Mountain bike training plans. Mountain bike coaching.

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MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s Feb 2014

Feb 4th was our most popular LW Coaching MTB open coaching day yet. These open MTB coaching days are gaining momentum. I really appreciate everybody tuning in from all over the world, asking mountain bike training and racing questions and connecting with me for the day. I love talking about mountain bike training, I love being busy and I love working hard – this day had it all! We got loads of MTB training questions answered and my fingers were tired of typing by the end of the day. Thanks for the success stories posted and all the kind words about my coaching and MTB training plans too. They all make my coachy heart glow. You guys rock and make my job pretty darn cool.

Here’s the compilation of the days Q&A’s, discussions and success stories. Next open coaching day will be the first week in March. See you then!


Mark A:  Hi Coach Lynda, I always suffer from cramps every time I do a MTB race, what is the main reason of this? Should I add any training or any food supplements?  Thanks, Mark.

Coach Lynda:  Cramping during a race is always disappointing as you can’t use your hard earned fitness. Read this article I wrote then shoot back with any questions. http://lwcoaching.com/how-do-i-prevent-cramping-during-races/


Jen H:  My base training is being followed by some planned time off (well significantly reduced activity and no structure). I will be slowly increasing my activity level over the next 2-3 weeks and incorporating some structure as my body allows. My question is: When I am ready to start up training again should I start with the build1 phase? If not, where should I start? Thanks and have a great day!

Coach Lynda:  That depends… What are your goals? What are you training for and what is your time frame?

Jen H:  Goal is to kick ass 🙂 Seriously though, planning on mostly cross-country distance races to start out, although plan on Frog Hollow 6 hour Duo. Hoping to race in April and peak end of Mayish. That is what I am visualizing at least, we will see how it plays out.

Coach Lynda:  Start back with a 2-3 week block with sub-threshold tempos (45 min power L3) and shorter duration threshold intervals (6 x 6 power L4) and one high power low, volume force session per week (8 x 12 sec sprints). Take a rest week then move into Build 1 phase. Be patient and smart with your comeback – which I am sure you will be. You always kick ass 🙂

Jen H:  Got it! Thanks! Let’s bring it on…..patiently 🙂


Nancy O:  What would you suggest, on how to improve speed on hill climbing? Thanks

Coach Lynda:  Hill intervals! Specifically, UP-hill intervals. Nothing beats a good set of climbing intervals to increase climbing speed.

Nancy O:  Thanks you. How often a week & what would they consist of?

Coach Lynda:  Nancy, what type of races are you training for? Do you want to improve on long hills or short ones? How long or short? What have you been doing in training recently and where is your fitness level right now?

Nancy O:  I just finished cyclocross season, and have been doing a lot of cross training TRX, weight training, running stairs, yoga, and skate skiing. I want to improve more on longer hills. I have signed up for 6hrs of Frog Hallow, and more XC style racing. I have not been on my bike much since December, working more off the bike. I have not worked specially on hill climbing skills, this is the year. I have started by losing 15lbs with a few to go. Fitness level is good.

Coach Lynda:  Nancy, you have a great start on the season! To improve your climbing begin with 4 x 6 mins climbing repeats twice per week in power L4 or HR zone 4 and progress to 4 x 8 mins. Then drop interval duration to 3 mins and increase intensity to power L5 or HR zone 5 and do 6 x 3 mins with 3 min recoveries. Also do these twice per week.


Jon N:  Thanks for having an open coaching day Lynda. I’m currently using one of your SS Training plans, but my question today is more about what I’m putting in my mouth. I have gained some weight the last couple years as I haven’t really been racing much. I’m back into it now and working my butt off. The problem is, right now I don’t have time to do a weight loss specific training block as I’m training to peak at several races later in the year and I’m using the appropriate stacking of plans to get there. I need to lose weight though. Sitting at 207 right now. I race well at 190 as I’m almost 6’2, but ideally in the 170’s is where I’d be at fighting weight. I’m using training peaks to keep track of calories and shooting for -400 to -500 deficit every day. This has me lose between 1-2 pounds a week. I know when race season ramps up in the Spring this will get tougher as I’ll need more good food for recovery. Is there anything else I’m not thinking about that you recommend for losing weight while training? I try to eat well – lots of fruit, spinach, tomatoes, onion, yogurt, lean meats(salmon, turkey, chicken) – but fail to eat a lot of veggies(2x/week). I only tell you this as I have a kid in pre-school and I try and keep myself from getting sick, which has been a weakness the last couple of years. So my questions for you today are:

