Welcome to the second part of Training and Recovery from the team over at MTB Enduro Training.
We want to give you a bit of insight into training and recovery for the elite rider. In this case, I’m going to define an “elite rider” as one who is a sponsored mountain bike racer so I can give you a glimpse of that world that many don’t get to peak into.
First things first. I want you to remember this section from part one in the last post…
“There are definitely a few crucial fitness considerations you should be mindful of when seeking to be better prepared for the next season, and I want to share with you the top five foundational principles to having, creating or seeking a mountain biking training program.
- Breathing mechanics”
Look, we all need to be concerned about these five considerations, but, It’s particularly vital for elite athletes to take care of these areas of the body this time of year leading into off-season training.
Here are a few reasons why.
As the Yeti National Team trainer and a successful enduro racer myself, I’ve seen the training and race stress up close while training these riders, and personally while racing. Unlike amateur riders, elite riders are responsible for many aspects of their careers, including:
Their body is their avenue to success
It’s the athletes’ body that brings glory to a bike manufacturers brand. No matter the sport, this is the case. Elite athletes are paid to be the best they can be to bring attention and exceptionalism to the brands they are paid to represent, and because of this, training and recuperation is one of the most important combinations for max performance at competition and overall longevity in their sport.
In fact, did you know that elite level athletes typically have clauses in their contracts that essentially demand that they will do all they can do to be as fit as they can? This is one reason why the most competitive in each sport have not just a trainer/coach, but an entire team surrounding them.
The mountain bike athlete season is long, especially enduro racers
I’ve already starting training riders and racers for the 2017 season, which makes the training and riding/racing season eleven months long! This is a looooong season to expect the body to perform. Forty-four weeks takes a smart approach to training and resting.
We create a “Periodization” schedule for all our clients that has periods of stress, adaptation, and rest. It’s this approach that helps keep athletes able to be fresh, recover quickly, stave off injury and excel over the competition.
Time off the bike
Between race seasons I ask my clients, and I encourage you, to take at least 30 days off your bike.
WHAT? Yup, 30 days. Why?
Because of #2. It’s a long season, period. Your body and mind are tired and they need time away from the stress of the bike. Remember, cycling is a HUGELY cyclical and repetitive sport. It has detrimental effects on your body that can only be diminished by stepping away from the source of those effects for a period of time.
Now, it doesn’t mean not to train during this time! In fact, I encourage all of you to do all the other activities and sports that you love to do during these 30 days. The fresher physically and mentally you can be prior to riding and racing season, the better you’ll feel through the entire season!
Go see your medical team
You’ve probably seen my youtube videos where I teach you about the importance of having a highly skilled and well respected Physical Therapist, Orthopedist, Chiropractor, Nutritionist and Massage Therapist (and anyone else you deem valuable).
The beginning of the off season is a superb time to get your body back to a baseline of function and to speed up recovery from any lingering injuries and negative affects of the season. I, for example, am still working through repetitive elbow and hand injuries from the season and I’m actively in the mode of using my medical team to help accelerate the process.
Again, this advice isn’t just valuable for elite athletes, but ANY of you who’ve spent hours on hours on your bike this summer.
Begin the training season for 2017
During this time we focus on what I’ve already taught you with the ideas in these two articles. But another crucial aspect of early off-season training is muscle ‘hypertrophy” or growth. You see this time of year, most mountain bikers haven’t been in a gym in a while and their bodies are “weak” because of muscle deterioration due to high volumes of riding and little stimulation from “external weight sources” like weights in a gym. Due to this fact as well as muscles being used as fuel because of the large volumes of riding and racing, elite athletes particularly are the lightest weight they’ve been all season long.
Unfortunately, like I mentioned, much of the weight loss comes from muscle atrophy and fat loss. This is the time of year that I start to work on helping these elite riders (well, really all riders) gain back the lost muscle mass.
Why you ask?
Because muscles are attached to bone via tendons and tendons are the second to last resort of protecting a joint. When muscles get weak, so do the tendons, and if we want to build strength and power going into the season come springtime, we need to have a strong base of muscle growth and development, which simultaneously strengthen the tendons. Without this hypertrophy, strength development will be subpar!
So it goes, if you want to be the “best” mountain biker that your DNA holds, then train regularly off the bike to be a better athlete.
Just be sure to take time off the bike, set some goals, and get a plan together that will keep you accountable which inevitably will help you have your best riding and racing season yet!
Ride fast, have fun and enjoy!
More videos at the Enduro MTB Training website. They’re AWESOME and we LOVE them!