Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading the inspiring posts by the gals that competed in their first races this weekend (huge congrats :D ) I thought now would be a good time to talk about training for endurance events and get a few pointers of those gals that regularly enter enduros.

I have ridden in a few over the past couple of years in teams of six but this year my husband and I have decided to do a 24 hour in early October as a mixed pair. There is a 12 hour a few weeks before it so I think it is worthwhile entering to get a feel for the longer one so we will be aiming for that too.

We chose the smaller team/longer events as we are still only intermediate riders and at age 45 both are well past our "peak" as far as elite fitness is concerned so we think that plodding around will be more our style.

In the past I have always been the slowest member of my team so this year I am working on being in much better shape for the races.

Due to a couple of health issues I have been ordered to "shape up" which is good in terms of mountain biking so have started on a bit of a program but am not sure if I am on the right track.

I have addressed my diet and follow a mainly low GI plan and have lost 15 pounds since early February but at 155 pounds I still have a bit more to go (goal is to drop 10 more). I am noticing I am stronger on the climbs but am still very slow and have to walk on the tougher ones.

As far as aerobic training goes, I currently walk my dog 5klm (3 miles) per day doing it in around 45 mins. I have found a few dirt tracks around my village so we can keep off the tar and there is one big hill that we go up that really gets the HR up and tires the dog out. I did take a wrong track the other day and had to lift the 20kg (45 pound) dog over a barbed wire fence so have modified the route now. My husband and I also try and ride a minimum of 25klm (15 miles) off road at least once on the weekend.

Unfortunately there is no pool to swim all year round in my area and I am not into the gym thing so I am kind of limited in my choices of training although there is a Pilates class starting in my village next week which I have signed up for so hopefully a bit of improvement in the core strength area might help with the hills.

The big race in October has 1500 entrants and has a course of around 19klm (11.5 miles). Last year in the mixed 6 I took 1:55 to do a lap which wasn't too bad considering it was part day/ part night, hadn't done any night riding before and wouldn't exactly call myself fit (I walked most of the climbs). Most other female riders do around 1:30.

The track was very rough and we were both on HTs but this year have graduated to FS. :D so expect to be a bit faster and this year my goal is to do around 1:30 or under and we have set a target of 10 laps for the team. This would give us 2 day laps each, have a bit to eat, go out for 1 night lap each, have a sleep and then get up early and put in 2 more day laps each before the 12 noon cut off.

So I guess all this rambling comes to the question, what do other gals do to train for these long events and am I being realistic in my goals for improvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
hey there mangoes...

As I've only done one event, the one last weekend, I'm certainly no expert, but I do know that you and I share a few similarities and I'm happy to let you know what I believe did work for me. But Spydersmom and littleb are the experts in this category. You should also check out some of the links to blogs from the endurance board. Jeff Kerkove in particular is an inspiration.

I only started riding a year ago and I've dropped nearly 50 pounds since last February. For me the key things to help me get as far as I did were:

1. Learning how to eat while riding long - meaning more than a fun ride. You have to ingest a decent amount of food each hour, because you are going to burn a huge amount of calories each hour. You have to "practice" eating exactly as you plan to eat during the race.

2. Recover as hard as you ride. Your body's going to take a beating during training. You need to rest and recover as hard as you train. That means taking some days completely off from all exercise and also incorporating some active recovery/light spin days.

3. Do not try to lose weight while you're training hard. You're going to see changes in your physique without seeing changes on the scale. I haven't lost scale weight in the last couple months, but I've gone down another pant size. I eat like a horse. Sometimes it's hard for me to get in the amount of food I need.

4. Learn to use your easier gears and spin. The last thing you want to do is blow up early. Don't use a harder gear than you need to. You're the tortoise, not the hare.

5. Have fun. I laughed and grinned throughout 5 of my six laps. (I was feeling poorly on the fourth as I went out too hard). The "atmosphere" at the endurance events is more lighthearted than at the shorter XC events. Good cheer will get your through some of the smaller foibles.

Hope some of that helps?

Mallie
 

·
Domestic Fowl
Joined
·
869 Posts
Mallie has some great suggestions.

I might add that getting in some road miles will do a lot for you. I don't know of any higher level MTB racers that don't do road work. It is an essential part of building a good cardio base.

The thing about road miles is that you can get relatively long stretches of uninterrupted exercise at elevated heart rates. Trying to train for cardio fitness on a MTB trail is difficult because your effort level is more sporadic. Road miles will help you a ton. The more weekly miles, the better. If you don't have a road bike, you can get some slicks for the mountain bike.

Good luck on your races.


FRC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow 50lbs

MallieD said:
I only started riding a year ago and I've dropped nearly 50 pounds since last February.
Thanks for the great hints Mallie and congrats on an awesome effort. 50lbs is fantastic. Great advice about eating though as I have a tendancy to want to stop eating and keep exercising but I guess that is a bad combo.

Sticking to low GI means I can still eat carbs but I just have to make good choices. Grain & wholewheat breads, basmati rice, wholemeal pasta, fruit & veg all the good stuff we know we should eat. I have also switched over to eating oats for breakfast and am really enjoying them too.

Funniest things is that I have gone from drinking around 5 litres (170 oz) of Coca Cola per week to none and now find the taste disgusting so must be headed in the right direction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Good advice

FreeRangeChicken said:
Road miles will help you a ton. The more weekly miles, the better. If you don't have a road bike, you can get some slicks for the mountain bike.
Thanks FRC.

I don't have a road bike but do have an older 18 speed MTB which I have been thinking of putting slicks on to to use. It currently resides on the wind trainer but doesn't get as much use as it should. Using it on the road would also save the wear and tear on my Stumpjumper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
FreeRangeChicken said:
Mallie has some great suggestions.

