CX almost over, XC almost here

Just as the road season is starting, the cross season is almost over. What I'm really looking forward to though is mountain bike season so there may be a few weeks of racing without mud... a bit boring but hopefully, I can concentrate on my own racing preparation during that time and keep going with an okay training.

So far, I have been almost sticking to my homemade training plan to the T since early December. Lots of milage at the begining, some core work, now doing some various intervals twice a week with some strength training... I am hoping it turns out well to be fast enough toward the end of May for my first races. Right now it's hard to say if it's working well or not but with training weeks between 10 to 18 hours compared to... almost nothing a year ago, I think I should be better. Of course, after the base training, I should see if all the volume helped out with some more intense power and speed work during the build and peak phases to hopefully see the trail zip by under me faster than ever...

This week is an easy/rest/recovery week, it feels weird not riding as much but it's one of the things I learned last summer: resting is important. I need to work on getting enough sleep though, that's always hard.

By the way, if any fellow racers who are locals to me (Montreal) are looking for people to carpool to races across Quebec this summer, I might be looking to bring people or get rides to Quebec Cup XC races, especially races that are far like Baie St-Paul, St-Félicien and Valcartier, saving some gas and making the long drives less boring.


Vu said...

I can't wait for racing season to start for me.
As they say, training doesn't make you faster, recovery makes you faster.

Carl Buchanan said...

It's going to be weird racing XC again...but it should be fun again too. :)

Dan Gerous said...

Vu: I have a hard time having easy days though. When I get on a bike, I tend to push it and since I ride a bike to work everyday, I really need to control myself and just cruise, otherwise I tend to not recover well enough. I did put an easier gear on my commuter this winter, last year it was single speeded with a single very tall gear.

Carl: great to hear you'll be back on a mountain bike (can't wait to see it actually), it will be good for cross anyway. Will you be doing XC or more endurance races like you used to?

Kevin B said...

dan - you mention the long hours of base and that now you're doing intervals twice a week... training weeks of 10-18 hours...

was the 10-18 during base, or are you still doing those kinda numbers?

obviously you will much more fit in spring, but be careful, it is important to be fast in May-August for XC, not in March. don't burn out, specially if this is your first year of real training.

Dan Gerous said...

Kevin: I cut down the volume a bit with the intensity added so I'm doing less hours now closer to 10/week, but I don't think I'm doing too much. Basically, I just do a few short 30s intervals (5x30, wait to get back well into zone 1, then wait another minute or so between each) during an easy ride to not lose too much leg speed, some 15 or 20 minutes long intervals during saturday's ride... I try to add spin-ups and one-legged spins during another ride once a week too, some upper body exercices and body weight squats twice a week... So I'm not doing too taxing intervals yet and still consider this base.

Right now, I'm not expecting to be fast but I don't want to be rolling 100% in zone 1-2 and have to start back from too far, plus, adding some variety to the intensity and cadence makes those hours more tolerable on a trainer.

I'm noting every trainings I do, the duration, if anything special is worth noting so at least, I will be able to look back and understand better if it doesn't work too well... I'm also respecting the classic easy week after every 3 weeks.

I'm open to hear any tips though...

Kevin B said...

the main tip i would give is recovery. on your days off during the "on" weeks, take the day OFF the bike, specially in the racing season. it is hard to go easy enough to recover.

no matter how hard i try, by mid to late summer, i am pretty spent and i do about half your volume and race mid to upper expert, for about 7 or 8 seasons.

rest weeks are REALLY important, this year i will take at least 1 week completely off around the beginning of July. Maybe even again at the end of August if I plan on doing any cross.

i just see it happen all the time, guys get into it more, and overdo it and then just give up. they are often their fastest at the first race, and then drop all season long. you are always better to be undertrained, than overtrained.

so don't be one of those guys.

the best training is to do the LEAST amount of MOST effective training.

good luck!

Dan Gerous said...

Good tips, thanks. Do you think I should leave out the intervals for now? Just do long intervals maybe? Base is the part I'm having the most difficulty figuring out. I have seen very different opinions on base, the old school way is to do lots of easy milage, new school seems to keep some more intense training year round to keep the previous season's form.

It's just a bit hard for me to take too many days completely off the bike as I ride to work monday through friday (other means of transportation are just not convenient/practical). So I need to force myself to go very easy...

My race schedule is posted and it's a bit weird. Mid May, I have a double weekend (two XC races) then another race the next weekend. After that, there are no races for over a month, no races at all in June. I'm planning to take a break after the first batch of races, then ramp up again for the rest of the season.

Of course, one of the things that's also important is to listen to the body, skipping trainings if needed,

Kevin B said...

i think intervals are fine, but i would tend to stick to the longer, more moderate (muscular endurance) intervals right now, and fast spinnin in an easy gear (spin ups). but VO2max (30 sec), start those like 4-6 weeks before racing.

just make sure you allow for proper recovery, to allow your body to fully adapt, it is just as important as doing the training. most of us don't feel entirely confident in our training at some point, and try to do a little extra... it can quickly become too much.

but listen to your body. if this is your first winter of real training, it will be a learning experience. and like i wrote earlier, better to error on the side of a little undertrained.