  1. What do you think is good to eat on a regular basis to try and stay healthy?
  2. Is there anything else I’m missing as far as trying to lose weight slowly while training? And
  3. Are there any must eat foods or supplements you recommend every day?

Coach Lynda: 

  1. Lots of vegetables – really.
  2. Separate your training nutrition and daily nutrition. Make sure you are fueled before, during and after training. Cut the carbs and calories on rest days and in evenings.
  3. Yes, vegetables! They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients and are low calorie. If you don’t like eating them, put them in a blender or through a juicer and drink them. Here is my breakfast smoothie: beets, spinach, banana, glutamine, coconut oil, whey protein.

Rick S:  Hello Linda. I really enjoy reading all your post and wanted to say thanks. Your comments when we met at the BetterRide Mountain bike camp in Phoenix have led me to making so many changes. Lost 70 lbs to date and got my BF down to 10% by doing Crossfit 5 times a week and swimming 3 days a week. The diet really has been the best part. Thanks for helping me realize there were better days possible.

Coach Lynda:  Rick, 70 lbs, holy smokes! I bet you feel like a rock-star now! Congrats. Thanks for posting your results and for the nice words. I’m stoked for you. That brought a big smile to my face. I bet your riding improved a ton too.


Chris P:  How often do you need to go to higher altitude to maintain the benefits?

Coach Lynda:  Chris, the more the better… That is a tricky question and no definitive answers are given in the science and literature.

Here is my real world coaching experience (with no science to back it up): once you are adapted to altitude, personal experience with athletes training has shown that 2 nights per week sleeping as high as you can get and one day of riding high per week can maintain good adaption. I don’t have any numbers on this – just real world coaching experience.


Jason A:  Thanks again! If the plan calls for an endurance day but life just doesn’t allow the time, what is the best option if one has an hour to hour and half? I.E. hour and half at endurance pace, LT intervals, reschedule life, etc.??? Thanks in advance!

Coach Lynda:  Jason, the best option is to reschedule life and stick to the plan. If rescheduling your life creates a lot of stress the next best option is to reschedule the plan. If there are no rescheduling options, warm up and pedal out a solid non-stop power level 3/HR zone 3 sub-threshold tempo session.


Samantha W:  I race a single-speed against geared ladies. There are barely any women racing in Missouri, so no women’s single-speed category. What advice do you have for race tactics?

Coach Lynda:  Samantha, ah Yes, I have been in that position many times! Draft the geared ladies when you can, but for the most part you have to set your own pace. Make sure to pass everybody on the climbs. If a race finishes on a descent or long flat you should have a big gap at the top of the last climb. Then do your best rap-tuck-n-coast sprint to the finish line to hold on. Keep on single-speeding and more ladies will see how fun it is and join in!


Jennifer S:   Wondering if you might share about adapting a PR100 plan for a master (50+). I know you have been developing some master specific plans and the adaptations seem like a great way to keep training as the years pass me by. Thanks.

Coach Lynda:  Jennifer, I do have a series of training plans specifically designed for Masters racers. Read through the 40+ Masters training plan descriptions to learn more about what Masters racers can gain most from.


Jim I:  Currently on week 5 of PR100 plan for the White Mountains 100. 95% of my training on a fat bike in the snow. Some of the workouts are more suited for a road bike or other surfaces than snow. I hate riding the trainer but do some of the shorter pedaling skill workouts on it because they don’t translate well to the snow. Any suggestions or modification to the plan for a snow race?