I might add that getting in some road miles will do a lot for you. I don't know of any higher level MTB racers that don't do road work. It is an essential part of building a good cardio base.

The thing about road miles is that you can get relatively long stretches of uninterrupted exercise at elevated heart rates. Trying to train for cardio fitness on a MTB trail is difficult because your effort level is more sporadic. Road miles will help you a ton. The more weekly miles, the better. If you don't have a road bike, you can get some slicks for the mountain bike.
FRC
hi hi
I'm going to echo the base training suggestion. I did my first race in 2003, did a few more last year, and this year I'm actually doing a circuit (all long races, 50-75k). I'm doing a 12 hour in less than a month with a mixed team of 4 (holding up the chick end!). I did the same event last year, and my laps, frustratingly, increased by exactly 2 minutes every time I went out. I did okay, but the guys were superstars...we placed FIRST! woohoo, happy dance...
I found the on-and-off to be very difficult. Anyway, I was in ok shape for that race, but due to a lack of base training over the winter, peaked out around July. So that being said, now I'm just logging in as many road hours as I can (me vs. early spring headwind... the best trainer). I figure once the trails stop being so darn soppy I'll start rebuilding the technical skills...
So my plan is to acclimate my body to the on-off of a team race, and soon my training will be push hard for an hour, sit on my butt for an hour, repeat, for as many hours as I have.
The other thing is core training (abs and back). I didn't do enough last year, and strained a muscle in my back early in the race. I was taking anti-inflammitories and getting Tiger Balm massages, but I was still fighting the pain.
One of the reasons we won our category is three of us night ride at least once a week, so our lap times didn't even drop in the dark. I highly reccomend getting used to riding at night, and that will give you a huge advantage.
Good for you and GOOD LUCK! Maybe we'll come face-to-face at one of these events...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
The Hammer Gel people have put together a great guide on nutrition for endurance athletes called The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success: Everything you need to know about optimum caloric, electrolyte and fluid intake for training and competition. http://www.e-caps.com/downloads/fuelinghandbook.pdf Keep in mind they are trying to sell you their products (which are great products, btw!), but it gives a great description of how to eat and drink before, during and after training and events.

I am training for a 12 hr next month (team of 2), 24 hr in June (team of 5) and 100 mile mtb race in July, so I am practicing my nutrition while riding now during training. I use the Hammer Gel pretty regularly, but after reading this guide I now mix a little bit of soy protein (1/4 tsp/gel serving) into the gel for rides over 1.5 hours (basing on the formular of perpetuum and sustained energy--mine tastes better) and a teeny tiny bit of flax seed oil. I also plan to add in endurolytes when I get closer to events...my boyfriend has used that in 100 mile mtb races with great results.

I think the most important thing I picked up from this is that your body can only absorb so many calories each hour, so eating in excess of that will just cause problems, so you want to find the optimum amount you can take in without having digestive problems, but also sustaining your energy.

It is also really important to watch your hydration intake. There was an article recently in press about overhydration (has a fancy medical name that I cannot remember...hypertremia or something) that can happen even when drinking sports drinks. The most at risk person is someone doing an endurance event who can do okay, but is not really an "elite" athlete (the example they used of elite athlete is someone who finishes a marathon on 4 hrs.) Your kidneys can only handle so much water per hour. My hydration plan is no more than one water bottle per hour of Cytomax (I use the LGI version--the raspberry iced tea is yummy).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When starting out on the road

xcdemon said:
hi hi
So that being said, now I'm just logging in as many road hours as I can (me vs. early spring headwind... the best trainer). .
do you decide how many miles to do in a session or set a time and see how far you get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Mangoes said:
do you decide how many miles to do in a session or set a time and see how far you get.
me personally? Both. During the week I ride for a time (becuase it gets dark) but on the weekends, I pick a distance/route, and don't stop til I'm done (because I'd be in the boondocks if I did!). In an ideal world, I would do endurance rides by distance and intervals by time. That's me personally, I know people who do it both ways.
 

·
Domestic Fowl
Joined
·
869 Posts
Mangoes said:
do you decide how many miles to do in a session or set a time and see how far you get.
As you ride more you'll get a feel for how many miles you can get in for a given amount of time. I do lot's of my road work on my lunch break at work. I've got a few routes that are approximately 20mi, 15mi, 10mi, etc. Usually and hour or less for these rides because of time restrictions. On the weekends I do longer rides... 50-70+ miles, 3+ hour rides.

You need to mix up your intensity levels too. Don't just go out and hammer every day, or go out and spin every day. Work hard on some days and get recovery time in. I learned the healing power of recovery rides a couple of years ago. I made huge gains that year. Your body does best with active recovery, rather than static rest. Recovery rides are shorter(5-10mile) very low effort rides. They help flush the muscles and help keep them loose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
FreeRangeChicken said:
Your body does best with active recovery, rather than static rest. Recovery rides are shorter(5-10mile) very low effort rides. They help flush the muscles and help keep them loose.
You still need to take a day off from the bike for full recovery. I ride six days a week when I'm in full-on training - some days hard, some days recovery pace - some days pounding, some days spinning - some days intervals, some days long jaunts through the woods. I lift weights and do some other cross-training 2-3 days (yes I double up), and I leave one day free from all exercise. Because the body needs a day for the muscles to recuperate without the stress of even active recovery.

I know everyone is different and everyone has different needs. But I'm not just spouting this out of nowhere. You'll find that most endurance athletes understand they need to take advantage of full recovery from time to time. Check out some of the posts on the endurance forum, especially those of Eddie O and Jeff Kerkove.

I'll also let you know how my next event goes in May. Then I'll be even better able to back-up my premise! :)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top