They have a bad habit of...creaping. ) The bike was stellar. I rode in great time and felt fabulous for the first 65 miles - better than I had in the past at that distance. Then I began to fall apart. Two things happened - it got hot and I was going farther than I had in the past. This was the first day in Oregon that came anywhere close to 90 deg. I didn't realize that my nutrition needed to change at that temp (I needed more H2O with nothing in it. I was actually having too many electrolytes). I also probably needed less sugar at that temp and at that distance. I'm good with robot food till 70 miles, but after that I need something else. Normally, I'm fine with the GU/Gel but at 77m I literally gagged down my last gel. It tasted the same as always, but I really almost threw up. My body said no. It began to say no in another way too. 100 miles on over 80% singletrack is a long way for a body that had only been riding a year. I began to have some ankle pain that almost caused me to DNF. I sat at the last aid station at mile 87 feeling fragged and in pain pondering my decision. The plain H2O helped and in the end I finished. The pain (what I thought was a strain from overuse) turned out to be a minor avulsion fracture. (The tendon actually pulls enough to fracture the bone. In a severe case it can pull away entirely. ) Something I didn't even know possible. I finished, but was off the bike for the next 4.5 weeks.

    This is what I experienced - you might find something useful in there. I just hired a coach (Ann Trombley) and the plan she gave me is far more structured than what I would have come up with. I'm glad to have it and I know it will help me be far stronger and injury free, but I also know I would NOT have enjoyed the structure last year. It just wasn't the right time. My goal then was to finish. My goal now is to finish several races and not feel like hammered crap...I have a few time goals in mind too

    Good Luck!
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  21. #21
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    First race - wilderness 101

    Good entry race prior to 24 Hour Racing or Multi Day events...It is not easy, and the variable terrain will give you a good catalyst to where you stand physically as well as mentally. From my experience I have found that the mental aspect is far harder then the physical. Good Luck!

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