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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello XC racing gurus. I have been intrigued by racing over the past few years, and I always need to find ways to add bikes to the stable. So here I am, deciding to get serious about racing. Unfortunately I didn’t realize the race season was upon me so quickly, so I have no idea how to train effectively to get back up and running for a season that is 1 month away!

More about me: 175lb, 5’10 or 11, fit for someone who is ”out of shape”, an ex-runner who can always muster some endurance out of nowhere. I have raced 2 races in my life, the first a beginner race that I took first in with my 34lb Santa Cruz Heckler, and the second race a Sport race (last race of last season) that I placed second in and almost had to stop and push my bike due to not having enough endurance to hold steady (would have gotten like 8th if it was 1 mile longer). I built up a 22# 26er hardtail on the cheap to race with for the second race. I have no problems with bike handling (aka I like skinnies and jumps and doing dumb things).

I know I will eventually need to go to Expert class, but for now I will race the season at Sport because I had a terrible winter and let my fitness go (and my weight…I should be 170 max). I was only getting about 2 hours on the saddle a week for the past 3 months (yikes). I did continue to strength train some (pull-ups and push-ups with some abs), but even that was unbalanced despite me being as strong as ever on those exercises.
So here is my “rough” schedule to get me up and going. Please give me hints/tips, or tear this thing to high hell. I only have about 50minutes a morning to work out (Tuesday-Sat), and about 20-30 at night, and then SUN/MON I have off and can ride as needed.

Tuesday (my “Monday”) – p90x Yoga (50mintes worth)
Tuesday PM - Pull-ups, Back (bands and some free weights available)
Wed AM - Intervals on trainer (aerobic 1)
Wed PM - Push Ups, Stretch
Thur AM - P90x Cardio (50 minutes, moderate intensity but not enough to make me feel too bad after my high intensity intervals).
Thur PM - Biceps, Shoulders
Fri AM - Intervals ("anaerobic" full sprint one)
Fri PM – Abs, beer.
Sat afternoon – Ride (2 hours, low intensity with friends)
Sunday – Ride (2-3 hours, low intensity with friends..probably going to start doing 20+ miles on this day)
Monday – Interval (aerobic 2)

These are the work-outs mentioned above:

Aerobic power 1 (50 minutes)
15 minutes – Warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (4min high intensity + 2min low intensity)
5 minutes cool down

Aerobic power 2 (49 minutes)
15 minutes – warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
5 minutes cool down

Anaerobic power 1 (50 minutes)
15 minutes – warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (60sec. maximum intensity + 6 min. recovery)


Also do you think these are acceptable work-outs?
 

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You might want to pick up a copy of Joe Friel's Mountain Biker's Training Bible - a good introduction on how to create your own training plan. Another one to check out might be Carmicheal's time crunched cyclist - never read it myself but it sounds like it could give you some ideas to make the most of your "crunched" schedule.

The main thing I notice is that you've got lots of high-instensity intervals, lots of easy riding, not enough in the middle. You need to adjust to riding at race pace - spend two days a week trying to hold a moderately hard pace for 20+ minutes, throw in some long climbs or just hammer out long intervals on the trainer if you've got to. This 'threshold' pace is your bread and butter and will be the determining factor in your performance.

* ditch the p90X cardio for a solid tempo (moderate intensity) ride.
* Raise the intensity on one of your weekend rides. Maybe not the whole ride, and not in a structured workout - just go harder on the long climbs and push it according to feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent...thank you for the response.

So you think instead of p90x Cardio I should just do another 50 minute ride on the trainer, with 20-30 minutes at race pace? I will also maybe break off from my MTB group for 20 minutes of very hard riding, then just turn around and rejoin everyone. That won't be too difficult.

I guess I am just concerned about burning out. I have been doing a similar routine to the one above for 10 days now and I don't honestly feel all that toasted. Do you think 3 high intensity interval work-outs and a few days of 20-30 minutes at race pace will be too much?

Also how should I adjust my work-outs on race weeks? My races are always on Sundays.

Honestly I am going to improve leaps and bounds getting off my lazy butt! Do you feel that overall this is a decent program?
 

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y0bailey said:
Excellent...thank you for the response.

So you think instead of p90x Cardio I should just do another 50 minute ride on the trainer, with 20-30 minutes at race pace? I will also maybe break off from my MTB group for 20 minutes of very hard riding, then just turn around and rejoin everyone. That won't be too difficult.

I guess I am just concerned about burning out. I have been doing a similar routine to the one above for 10 days now and I don't honestly feel all that toasted. Do you think 3 high intensity interval work-outs and a few days of 20-30 minutes at race pace will be too much?

Also how should I adjust my work-outs on race weeks? My races are always on Sundays.

Honestly I am going to improve leaps and bounds getting off my lazy butt! Do you feel that overall this is a decent program?
Pick a key race several months away. Workouts become more race-like as that race approaches. Do not neglect the importance of rest.
 

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If you feel good with your current training plan, and your seeing progress, stick with it. Of course, you will eventually need to tweak and refine it as you adapt, but overall if its working for you, keep it up.

There are tons of methods to training. Some are the essentials that would benefit just about every rider accross the board. Then there are others that may be super beneficial for one rider, but not so much for another, depending on their current level of fitness. Since your season is already starting, use this season to learn about your strengths and weaknesses, so you'll know what to focus on in the future.
 

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Yeah, I agree, get the Friel book, you can't do much better than that at the price!

