TOP TIPS FOR ESTABLISHING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH TRAINING
As the winter training kicks into gear and many of us are finding our stride, it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of your relationship with training.
BALANCE: there is often pressure to hone in on a single objective without compromise. It’s important to be flexible and keep variety in your plan to develop a good foundation. Try different routes, terrain, and workouts. Then mix in events, fun group rides, and use cross-training/strength training to keep things dynamic.
SKILLS: getting *physiologically* faster is pretty cut and dry and tends to be a relatively responsive experience. Skills, on the other hand, are what allow you to capitalize on that fitness and are all-too-often overlooked. Dedicate some time to them this season and be intentional with it; it may not feel like a training day, but the benefits can be instrumental in your ability to go fast.
RECOVERY: “train hard, recover harder”. Don’t be afraid to take it easy, spin, or just not ride! Recovery is what enables you to gain from all those days of work you put in. In fact, these are the days where those "blocks" get stacked up to build your fitness. Additionally, build in a time (2+ weeks ideally) where you can take your foot off the gas completely and reset.
NUTRITION: fuel your workouts accordingly so that you can maximize the benefits from them. Don’t skimp on food/fuel when it you have a key workout, event, or etc. When off the bike, focus on really quality, balanced meals and eating to your needs: ie. don’t fall for stereotypes around what an athlete “should look like” or “can eat like”. Bottom line: STRONG IS FAST.
PROCESS: embrace the process of developing this season. It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing (or say you should be doing) and lose your own “north star”. Lean into the notion that you’re building yourself up for competition and that it takes time and patience practicing the right things consistently. Highlight your calendar with important events but don’t be afraid to venture out and expand your abilities. Pick races and events that you truly enjoy, plan weekend MTB getaways with friends or family, and keep it fun so that you keep the pilot light lit for a season of training.
RACING: as the spring nears, you’ll likely begin to fill the calendar with events (exciting times!). However, not all of these are realistically going to be “peak events” – in fact only about 2-3 peaks are feasible in a season. Thus, I have athletes start with their “A Goals” that are most important. Then we layer in “B Events” and even “C Events” to help guide the training process and help athletes to understand that we’ll use some of these as “training races”. It’s important to have these low-pressure events to practice your nutrition plan, play with equipment, and get your legs underneath you.
Carson Beckett, 22 // UCI MTB Racer // Coach // // Student // Outdoor Enthusiast