So, you’ve finally signed up for that century ride, big mountain bike race, or multi-day touring ride and you are wondering how you should prepare so that you can truly enjoy your day(s). Building upon the previous article about energy systems, you will be using your aerobic system almost exclusively in these types of events.
A well-followed principle of training is to progress your training from general to specific training, which is also known as periodization. In the case of an endurance event, such as a multi-day mountain bike trip, specific training means long, low to moderate intensity riding, and climbing strength.
This means that about 8-10 weeks from your big event, your training should shift to focus on these specific skills. In addition, you want to practice your nutrition during these specific training rides. For example, when you are out doing a 3-4 hour ride, try out the gels or sports drink exactly as you think you will in your event. You may find that you need to drink more, or less, or take in more nutrition or that you really can’t stomach that 5th cherry flavored gel. You don’t know until you practice.
The practice of following a periodized training plan that works on weaknesses during the general period and builds toward a key event separates the great athletes from the average ones. You can be the most athletic person in the world, but if you just go out and try to hammer it hard for 45 minutes a day, every day, you are going to fall apart in a longer race or event. Conversely, if you are a short track racer, or time trail racer, you can’t just go out and ride in zone 2 all day long and expect to have good results. There is a time and a place for each of those previously mentioned athletes to do non-specific training, but it is a long time before their key event, and then just frequently enough to maintain what was built during the general training blocks.
Following a training plan that is specifically designed for you by a coach who knows your athletic history and understands your goals is the single biggest thing you can do to take your training to the next level. You can expect to spend somewhere between $100 and $500 per month for a coach, which is at most equal to $6,000 per year. You could spend that on a new bike, but I can almost guarantee you that it will not result in as much improvement as coaching would. The bike is fun at first, but it’s a lot more fun to consistently perform up to your expectations. Your Chasing Epic tour comes with a plan I developed specifically for the demands of a multi-day endurance event. So, follow a plan and get the most out of your training and enjoy your riding!