Applegate is a Pro level coach with Carmichael Training Systems. He has over 20
years of racing experience and has been coaching cyclists full time since 2001.
His passion is endurance mountain bike racing. We would like to welcome Andy to our amazing group of elite coaches. You can find out more about Andy and his training programs at www.trainright.com
intensity take the place of volume for endurance racer? Or should there be a
good amount of volume some time during the year?
Answer:The optimum training plan for an endurance mountain bike racer would
include both intensity and volume at appropriate times during the training and
racing season. Can a racer get away without too much volume? Sure, it is
amazing what the human body is capable of suffering through, but that kind of
suffering can be avoided with even a little bit of endurance training added
into the mix.
High intensity training (HIT) can get a racer to a
very high fitness level. Doing specific HIT work will improve power at threshold
and can condition the aerobic energy system quite well. However, there are
aspects of conditioning that HIT will not bring up to par for longer endurance
races. Longer training sessions will help train support muscle groups and allow
the rider to gain a good sense of pacing, as well as the ability to process
nutrition while riding. Core (lower back and abdominals), arms, shoulders and
hands all adapt to the stress of longer sessions. Preparing the entire body to
perform to its potential for a long event is difficult to do if only including
very short training sessions in the program. Last but certainly not least, the
ability to actually sit on the saddle for a long time should not be taken for
The idea is not to overload on volume, but to place
endurance rides in the schedule when you can to allow these important
adaptations to take place before important long events. One long ride a week
most weeks could be adequate to accomplish these goals. Even the most time crunched athlete can usually
find one day a week or even every other week to get out on a long ride. Add
this volume in when you can and the time spent will pay dividends with more
confidence and better performance on event day.
If you have a question you would like Andy or any of our amazing coaches to answer just send it to email@example.com