Training & Nutrition - How does training change for a race?
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10-06-02, 01:05 AM
Hey guys and girls,
My first ever XC race is this coming weekend; the 12th & 13th of October! I normally ride 4 times, run 2 times, and play tennis once a week. But, now I'm confused...
I want to be rested and feel fresh on Sunday for the race, but I don't want to be sluggish either because of inactivity!
What is the story here? Where is the balance point? Somebody please tell me what to do...
I have exactly one week until the race!
10-07-02, 05:00 AM
for maximum race performance you need to "taper" your training (the terms more used in running, but still applies for cycling).
basically, the benefits from training come 2 days to 2 weeks AFTER training, so training you do on Friday and Saturday will HURT more than help your race on Sunday. when you train for improvement, you actually break down your body and your muscles and then it is rebuilt stronger. Thus, maintenance training that doesn't break down the body is OK (but won't bring any new improvements) but intensive performance-improving training should NOT be done in the days before a race if you want maximum performance.
there are various recommendations from different trainers and experts... from not riding at all to training at lower intensity to training less time... i fall into the less, very low intensity exercise if you feel OK, and otherwise SKIP it!
what i personally do:
* with a Sunday race, the week of the race do most of your cycling Wednesday or before (and ALL of your intensive training before Wednesday)
* then Thur/Fri/Sat do one short (say 3/4 to 1 hr) LIGHT SPINNING session on the bike - or work on technical stuff like wheelies and hops or whatever. if you don't feel 100%, skip the training. it's really only to get the blood moving and keep the body "ready" to ride. most important is take it easy. if someone passes you DON'T sprint to catch up - RIDE SLOW. NO BIG GEARS!
* then, since you run too (i train about same bike/run breakdown as you), do a run Friday or Saturday -- if Saturday then not longer than 45 minutes (or the distance that makes you tired the next day). the cardio system can usually recover more quickly than the muscles, so some cardio training Fri/Sat usually won't hurt much
for the 3 days before the race, the key is to NOT stress your body so that it is weakened and needs recovery. thus, so less intensity and less duration than your normal training.
IF it's a really big race, then you should have trained really hard for the 3 weeks preceeding the week of the race and then train very light the week of the race. you loose almost nothing in training in 1 week and are then recovered to your max. i.e. all the training benefits without and time deteriation from 1 week PLUS high level of recovery. of course the next week after the race you will notice performance decrease from less training (plus the break-down from high exertion in the race)---- i.e. a small 2-4 day weekly cycle and a large 3-4 week cycle for intensive/light training. then, for pros, there is also an even larger near-annual cycle so that pros plan to reach peak performance for one weekend of the year for the most important race.
Mike, good luck with your first XC race!! also don't forget to "carbo-load" the night before, eat a good breakfast 2-3 hours before and start drinking a lot of water a few hours before the race to start well-hydrated.
P.S. i finished 138 out of 800 (time 3:27 -- first place pro rider finished in 2:32) in the Oberstdorf (Germany) MTB Marathonon (long XC race) September 29 with 55km and 1600 meters of vertical climbing... i had a good race except i crashed in a muddy rock garden and banged up my shoulder, hip and knee but i got back on the bike and finished...
10-07-02, 11:01 AM
I appreciate your feedback. Think I'll spin on the road today about an hour and again on Wednesday a little bit harder. I've been training pretty hard the last few months, so I think I'll do more resting than training leading up to the race. Might get a run in on Thursday...
Thanks for responding........I'm getting pretty nervous as the day approaches and just need some reassurance...
10-08-02, 06:08 AM
it's always fun to get a little pumped up for a race! it's also a nice thing every so often to do a ride non-stop without having to stop to check the map ro wait for friends or break for lunch. plus, you can see how much your training has paid off (just don't compare yourself directly to the pros)
enjoy getting pumped up, but don't stress about it. if you've trained hard up till now, taking it easy is the way to go.
P.S. there are other threads discussing the merits of shaving, but i personally find that shaving the legs the night before a big race is the perfect mental preparation...
good luck on your race!
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