Coach Lynda:  Jim, White Mountains 100 – cool! I recommend ditching the pedaling skills workouts on the trainer and instead go out and build pedaling skills on your snow bike by riding across as many different surfaces and snow conditions as you can find. That is very effective at building pedaling skills, sounds more fun for you and more specific for your particular training. Other modifications are to add race specific things into your plan, like ride loaded with all your gear on endurance rides. Practice unloading and reloading all your gear for an emergency bivy situation, practice safety aspects of racing in a very cold environment. Put time into all the logistics and execution details that accurately doing a race like this requires. Fitness is only a small portion of what it takes to be successful at White Mountains 100.


Lisa R:  Hi Lynda – In the past, I have done a lot of my training on a singlespeed and actually felt like I was really good at it for a while – almost exclusively riding SS. It seems now, and especially after TNGA, I have evolved back into a spinner and I am really weak on the SS…and well, its kind of frustrating since I used to NEVER have a bad ride on the SS. I am working towards XC nationals following the Masters XC plans…and I plan to ride a geared bike at Nats…should I use the SS for some of my workouts to help build strength and power or just stick with the gears? Am I trying to throw too much into the mix? (I tend to do that) When I felt I was really good on the SS, I also felt like I rode a geared bike very inefficiently.

Coach Lynda:  Lisa, I recommend riding your SS about once per week. Keep the bulk of your training on your geared bike as that is the one you want to be dialed in on. You are correct that when you get really dialed on your SS you feel less so on your geared bike and vice versa. Stay melded to your geared bike and enjoy the SS once per week for some powerful training.

Lisa R:  One other question pertaining to the Masters Base plan…the squats, deadlifts and power cleans are new to me exercises that are definitely leaving the glutes / hip flexors fatigued…I really feel it on many of my rides, especially the steep climbs…kind of takes the wind out of my sail. Even on the recovery weeks my legs still feel like they are carrying fatigue from the strength training. The bike workouts are still doable, just mentally harder. Am I just over-reaching here or should my legs be more recovered on recovery weeks? Should I scale back the weights on recovery weeks? I am not sore after…but I can definitely tell that I have fatigued the muscles on the following day or two.

Coach Lynda:  Lisa, Stick with it during the training weeks and scale back on race weeks and recovery weeks. This strength work scales back on the next plan when your important races arrive. Lisa, Thx for posting. It wouldn’t be a complete Open Coaching day without hearing from you!!

Lisa R:  Thank you – the good news is that I have not had any issues following the Master’s Plan, and have been able to get in a bit more bike time than prescribed each week. I really like only being on the bike 4 days – especially now since the weather isn’t great, and I’m enjoying the strength training despite it breaking me down a bit.

Coach Lynda:  I’m, looking forward to seeing you smash a whole bunch of races this season!


Christina N:  Hey Lynda, have you ever coached an athlete with hypothyroid? My synthroid dose is stable but my metabolism revs and sputters during builds and recovery more than the average athlete, which often leads to frequent weight gain/loss cycles. I’m GF, mostly dairy free, and I eat almost completely whole foods. I often get low blood sugar swings even with the way I eat. Basically I eat dinner for every meal- protein/meat, veggies, and a carb (often potato or squash). Any suggestions to tackle this cycle? Frustrating.

Coach Lynda:  Several including myself. My thyroid died in 2000 and I have been on synthroid for 14 years. I know exactly what you are talking about with your metabolism. Sometimes I feel like I have a tapeworm and can’t eat enough to keep up on it but can gain weight easily at other times! Your diet quality sounds great except for maybe being too low in fat. Increasing the amount of fat in your diet will help to stabilize things and avoid low blood sugar swings.

Coach Lynda:  Nutrient timing is key for you too. You have to be responsive and in tune with your body and training loads more than the average athlete. I find my metabolism ramp-up and slow-down has a time lag so sometimes on recovery days I have to eat big. However on big training days you have to eat big too! Try adding coconut oil to your cooked veggies and whole canned coconut milk to your smoothies.

Paula P:  we used coconut milk in cooking with our veggies, we add some lime juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes…..it’s fantastic!

Coach Lynda:  Paula that sounds good!

