Ok so I have a this thought going through my head. I read some where that your training should be based on the type of event you are planning on. So my question is if it is a mountain bike event would it not be better to be putting in long miles on the mountain bike trails instead of the road bike. I know that riding 100 miles on a mountain bike is a whole lot different then doing a 100 on the road. So in the base should you be doing mountain or road, or should you do road in base and then start working on those long mountain bike rides in the build section. Just a thought, was wondering what everyone else thought.
It's best to train in the actual discipline in which you will race - so yes, riding MTB for a MTB race will get you the maximum benefit. However, the most important thing is to train frequently, so training in other disciplines - running, swimming, road biking - will benefit your overall fitness level and improve your results. Especially if mixing it up motivates you to train more and better, within the limits of what your body can sustain.
I know for me, cross training keeps me motivated and increases my overall fitness. My running times actually improved when I started running less and mixing in biking and swimming.
I say you should spend 80% of your training on the road and 20% on the trail. I have a couple of reasons why:
- Look at the size of your rings on your road bike, and look at the size of your rings on the mountain bike. It take as lot more power to crank those big rings than it does to turn the mountain bike cranks. That power will pay you huge dividends when you get deep into your endurance mountain bike race. Put in some big miles on the road and build that engine. When you go to climb with your mountain bike it will seem easy, when you hit the flats and you can pop it into the big ring you'll find you will be pulling away from your competitors.
- You will learn to "spin" on the road and this habit will help you during climbs, during those long flat sections, and allows you to pull more speed from your efficent pedal stroke. Mountain bikers have a bad habit of mashing the pedals for a burst of speed or while climbing. If your goal is to complete, and compete in enduro races, you need your legs for the whole time. Inefficent pedaling and wasted energy will ruin your day.
- One of the problems with riding on the trail all the time is that it is much more difficult to learn pacing, and maintain a steady heart rate zones. With the hills and trail conditions changing you won't be able to get the most out of your time training. Long endurance days and Interval training on the road will help prepare you for trail.
- One of the other posters mentioned that you should spend a lot of time cross training. This is a good idea, but with most of our busy lifestyles, bike training will be your best plan. If your are training for a triathlon then running will be good. But running with poor technique will greatly increase your risk of injury. I race mountain bikes and do triathlons and have learned that cycling will really help your running, but running won't do a lot for your cycling that can't be done on the bike.
Do some core training, stretching, and some upper body work. A strong core will help ensure the power from your legs gets transfered to your pedals. Stretching regularly will be your best injury prevention tool. The upper body work is important because if you plan to do an off road century, your head feels pretty heavy on your neck and shoulders by the end of the day, your torso does a number on your shoulders, lower back and triceps, and your hands/forearms will feel like they never have before.
Most importantly, if your riding stops being fun, no training plan will be effective. Keep it fun.
Thanks for the info, it was just a thought that was running through my head. I do a crosstrain, running and weights, so I got that covered. I have to admit I love to mountain bike. I have found that I need to get on the mountain bike at least once a week during the base miles just to keep it fun and to remind why I am doing all thes road miles.