• Ally Mackay

Personal Training. Week 3

Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING weekly blog.

Each week I will be giving you tips and tricks about maintaining your fitness and your bodies condition during a tough season of MTB racing. I will also have some tips about managing your mindset and getting into racing if you feel inspired by this blog and the season ahead. I’m really looking forward to getting into this blog and helping you with any questions you may have so, if you enjoy the content feel free to get in touch with me (my links are on the bottom of the blog) and share your stories and questions.

Let’s get into it!

This week I want to talk to you about the week before a race. What can you do in the gym, what shouldn’t you do and how do you manage energy levels and most importantly. Prevent your legs from feeling tired on race day. I want to talk to you about 2 disciplines. XC and enduro. As the style of the event is a world apart what you should do in the gym reflects this. So, let’s get into it.


Starting with Enduro then. Training for this kind of event requires a mixture of downhill skill/conditioning and riding fitness.

Enduro stages typically consist of long stages where a rider needs the ability to switch on their power instantly and maintain a strong body on multiple stages. With a less intense liaison in between. Sorry if this upsets you, but enduro is no where near as harsh on the body than XC. Due to this an enduro rider can keep quite an intense training routine through the course of their race week.

Obviously, the goal is to keep the upper body fresh and energised for practice and race day (or practice and race days).

Let’s create a scenario and say you have a one-day enduro event on Sunday. Practice at 09:00 and our start time is 13:00.

So how should your training week look, let’s break it down:

Monday: Mobility, Upper body strength and cognitive rest (read blog 2).

Tuesday: Ride (either in the day or a power hour after work). Fitness based, but also get some downhill’s done and get a good distance covered if you have time in the day.

Wednesday: Mobility, plyometrics, lower body strength work (see blog 2) and bike sprints to finish (assault bike or exercise bike at the gym).

Thursday: Stability, core functional training, back strength and posture-based work (light session).

Friday: Ride, focus on skill-based riding on local trails, ride back up if the climb isn’t horrendous. The focus here is to feel good on the bike and find your pace. Don’t ride trails that are too risky as breaking your bike is a nightmare at this point.

Saturday: Full day off. A light walk is fine but don’t go crazy!

Sunday: Race day.

So, as you can see with this training for an enduro event can be quite intense up to Friday. As long as you manage your body well so the mid-week is the most intense, this is when you will have the most rest for your legs to recover for Friday, then keep the riding light on Friday and just use it as a local warm up essentially. After this you can go into the weekend with fresh legs, keep them moving around Saturday just to keep them from going too stiff and stretch your legs before you get on a bike on race day (especially if you have had a long drive).

Obviously, your recovery is based around your age, sleeping conditions and diet to name a few factors but. If you live a healthy lifestyle, this routine should be fine for you. Enduro races are great because they are more chilled out and feel like you are just going for a ride. Use that to your advantage and just enjoy the day.

Moving onto XC then:

Cross country:

Cross country mountain biking is a whole different kettle of fish. Essentially you are working at 100% from the get-go. Distance is usually shorter, but the intensity is usually higher. There is no rest on the hills as you are racing on all areas of the course and this really comes into it. Due to this, managing your bodies cardiovascular fatigue as well as your legs is very important. The advantage here is the descents aren’t usually as taxing but your heart rate will be higher through the decent meaning it is easier to make small mistakes due to feeling shattered. This means in the gym you should be doing a lot of cognitive training (performing simple tasks while your heart rate is at its threshold/max) while also working on your fitness. Strength requirements are still high, but not as high as an enduro rider would be.

So, this is what a typical XC race week would look like:

Monday: Mobility, stability and functional upper body strength (push and pull).

Tuesday: XC race simiulation. Ride hard for 1 hour, on a route you don’t have to stop on.

Wednesday: Small amounts of lower body strength, with mobility and stability. Bike based intervals to finish (10 minutes max).

Thursday: Small distance run or steady ride, no more than 5 flat miles if you are running and 7-10 miles of flat riding if you are on the bike. The trick is to keep the legs moving but at an efficient level.

Friday: Posture work, core work and foam rolling the legs.

Saturday: Rest, stretch and foam roll the legs and a small walk if you have too is okay.

Sunday: race day, practice at 08:30, race at 10:45. Spend 10 minutes steadily spinning the legs in the car park before race day.

You will notice that the gym-based sessions are more focused around functional movement over strength here. That is due to the demands of XC and the amount of fatigue you would be working under.

As you can see there aren’t too many differences with the style of training for these events. The differences are mainly with the intensity of training and the amount of work you can put into the lower body. XC is a very difficult training system to get right and lining up feeling a fraction of fatigue can ruin a rider’s mentality.

I hope you enjoyed the Information in this article and as always, feel free to get in touch and suggest any articles you would like to see going forwards. Next week I want to talk to you about Injuries, and how to stay supple and injury free (crashes aside). Have an amazing week and as always, get in touch on @acopleypt and on www.adamcopleypt.com

Have an amazing week. Adam


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