The Right Way to Train
Written by: Nick Swanson, Through the Wall Training
You’ve finally signed up for that multi-day mountain bike race or better yet, a Chasing Epic trip, and you are wondering how to prepare so that you can truly maximize your riding experience. Looking back to my previous article about energy systems, you will be using your aerobic system almost exclusively in these types of events. A well-followed principle of training is to progress from general to specific, which is also known as periodization. In the case of an endurance event, specific training usually means long, low to moderate intensity riding, and climbing strength. This means that about 8-10 weeks from your big event, your training should shift to focus on these specific skills.
Additionally, you want to dial in your nutrition during these specific training rides. When you go on a 3+ hour ride, try out the gels or sports drink exactly as you think you will in your event; you may find that you need to drink more, or less, or take in more nutrition. Or that you really can’t stomach that 5th cherry flavored gel; you don’t know until you practice and take cues from your body. This is one reason why we have such a wide variety of gels, mixes, bars, and blocks from Infinit Nutrition and Clif Bar on our trips: everyone has different preferences, and everyone’s body reacts differently to nutritional demands.
The practice of following a periodized plan- one that works on weaknesses during the general training blocks and builds toward a key event- separates the great athletes from the average ones. You may be the most athletic person in the world, but if you just go out and try to hammer for 45 minutes a day, every day, you are going to fall apart in a longer race or event. Conversely, if you are a time trail racer, you can’t just go out and ride in zone 2 all day long and expect to have good results. There is a time and a place for each of those previously mentioned athletes to do non-specific training, but it is a long time before their key event, and then just frequently enough to maintain what was built during the general training blocks.
Most elite endurance athletes and racers take the next step by working with a coach and a plan that is specifically designed for their bodies- and their goals. Following a training plan that is specifically designed for you by a coach who knows your athletic history and understands your specific needs is the single biggest thing you can do to take your training to the next level. Trust us, it’s not buying that $7,000, 24 lb bike you’ve got your eye on. While spending big bucks on a professional coach is your decision, we put you in the game by providing a customized plan that I put together specifically for Chasing Epic trips. Follow a plan to get the most out of your time, and train the right way to become a better rider!