Christina N:  One other question…do you find it is better for your thyroid to eat more frequently but smaller portions or larger portions less frequently? I used to eat less frequently but have found my body can often take a lot of energy digesting food and I have…See More

Coach Lynda:  Christina, The answer is more from the perspective of an endurance athlete, not so much a hypothyroid athlete. The problem we have is that during exercise we need to eat frequently in small doses, we need to fuel before and after exercise. We are working out twice per day most days. Then add on top x3 meals per day. On an average day we are heavily adapting ourselves to frequent feedings so on the rare day when you are resting your body is off kilter. Fueling only every 3-4 hours on the bike is a terrible plan for long distance racers.

Christina N:  Great feedback, thanks! And so good to know others have made it work. I absolutely see lags and try to adjust food intake by how I feel more than what it seems like I should eat…big difference sometimes. Going to try more coco oil and I try to get a bunch of olive oil and lots of avocados.


Bobby H:  Thanks again for this Lynda. As a related question to weight loss, currently doing the weight loss base plan but ideally want to keep losing as the year progresses. How close to scheduled events would be wise to push having a calorie deficit? Been a bit of a slow start to the weight-loss portion this year, but feeling better on the bike already.

Coach Lynda:  Bobby, how much have you lost? How much more do you want to lose? When is your first important event of the season? The answer depends on how close to your goal weight you are.

Bobby H:  I lost about 3 pounds last month, slow start. Right now the main event is in July with one other event the end of May. For my goal weight, there is realistic which would be 20-25 pounds from where I am now. To what would be really nice to get to 35 pounds, but that is likely outside of this time frame realistically

Coach Lynda:  Bobby, stay on a gradual smart reduction plan and avoid crash diets. Maintain a calorie deficit until 7 days prior to your event then go calorie neutral. While you are training be sure to fuel before, during and after training. Cut your calories in the evenings and on recovery days.

Bobby H:  A related diet/nutrition question. Through some freinds that are going to a local trainer, they were talking about metabolic efficiency, based on books from Bob Seebohar. Looking at one other reply you linked to a book/nutrition plan from Kelli Jennings, that looks to at the surface jive with that. Right now I am working to get my wife on board. Any other thoughts around these plans/ideas?

Coach Lynda:  Focus on whole foods and lots of vegetables. Limit anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce or know what they are.


Loren L:  Hi Lynda, Sorry – I forgot this was today and actually posted this on the forum too – apologies for redundancy. I’m in week 3 of the Time crunched build peak race program and love it, as I loved the base. But In the last few days I developed an iffy right knee. It’s OK if I spin, not ok if I push big gears (ie the climbing stuff). I’m still on the trainer as I live in NH. What should I do this week? stay off the bike? I hate that idea of course. But I will. Or could I sub in some super spinny lower gear “things”? Thanks! Loren ps and thanks for doing this too

Coach Lynda:  Loren my forum is there for you any day 🙂 Stay off the bike for 3 days. That is a tiny investment compared to managing an iffy knee for the whole season. Don’t even do the spinny stuff for 3 days. Do look at your cleats, shoes and pedals for wear. Do foam roll and stretch your legs, hips and back. Do re-measure your seat height and fore-aft position. Do be a detective and spend these three days figuring if there is a blatant reason why your knee went iffy like your seat dropped an inch.

Loren L:  Thanks Lynda, I am going to get on all of this. Now that I think about it I think I might have changed the sole inserts for my shoes a week or so before this started happening! Loren


Dina K:  Hi Lynda, thanks for opening this up today. Much appreciated! I am fairly new to the mountain biking scene (like 5 months new), and this will be my first year racing. I am not unfamiliar with training for competitive athletics; I was a college alpine ski racer and a 2012 State and National tennis champion in my division. However, this is my first time doing anything in the endurance scene, so training is obviously much different. What suggestions do you have for a new racer? Where should my training focus be? Thanks again for your help!

Coach Lynda:  Dina, have you done a mountain bike race yet? For a new racer I recommend building your technical ride skills and all around ride abilities. Do some race specific drills: Practice race starts – these are fast and furious! Practice passing another rider on the trail. Do a few races to figure out where you rank as far as category goes and as far as abilities go e.g. are you a better climber or descender. Then look at following a structured training plan to improve quickly. Look through my mountain bike racing training plan menu for options.

