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Specifically in regards to cardio and building lung endurance. (my lungs usually quit before my legs do). Is it better to do shorter rides every day, or a longer ride every other day with a rest day in between?
It will not matter as your problem is high intensity efforts. Ride the climb that is causing you problems once or twice a week. If you ride with a HR monitor, do the climbs at 90+% of max-HR, aim for 5 minutes and slowly extend the time to 10 minutes.

And for a longer ride, try keep the HR between 60-75% for 2 hours, but not above, just in that range. After 2 hours ride how you want.

Those two elements will develop your aerobic system (Heart, lungs, circulation and muscle). If you want to develop speed and strength, do 30 second sprints on short rises (ca 5%). Just a few, and after some weeks you will be faster. Like magic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Thanks for all the great responses everyone! It seems like the general consensus is to mix it up and take 1 or 2 off days per week. Which is what I've been doing inadvertently, but now I can be more conscious of it. I did make some gains in distance and perceived effort last summer. Winter was a step back (maybe a fat bike next year). I'm lazy so arbitrary goals help a lot. I'm trying to get 1500 miles this year. I'm already around 200 since mid-march.

@Crankout I live in the Rochester area, lucky to have a 2 minute ride to the Erie Canal Trail. It's nearly 500 miles of uninterrupted MUP. Some of it is paved, some is gravel. It's all relatively flat. What a great resource to have. I can go as hard, fast, or long, or easy as I want. Lot's of other rail trails in the area to mitigate boredom.

The mtb days serve has my short, high intensity rides. It's no Moab or PNW, but it's never flat. Up 50ft, down 50ft, all day long. Dryer Road park, Bay Park West, Whiting Road, OCP, and Letchworth Fingerlakes Trail. Haven't done Tryon Park yet but working up to it this year. For non-Rochester folks, those are all local town parks with hiking/bike trails, not DH parks. The closest thing you could call a mountain is 4 hours away.

I'm 5'10" and 220 lbs. I could stand to lose 30 to 40 lbs, it's all in my beer gut.
 

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It is sort of hard to believe but the best way to build you cardio is long rides at an intensity where you can carry on a conversation. These rides will not only build your ability to ride really hard, but they will allow you to rider faster without having to go hard. If you just ride hard all the time you get better at riding hard, but you don't really get better at riding fast without have to go hard. A small difference but an important one.

The best training though is a combination of the two. Try something like this.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: Long and easy
Wednesday: Short and Hard.
Thursday: Long and easy.
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Long and easy.
Sunday: Long and Hard.

Repeat two times and then spend a week doing only medium length rides at low intensity.
This is the right answer from what I’ve been able to tell. There’s a good racer/coach on YouTube called Dylan Johnson who goes over the actual science behind MTB training, and this would be what he says. He summarizes peer-reviewed studies on different training topics.
 

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Yep he’s good, been subscribed for a couple years.
 

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Thanks for all the great responses everyone! It seems like the general consensus is to mix it up and take 1 or 2 off days per week. Which is what I've been doing inadvertently, but now I can be more conscious of it. I did make some gains in distance and perceived effort last summer. Winter was a step back (maybe a fat bike next year). I'm lazy so arbitrary goals help a lot. I'm trying to get 1500 miles this year. I'm already around 200 since mid-march.

@Crankout I live in the Rochester area, lucky to have a 2 minute ride to the Erie Canal Trail. It's nearly 500 miles of uninterrupted MUP. Some of it is paved, some is gravel. It's all relatively flat. What a great resource to have. I can go as hard, fast, or long, or easy as I want. Lot's of other rail trails in the area to mitigate boredom.

The mtb days serve has my short, high intensity rides. It's no Moab or PNW, but it's never flat. Up 50ft, down 50ft, all day long. Dryer Road park, Bay Park West, Whiting Road, OCP, and Letchworth Fingerlakes Trail. Haven't done Tryon Park yet but working up to it this year. For non-Rochester folks, those are all local town parks with hiking/bike trails, not DH parks. The closest thing you could call a mountain is 4 hours away.

I'm 5'10" and 220 lbs. I could stand to lose 30 to 40 lbs, it's all in my beer gut.
I'm familiar with the area; nice!