It's kind of late to be starting a winter training schedule, but you certainly wouldn't be doing that high intensity anaerobic stuff now at all (or rather you'd probably just be gradually introducing it). The foundation to training is putting the miles in early on, i.e. working on endurance. Anyway, just go get the Bible, read carefully, set realistic goals, plan out your training according to that and you will really see an improvement.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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motox155 said:
I know a few guys around here who are some of the top level expert riders around. All they do for training is to ride...a lot.
If you ask, they will probably tell you that have do have some sort of system in place. If not, then they may be potential pros and not know it because their current training regimine is not designed to maximize their potential.

.02
 

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rydbyk said:
If you ask, they will probably tell you that have do have some sort of system in place. If not, then they may be potential pros and not know it because their current training regimine is not designed to maximize their potential.

.02
A couple of them I've known since we were kids...way back when lol. They are cat 1 vet guys. Nope...no system in place other than riding. I actually used to kid one of them all the time about his diet (cokes and cheeseburgers). Their main training regimine is lots of saddle time and effort. They do know enough about recovery and such...actually that's when I still occasionally ride with them, on their recovery rides...but they do no real supplemental training.
 

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rydbyk said:
If you ask, they will probably tell you that have do have some sort of system in place. If not, then they may be potential pros and not know it because their current training regimine is not designed to maximize their potential.

.02
A couple of them I've known since we were kids...way back when lol. They are cat 1 vet guys. Nope...no system in place other than riding. I actually used to kid one of them all the time about his diet (cokes and cheeseburgers). Their main training regimine is lots of saddle time and effort. They do know enough about recovery and such...actually that's when I still occasionally ride with them, on their recovery rides...but they do no real supplemental training.
 

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I like this program.
1. Two long days a week-in which you ride pretty long, but not too hard. (2-3 hours)
2. Two hard days a week -in which you ride pretty hard, and not too long. (1-2 hours)
3. Two easy days a week - in which you ride pretty easy, and not too long. (1-1.5 hours)
4. One day off a week.

I also throw in the 2 days a week of crossfit, and occasional yoga.

Oh, and try to lose like 10-15 pounds, and you'll be golden.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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Poncharelli said:
I like this program.
1. Two long days a week-in which you ride pretty long, but not too hard. (2-3 hours)
2. Two hard days a week -in which you ride pretty hard, and not too long. (1-2 hours)
3. Two easy days a week - in which you ride pretty easy, and not too long. (1-1.5 hours)
4. One day off a week.

I also throw in the 2 days a week of crossfit, and occasional yoga.

Oh, and try to lose like 10-15 pounds, and you'll be golden.
Ponch..
Any particular order for you?
 

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rydbyk said:
Ponch..
Any particular order for you?
Order for most people, is really dictated by work schedule. It's always convenient to put long rides on weekends.

But currently, I have the time to let weather dictate my long days. If it's nice outside, I'll put in a long day. IMO, there's some value to mixing days up from week to week. It keeps things interesting.

I don't have the knees to do 2 hard days in a row though. Like back-to-back LT interval sessions, no way. So I like having either a long day, or an easy day between hard days. But 2 hard days in a row wouldn't be a bad idea, just for a little different training affect (stage race simulation), and some variety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the help folks. My first race is this coming weekend, and I am feeling better than ever. It is amazing how fast it comes back with a little (hard) effort.

I have been doing about 2 interval work-outs a week, 1 HARD 18-20ish mile ride (race distance for my sport races), and then some cross training p90x yoga, running, or just easy days on the trainer for 50 minutes (6 days a week, one of just rest/stretching). I am down 5-7 lbs already to 168# (shooting for 165...I am a semi-muscular build so I'm not carrying much fat on me now).

I just did 18 miles of moderately technical singletrack (no fireroads, all singletrack) averaging 11.7 mph with 3 minutes of rest (burped my rear tire). That pace should get me on the podium for my Sport class races. Hopefully my training actually equates to my racing. I can tell my base isn't there however, because after 18-20 miles is when I start to go downhill. Luckily all sport races are under 20.

This forum has been a great resource. I cannot wait to see what I can do this season.
 

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Someone else mentioned this, but it was overlooked. A road bike and group rides at the local shop will definitely help you with your base. If you don't have the funds I would do rides that are longer than your races. Are you going to race all season? I'm assuming that's your plan. If so, you should be fine. Get in your base riding now, train, and shoot to win the races a little later in the season. Use this race to gauge your fitness with the other riders and go from there. You don't want to peak too early.
 

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y0bailey said:
Thanks for the help folks. My first race is this coming weekend, and I am feeling better than ever. It is amazing how fast it comes back with a little (hard) effort.

I have been doing about 2 interval work-outs a week, 1 HARD 18-20ish mile ride (race distance for my sport races), and then some cross training p90x yoga, running, or just easy days on the trainer for 50 minutes (6 days a week, one of just rest/stretching). I am down 5-7 lbs already to 168# (shooting for 165...I am a semi-muscular build so I'm not carrying much fat on me now).

I just did 18 miles of moderately technical singletrack (no fireroads, all singletrack) averaging 11.7 mph with 3 minutes of rest (burped my rear tire). That pace should get me on the podium for my Sport class races. Hopefully my training actually equates to my racing. I can tell my base isn't there however, because after 18-20 miles is when I start to go downhill. Luckily all sport races are under 20.

This forum has been a great resource. I cannot wait to see what I can do this season.
Good luck, sounds like you have put in the time and will do well. :thumbsup:
 

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I wanted to add...as far as weight training is concerned, I don't think you need to be doing any isolated lifts...for your biceps/shoulders/etc. What I do is the Starting Strength program created by Mark Rippetoe. Things like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. These will help balance out the muscles that you use when cycling and give you more full body power.
 
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