Dina K:  Lynda- after reading through the plans, I am wondering if I should start with the Cat3 plan because I plan to do 3 20-30 mile races in April and May. However, by July 4th my goal is to complete a 50 mile race- could I then move into the 50 mile finisher plan at the end of the 1st 12 weeks? Or do you suggest something different? Thanks!

Coach Lynda:  I recommend you start with the Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan, not the Cat 3 plan as that will prepare you for your April/May races and the 50 miler plan much better. Complete the Cat 2 plan then move into the 50 miler Finisher plan. That will work nicely.

Dina K:  Awesome, coach Lynda. Thanks for the input!


Kevin McM:  Hi Lynda- thank you for having these clinics. There is so much to learn and there are always so many great questions asked!  I plan on entering about 5 or 6 races this year, hopefully moving up to sport in mid-season, depending on my results. Most of them will be around 12-15 miles, however I am entering a 100k race too. I plan on riding about 5 times per week, come summer. Right now, I’m lifting 3 days a week, spinning 3 days, I take Pilates twice per week and yoga once per week. My question is, how often should I train in season and what should I do, as far as Pilates , yoga, etc? Thank you!

Coach Lynda:  Kevin, Yes it is exciting to have all these questions coming in. I love it!! You are right on target with your plan. Well done! Training 5-6 days per week in season is great. Take at least one day off and have at leans one other day where all you do is one yoga or Pilates session. That puts you on the bike training 5 days per week.

Keep up with your Pilates twice per week and yoga once per week all season except for race weeks. On race weeks cut back to one session of Pilates earlier in the week and one restorative focused yoga session mid-week or post-race.


Tanya H:  Hi Linda, I am in week 10 of your weight loss base plan. I am a little confused about 30-30s riding at 90% effort this time of year. The description of the plan says “This plan does not have high intensity sessions due to the weight loss and aerobic base focus.”

A few notes before my questions:

  • My first A race is mid April.
  • Most of my spring races are 2-3 hours long and are mtb/spring classic cx style.
  • Then I am doing longer mtb races (100km @ Mohican May 31, Breck Epic).
  • I am a Master racer (37 yrs). I tend to burn out/get slower in June or July every year.

My questions are: should I be doing these hard efforts (30-30s) so early? And what plan should I do between the end of the weight loss plan and the stage race plan that will lead up to Breck?

Coach Lynda:  Tanya, yes, you should definitely be doing these hard efforts. I better change the description of the training plan! These few hard efforts near the end of the plan are to prep you for what is coming next. These short intervals in week 9, 10 and 11 of the plan are good to boost metabolism.

I recommend your next training plan is the 100 km Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan. That will prep you nicely for Mohican 100k and set you up for the stage race training plan and Breck Epic.


Grant M:  Hello Lynda, With the races I have coming up which are (B races) would it be better to keep working through the 40 + 100 miler best finisher plan and adjust to my race or to use a recovery week ( week 12) before these races? Even though they are B races they are still important to me.

Coach Lynda:  Grant, Use a week #12 on race week if they are very important to you. Often times a B race will fit into the plan with no changes at all to the plan or with only minor changes such as swapping out a Saturday for the previous or next one. Use a combination of schedule changes and adding in week #12’s for the best results.

Grant M:  If I use a week 12 do I add the week of workout I missed at the end of the plan?

Coach Lynda:  Grant, adding back in the missed week or skipping it depends on how much time you have to your “A” race. If you have the time, add the missed week back in, if not, skip it. You would add the week directly after the “B” race week, not at the end of your plan.

Grant M:  Also today I am supposed to do short track circuit. If I cannot find a 5 minute lap circuit can I just do 30 mins of hilly singletrack up and back riding hard of course? This workout is very new to me.

Coach Lynda:  For the short track circuit it is better to do an out-an-back on a quiet section of trail as your circuit rather than a big 30 min loop. The idea is to take lap splits to keep yourself on pace. If you take 5 mins on your first circuit lap (or out and back leg) and can only manage 7 mins on the next one you went out too fast. The short track workout is a lesson in pacing in addition to being a high intensity session.