Seriously, if you want to learn more about training, etc, look into some good books that you can keep on hand and reference when needed. I've got a bunch from my years of riding and training, and routinely go back to them for various reasons.

I'm thinking that when you focus on reducing your weight, you'll see a good percentage of it being shed in a reasonable amount of time.
 

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This is the right answer from what I’ve been able to tell. There’s a good racer/coach on YouTube called Dylan Johnson who goes over the actual science behind MTB training, and this would be what he says. He summarizes peer-reviewed studies on different training topics.
I like his stuff.
 

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I posted a similar question in the race forum. Something like "Short on training for a Long Race". I did not have enough time (7 weeks?) to "ramp up" my endurance (12 mi. avg distance 2X/wk up to 52mi). They almost unanimously said to ride hard ("uncomfortable"), short-ish rides (12-15-20 miles), rather than train for the long distance. The long distance then becomes a matter of pacing - think of the long distance event as several short-distance events back-to-back. I certainly didn't have a 52 mile race pace, but I put in some work on the course where I felt it would pay off and held my matches where I figured it wouldn't pay to burn them. It all culminated in one hard day and a couple days of recovery, but it all worked out.

-F
 

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I agree with everyone else. Long rides, short rides, hard rides easy rides with days off or active recovery after the hard rides.

Or if not racing. Just ride when you want and have fun. Fitness and endurance will come in time.
Watch out you dont create yourself a "job" by building a regimented regime that takes the fun out of riding.

That's what I did back in the day. Got so into the training that I was doing rides I didn't enjoy.
I remember battling into a head wind in the rain in the back blocks of nowhere by myself at night on the road bike in the middle of winter. I thought what the actual f#%k am I doing. This is not fun. I stopped that sillyness immediately and focused on fun after that.

Guess what? I had more fun from that point.
 

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Specifically in regards to cardio and building lung endurance. (my lungs usually quit before my legs do). Is it better to do shorter rides every day, or a longer ride every other day with a rest day in between?


I hit the mtb trails on my FS as often as I can for fun. I also have somewhat of a gravel bike I ride on the rail trails for exercise, I try to get into a cardio range.. Cardio has never been my strong suit, when I run I get winded really quickly. My typical gravel routes are 12-16 miles, 20 if I'm feeling it that day. So, if my intent is to improve my lung function and build up to longer rides, would it be better to do 20 mile rides every other day with a recovery day or better to go balls out for 10 miles every day?

Same question applied to developing riding muscles, assuming the answer could be different.

For the record the mtb trails near my are a lot of up and down. They kick my butt. 6-8 miles feels like doing 20+ on the rail trail.
[/QUOTE
Specifically in regards to cardio and building lung endurance. (my lungs usually quit before my legs do). Is it better to do shorter rides every day, or a longer ride every other day with a rest day in between?


I hit the mtb trails on my FS as often as I can for fun. I also have somewhat of a gravel bike I ride on the rail trails for exercise, I try to get into a cardio range.. Cardio has never been my strong suit, when I run I get winded really quickly. My typical gravel routes are 12-16 miles, 20 if I'm feeling it that day. So, if my intent is to improve my lung function and build up to longer rides, would it be better to do 20 mile rides every other day with a recovery day or better to go balls out for 10 miles every day?

Same question applied to developing riding muscles, assuming the answer could be different.

For the record the mtb trails near my are a lot of up and down. They kick my butt. 6-8 miles feels like doing 20+ on the rail trail.
Hi. Ride distance does not matter. Training time and effort is what matters.
out of experience I can tell you an hour everyday is better than 6 hours on one day.
how many hours do you train a week.? Proper training programs works In block forms. “Training blocks” each block is a week and it fits into 4 week blocks. On this way you can prepare when to peak on max performance for a event etc.
In Cycling consistency is key to improve. So the more times a week you ride the faster your fitness will increase.
With the cardio issue. I suggest intervals 2 times a week. One rest day witch is a no riding day . Recovery day after interval days, this is a slow paced ride very easy no hard efforts.
let me know if you want more info on training. Waay to much to post in one thread .
 
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