Cycling - Knowledge

Mountain Bike Training: Training Tips for Beginners to Master a Race

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Most of the mountain bikers love to ride trails for a long time before they think about racing. The more time you spend on your bike, the better control you would be able to have your skills, speed, and fitness. When it comes to mountain bike training, after a few races, everyone wishes to go faster. A lot of riders think that by just riding more would make them fit and improve their skills to ride faster. Well, this strategy would make you fit but to become fast, this isn’t the only things that you need to do.

There are a lot of other things that you need to include in your routine as well. Listed below are a few tips that would help you with mountain biking especially if you are a beginner. 

Top Tips for Mountain Bike Training: Get Started With the Training  

Tip #1 Try to Train Early in the Morning

Rise and shine and of course train! When it comes to mountain bike training, you might consider doing it early in the morning. The logic is pretty simple, once you workout early in the morning, you get it out of your way. This way you wouldn’t be left with the option of making excuses later. Often people don’t like getting up in the morning for working out and then later in the day, tend to get too tired or lazy and make the excuse for training the next day. But no, you should push yourself from the bed and get on the best mountain bike seat and start training for the races. 

open trail mtb-train in morning
Train at Dawn

Tip #2 Start Training In Advance but Proceed Gradually

It is best to start early when it comes to training for mountain bike racing. This is because the body needs time to progress. Hence the idea here is to begin training at least two months in advance and then proceed gradually. Have a proper mountain bike training plan that will motivate you hard to train and reach your goals. This would reduce your chances of getting injured or exhausted during training and ensure that your performance is optimized. 

If you begin training for mountain biking just a month or a week before the race, you would end up putting a lot of pressure on your body and might even get injured. Now that is something that you don’t want. Start off with the basics and then work your way up. For example, start off with working out twice a week and then go up to three or four times a week. Similarly, start with climbing workouts like simple squat and then progress to a jump squat. 

Tip #3 Your Training Days would be Based on your Estimated Race Time

This seems like a pretty obvious one but riders who wish to train too short or too long for goal events, this isn’t common for them. Riders who are aiming for races which would take about six hours or more would need a series of moderately long ride days that are placed back-to-back or several single day-long rides.

But, if your race is somewhere about two hours long then your longest ride should be somewhere around the 2-3 hour range in order to build race endurance. Intensity levels need to kept high during the shorter rides which is the best way to train for mountain bikes. 

Tip #4 Design a Training Schedule Based on Course Profile 

When it comes to mountain bike training, you need to consider the course profile. Races which are held in mountainous areas often have long climbs that take about 30-60 minutes or even more to complete. Such events require you to have strong muscle endurance. If you are going to participate in a race which has this kind of profile, you would need to do muscle endurance training, climbing workouts and train well for mountains. 

On the other hand, if the race that you wish to participate in has steep and short climbs followed by a few technical downhill sections, you would need to put in a strong effort. This effort is followed by the capability of your body to descend while keeping the intensity levels high. So practice downhill on the bike as well train for mountains to be a winner of the race. 

mountain bike training
Know your course profile and train accordingly

Tip #5 Work on Your Balance 

One of the most helpful MTB tips would be to work on your balance. While mountain bike training for a race, downhill mountain biking, you need to ride over obstacles, turn corners and keep as stable as you possibly can while you are airborne when coming off a drop. All of this requires balance. Therefore, you need to indulge in workouts that would aid in enhancing your spatial awareness. Begin by working on unstable equipment like stability balls, BOSU ball, and balance boards. 

mtb trail obstacles balance
Balance is perfection

Tip #6 Make Use of Road Bike to Build Steady Endurance 

Riders who perform all kinds of training on a mountain bike and on technical courses and don’t use road bike often have limited ability to ride steadily at tempo. But, why do these riders face difficulty? It happens because these riders are more used to big effort then recovery and this effort and recovery thing continues. 

In a lot of cases, these riders pause at the top of each technical section when they are riding a mountain bike. These riders might be excellent at what they do however if all of their rides include putting in a big effort for short intervals and recovering after every effort, they wouldn’t have strong endurance. Also, their ability to hold high and aerobic metabolic cost would be reduced. 

Tip #7 Evaluate the Obstacle Cost as Compared to Potential Return 

When participating in a race where your aim is to reach the finish line in a short period of time, you would need to calculate the obstacle based upon cost. You might be a fabulous rider but if you are going to be spending large amounts of energy riding each and every technical part which takes a long time to finish, you might consider walking some of those sections. Downhill bike is easy but uphill needs a lot of energy. A short hike might save some energy for your legs for a strong finish for the race. 

A few people might be excellent in the technical sections but other riders might not be as skilled as them. For them, walking the distance would save the body and the equipment from the risk of potential damage. You need to understand that you are going to ne4ed a lot of time to recover and begin cycling again than to hike up and start rolling. 

What to Eat when Mountain Bike Training

A mountain bike training program is incomplete without a planned diet chart. A pro cyclist's diet is ought to have a huge impact on his/her performance levels and recovery speed. Before you head out for your mountain bike training, do not consume too much food for about an hour or two. If you are going for big breakfast, have it early and let it get digested. Once you begin exercising, the glycogen would be used up by your body pretty quickly. So, keep supplying your body with regular energy drinks and energy bars. 

Go for something which has complex carbohydrates and a mix of fruit sugars like bananas, cereal bars, dried fruits or bars specifically made for athletes. Hydration is equally important so don’t forget that. A lot of cyclists also tend to avoid intake of caffeine in the morning so that they can hydrate better with herbal teas and fresh fruit juices. 

You need to understand that a 2% drop in your hydration levels would reduce your performance by about 20%. This, in turn, would also affect your concentration level and this is something that you want in the middle of your ride. 

healthy nutrition for cyclists
Eat healthy to perfom better on mountains

Additional Tips to Take Care of

  • When mountain bike training or cycling during a race, remain in control. Keep a track of your speed and always slow around tight corners. Do not try to attempt tricks which are beyond your skill level and is something that you haven’t tried before. 
  • Remain prepared for potential problems during the ride. While training, your bike might have certain issues and therefore it is best to carry a repair kit along with extra supplies. This would ensure that you don’t get stuck somewhere on the trail all by yourself. 
  • It would be best to ride only on open trails. Follow the route markers and signs and familiarize yourself well with the trail. 
  • When you get near to another person in a race, slow down. Let them know that you are approaching and signal them that you wish to pass. 
  • When going for downhill mountain biking, watch out for the animals. Never startle the animals by approaching them suddenly. 

Summing Up 

Keep all of the above tips in mind and keep working out. A few well-placed structured climbing workouts in combination with a well-balanced diet would enhance your performance and improve your race results. Make sure never to stop training for mountain bike and of course enjoy the process as the thrill is too good to miss!

Have you ever tried mountain biking before? If yes, how was your experience? Feel free to share your views with us in the comment section below. 

Until next time, Happy riding! 

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