Brad N:  Thank you for having these open Coaching days. Assuming i am rested and trained. What should a race week of training or preparing look like? 50 to 100 miler is on Saturday.

Coach Lynda:  Sunday – rest, Mon recovery spin, Tue openers (10 min power L3, 3 x 3 min mid L5), Wed 2 x 6 min power L4 climbing repeats, Thur recovery spin or day off, Fri 60 min pre-ride with openers and bike check, Sat race like a rock-star 🙂 Stretch a little every day and maintain a moderate core training schedule up to Wednesday then rest the core. Eat extra carbs on Fri evening.

Coach Lynda:  I appreciate your thanks!

Brad N:  Thank you for your wisdom.


Mike P:  Lynda – Shout out from Bend, OR! Just started the AZTR Training Plan. Each day has a Wkout #1 and #2 (guessing all your plans do). My assumption is that the wkouts are listed in sequential order intentionally, as in “always do #1 first any given day”. This is specific to days where Bike + Strength, or vice-versa, is prescribed. Can you confirm that it’s intentional? This is specific.

Coach Lynda:  Mike, good question! Do the workouts in any order that fit best with your schedule for the day. Fitting training nicely into your routine is the important factor. The #1 and #2 are more for visual formatting than prescribing workout order.

Mike P:  Any detriment to splitting up 3hr and/or 4hr ride days into 1.5 or 2 hr blocks (i.e. for a 4hr bike day – do 2hrs in AM and then 2hrs in PM)? Cheers! – Mike

Coach Lynda:  Mike, on the AZTR training plan it is fine to split up the <4 hour rides. Don’t split up the 6+ hour rides – those are the ones that are key for you to do unbroken. Also, don’t split up the rides involved in bike-packing practice with gear and camping out overnight off your bike. All others are fine to split.

Mike P:  Thanks so much, coach Lynda!


Kim C:  Hey Lynda, my question is in regards to nutrition during and after races and/or hard efforts. I’ve primarly raced 6hr events during which I’ve used water and gels or Clif Bloks and an occasional Lara Bar. It’s difficult to consume anything after an event since my appetite is zero for at least a couple of hours after the finish. I’m sure I could be doing better in terms of nutrition but there is so much information out there it’s a bit overwhelming. I know it is highly individual but I would just like a good place to start. Can you recommend any basic resources? “Race and Recovery Nutrition for Dummies” is what I need.

Coach Lynda:  Kim, Force feed yourself after a race or hard workout. It is incredibly important for your recovery. Use a recovery drink that is palatable. I recommend the CarboRocket Rehab. Kelli Jennings and her ebook is the bomb. That is what you need.

Kim C:  Awesome! Thanks for the link Lynda.

Coach Lynda:  Kim Kelli is great and offers nutrition coaching too.

Mike P:  LW Coaching, I have the same issue at times, and will check out your recommendations as well. When you say ‘force feed after race or hard workout that means within 20 to 30 mins of stopping, correct? How import after a zone 1 / easy spin or regen workout?

Coach Lynda:  Mike, yes, within 20-30 mins of stopping. No need after a zone 1 spin. Only after long and hard session is recovery nutrition crucial.


Courtland K:  Good morning Lynda Wallenfels I’ve reg’d for my 1st Breck Epic this year and have purchased 40+ XC plan and 6 day plan. I’m curious about yout thoughts on a specific Amino Acid supplement? Do you have experience with a company or have suggestions? Thanks for your time!

Coach Lynda:  Courtland, Breck Epic – exciting! Which specific amino acid? I like NOW brand products.

Courtland K:  I know L-glut is probably a main one. And I believe there’s 3 others can’t remember off the top of my head? Didn’t know if taking all 3 or 4 at once as some kind of multi (?) or each individual? I’m familiar with the NOW brand and will look them up. I’ll be having many more questions as I start moving through this 6-7 month build up!

