Why would you need to structure your rides?
This would be for the individual that is looking to improve not only physical fitness but also technical riding ability. Setting up as few as 3 structured rides a week can ensure a continual adaptation to training stimulus (progress). You are also less likely to over train and experience training plateau’s.
Tools you’ll need
A heart rate monitor is nice and I would encourage everyone to get one, the more data you can gather about yourself the better!
In addition to a heart rate monitor.
The “perceived exertion scale” to rate efforts during exercise
For all intensive purposes I use a 1-10 scale, example:
- 1 pissing me off it’s so easy
- 2 childs play
- 3 all day pace
- 4 getting harder but still not hard
- 5 almost feels like work
- 6 starting to work now
- 7 lets fucking get some!
- 8 aaaahhhh (beast mode)!
- 9 this sucks!
- 10 puke
you can use that scale instead of a heart rate monitor or in addition to one.
Does structured training work for beginners?
Yes, but it’s not necessary. I would implement structured training for a more advanced rider or someone experiencing a plateau in ability. To the individual new to mountain biking or racing the focus should just be on learning fundamentals and establishing a base fitness level.
Types of rides / energy systems
Aerobic – rides over an hour in duration, easy tempo (zone 1 or below a 4 on the perceived exertion scale). steady state ride keeping the heart rate constant for the entire duration.
Anaerobic – rides under 90mins of total ride time, moderate to hard tempo (zone 2 or between 3 and 7 on the perceived exertion scale). after warming up, try to keep heart rate from dropping to low. There can be fluctuations in heart rate but it should always be above you aerobic zone for work interval.
Vo2max – total ride could be up to 90min. but here the work interval will be short up to 5min of extremely high output (zone 3+ or above a 7 on the perceived exertion scale) followed by a full recovery (zone 1).
for more check out my blog Enduro Mountain Bike Training Rides
How to structure your rides
Assess a typical week: work, gym training and how many days you want to ride.
Use a calendar: Understanding that we have basically 3 types of rides (aerobic, Anaerobic or Vo2max) I recommend riding no less than 3 times per week.
here is an example of a typical week of training for me:
Monday – Ride Anaerobic focus, no longer than 90min total ride time.
Tuesday – Fun ride, recovery ride, dirt jumps easy pace no longer than 60min. gym session.
Wednesday – Ride Aerobic focus 2hrs or more.
Thursday – Fun ride, recovery ride, dirt jumps easy pace no longer than 60min. gym session.
Friday – Ride Vo2max/sprint focus, no longer than 90min.
Saturday – Fun ride with friends
Sunday – Fun ride with friends
Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my structured training days. All the other days I just focus on having fun on my bike or recovery. One thing to note tho; the parameter to not exceed a certain duration of ride time is an important one to avoid over training. For everything accept the aerobic ride quality is more important than quantity!
Other Keys to success
Nutrition and healthy recovery habits (blog coming soon!)
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