MTB racing fitness – quickly!

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  • MTB racing fitness – quickly!
  • i might be racing in a month, typical 2 hr XC race. whats the best way of getting a bit faster in that timescale?
    climbs are probably my worst point, so i guess being able to maintain speed up hill would be good.

    unfortunately i only really have a chance to get out 2 times per week on the bike (usually a SS), but also go to the gym twice a week.
    what exercises should i be doing at the gym etc???

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    3 weeks of cardio work. Taper down during the last week.

    If you’re not fit enough now, a month isn’t going to make you magically race fit. Sorry.

    Good luck, though!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Get a road bike, it’ll get you far fitter far quicker than MTB…


    Train harder, rest, eat, sleep and Train even harder but don’t push for an injury.


    Stop drinking beer.


    Forget the gym, do some intervals, either on a wind trainer or your nearest hill of 2-5 minutes duration. Do them until you puke a couple of times a week and you can make a pretty big difference in a month.

    hmm, intervals on a bike in the gym, or turbo i guess. getting out on the bike is a bit of a pain regularly, as i’ve loads of uni work to do at the mo, with a turbo etc i can re-listen to lectures etc while i do it.

    jo, i’m a cider man 😉


    hungry monkey – Member
    i can re-listen to lectures etc while i do it.

    You re listen to your lectures? Now that is organisation!

    Intervals, I’m afraid.

    I’d go for lots of threshold stuff in blocks of 10 mins, with 5 mins at recovery. 4 blocks with a warm up and a warm down a good session can be sorted in an hour. another good session would be various length efforts but 2:1 ie 1 min effort 2 mins recovery, 3 mins effort 6 mins recovery. again an hour with warm up/down and you’re sorted.

    Doing weights etc will only slow your legs down.


    can anyone break down a good interval training routine? i’d be up for giving them a go.


    EPO and speed/amphetamines 😯


    just do pyramids.

    10 mins warm up
    6 mins at low resistance
    5 mins higher resistance
    4 mins higher
    3 mins
    2 mins
    1 min sprint (to virtual throw-up)

    and then back down again. That’s an hour that will work.

    spin classes at the gym are a good way to o intervals as someone else does all the thinking for you, all you have to do is

    a) make sure when they say go faster/harder you do
    b) do your best not to throw up

    go to as many as possible (assuming you have no pre existing injuries, spinning will show them up!)

    Alternate your days
    1 day go hard (spinning, intervals, etc)
    1 day go easy (aim for 3 hours)

    Taper in the last week, concentrate on shorter rides at an easy pace, and eat lots of carbs before and after.

    Make sue your bike is i A1 codition, you dont want to be thinking mid race “id be going faster on a new cassette, back tire could do with being a bit softer etc etc)

    pyramids sounds similar to what i do. do you build up all the way to the top with no rests, or one level up, rest, another level up, rest, ad nauseum…?

    currently, on bike in gym, 5 min warm up, 2 min level 3, then 1 at 4, 1 at 5, one at 6. then down to level 4, then 1 at 5,6,7, down to 5,6,7 (7 is max).
    badly explained, i know.
    then i do 2 min low, one min max, and repeat a few times. thats 30 mins, which is the most i can get away with at the gym, as its usually pretty busy.

    tend not to do leg weights at the gym, other than leg presses (cos its the only thing at the gym i’m any good at – got puny arms :cry:)


    the pyramids that really worked for me was straight-up no rest, the back down becomes a rest, as when you drop down it feels soooo much easier!

    If you do those pyramids you might want to stick in some rest periods otherwise you’ve just done a 15min effort. 5 mins effort/5 mins recovery, 4 mins effort/4 mins recovery, 3 mins/3 mins etc etc.

    If you’ve done a decent effort during the interval, you’ll need the recovery in between.

    Best not to drop all the way back to recovery if you’re doing max efforts though, still I doubt if you’re asking for advice on how to do intervals you’re gonna be able to do a 5 min max effort! You’d be better not going as hard but do more intervals ie 140bpm recovery 170 bpm effort.


    weekends i do a long ride and in the week/night i cant see my bike computer in the dark so i just do random hard efforts over a shorter ride. theory being in a race you do lots of short high efforts, for hills and such so varying workload and times seems to work ok for the pitiful amount of riding i do.

    i’m considering a getting a garmin 705 hrm to get a bit more scientific about training though, or will it be just be an expensive stopwatch..

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    i can re-listen to lectures etc while i do it

    You’re eityher not bothered about what you’re listening to, or you’re not using the turbo properly….

    If using a turbo, try Try the Russian steps.

    i’m not really concentrating too much on the lectures, but i’m sure some of it goes in. up until now i’ve not really known how to do pyramids/intervals anyway. maybe i’ll not listen to them again. i’ll look into that link, thanks.


    get a road bike and race cars till your dribbling snot.


    What you do won’t make much difference in a month so I wouldn’t worry too much. A few interval, some climbing stuff. Make sure you are well rested/hydrated and fed before the race.

    If you are doing more races and wanting to do well then by all means start a proper training programme.

    In either case watch out for over-training.

    After xmas/new year, each week I’ve generally done one longish interval session (say 4 x 5 min hard aerobic) per week and one short interval session (8 to 10 x 2 min anaerobic @ nr puke)with equal length rest intervals between. Plus longer ride at w/e, sometimes with roadies, sometimes not.

    Made me much fitter but actually makes bllox all difference cos the standard at XC races is generally so high that <3 months ‘training’ is not enough. (i.e. I came about 50th at Thetford race last w/e in my age category, and about 25mins after winner).

    I should really just go out and have some fun on the bike.

    One more bit of advice…..get some motorhead on your MP3 for the turbo sessions

    Premier Icon stever

    You race off the training you did 3 weeks ago I’m afraid. Accept your fate 😉

    Re-listen to lectures eh? Surely the answer is to swap lectures for bike, then listen back in the evening?

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Intervals, and hard ones. Should sharpen you up. Also try and do a few 1.5 hour balls out sessions. Really flog yourself. I’ve found that that takes a bit of getting used to.

    Oh and rest nicely before the race. Don’t do much after Wednesday if your race is at the weekend.

    Premier Icon njee20

    If you’re doing pyramids I’d definitely include rest periods, but not too long, I go for half the duration of the interval as rest.

    Cardio’s a bit pointless in the gym, if you’re gonna do that, just go out on the bike, otherwise do spinning, or do some squats and work on core stability.

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