Coach Lynda:  Courtland, after training, consuming L-glutamine and the branched chain amino acids L-valine, L-leucine and L-isoleucine may decrease muscle breakdown, reduce central nervous system fatigue and speed recovery. Review the Post Exercise Nutrition Habits in my Recovery Tools article.


Aric H:  Hi Lynda, I am in the middle of your weight loss program and it’s going well in terms of feeling stronger for this early in the season. I live in canada so we don’t start racing til May. I haven’t been able to lose a lot of weight though. I am 6′ and 185 lbs. My friends and family think I am crazy to try and lose weight. Have you found that there are some people who have a very hard time loosing weight? I don’t have lots of excess fat. I have gotten down to 175 last year in season and I was hoping to be closer to 170 this season. I will have a full season of short course, marathon lap races and Breck Epic. I also will race cyclocross for the fun. I was planning on doing your Cat 1 build and race plan and your 6 day PR plan. My main goals for the weight loss is to try and climb like a goat. Thanks for the open coaching and the plan has been great so far.

Coach Lynda:  Aric, What is your current body fat %?

Aric H:  Lynda I am thinking that its 13-15% I used some pictures and some online calculators to check.

Coach Lynda:  Aric, 13-15% is optimal for health. You will climb better lighter than that but lighter is not the optimal for health. Being as fast as you can be on the bike often exceeds the optimal health boundary. When you are at a healthy weight, losing further is always tough. You are close enough to goal weight that your focus should be on fueling training and losing body weight very slowly. 0.25 lb per week is good which can be achieved with a minimal calorie deficit per day.

Aric H:  Lynda thanks so I will just try and get as lean as possible in season. With the cold a little extra is good insulation. So with the two plans is there anything other than diet that I can do in terms of helping me to lose the weight. I did get to 175 last year in season so I guess it will happen. Thanks again for the great accessibility! I let you know how the first races go.

Coach Lynda:  Aric, Stay healthy, stick to the plan, eat lots of vegetables and it will happen.


Holt H:  I have a fuel question. I am doing the AZTR in a few months. last year, I used “Carbo Pro” in a large bottle as a all day bottle to sip on, in between drinking water from my back pack. Is there anything different? better? that I may not know about. Obviously I also had bars, gels & other food. Im looking for the most bang without carrying more than necessary.

Coach Lynda:  Holt, Carbo Pro is a good product to get your carbs in but lacks electrolytes, glutamine, BCAA’s, protein and fat. If you are getting adequate amount of everything and your stomach is digesting and staying happy you are good. More bang for your buck in one drink would be from a product like 333 CarboRocket that has electrolytes, glutamine and BCAA’s already in there. Fat and protein are easy to get from low volume high density foods found at gas stations.


David K:  Lynda, I really appreciate the open coaching day. Your 100k PR course plan took nearly an hour off my Growler time and this year I’m hoping to take another half hour off my time. I have an SS question, is there any benefit to training on a harder gear ratio than what I plan on racing? Currently I’m running a 36×22, but I’m thinking about moving to either a 36×20 or 18 to train on. I do mostly 50-100 mile races and I’m not sure I can push that big of a gear ratio for that distance, especially here in Colorado. I try to base my gearing on a ratio that I can climb the hills on and then I just spin as fast as I can everywhere else. Also have you given any thought to adding SS specific plans for your 50+ mile plans?

Coach Lynda:  David, congrats taking an hour off your Growler time! That is big! I am a fan of training on your race gear. Training to be fast on the rap-n-coast sections is as important as the climbs. It is good to be really dialed in on your race gearing.

I had thought about adding a 50 miler SS plan to the single-speed MTB  training plan suite but TBH the regular 50 mile training plans work great for the SS racer right now. Several guys are winning and crushing SS races out there following the regular plans.


Coach Lynda:  That’s a wrap on this month’s coaching day. Thank-you to everybody who came along making it a great event. We were buzzing all day!  It’s been exciting to hear about new goals being chased and past goals being achieved. I love coaching and being able to connect with so many motivated athletes and positively contribute to many athletic journeys in a single day makes my coaching heart glow 🙂  Happy training and racing everybody!

MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s Feb 2014 was last modified: May 4th, 2014 by Lynda

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