View our current high school mountain bike training plans here.
Coach Lynda is available to NICA coaches and parents for consulting via phone or Skype to talk about your team or student-athlete. Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment.
View our current available high school mountain bike training plans on our LW Coaching High School mtb training plans TrainingPeaks home here.
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Below are some Q & A sessions from our forum with Coach Lynda and NICA coaches.
Andy Collier: Hi Lynda… thanks again for your help over the past couple days. I’m interested in hearing your approach to practices with your high school team. For example, how many times a week does the team practice? And do you incorporate your program into practices or do you the kids apply that on their own outside of practice?
Coach Lynda: Andy, Thx for posting – I love talking about NICA HS racing and NICA training plans. In-season our team practices 3-4 time per week. 3 times with coaches and the 4th time is either homework without coaches or sometimes with a coach/ride leader if we have one available eager to ride. We practice Mon/Wed/Thur and have Sat as the homework day. I know other teams do Mon/Wed/Fri and have Sat as the homework day. Kids will not apply anything out of practice – that is just the reality of teens. I’ve tried!!!! They need a coach there telling them what to do. The homework we give them to do alone is “go ride for 1.5 hours” and I estimate we get about a 50% compliance with that. If you want them to do anything structured you need to be there coaching them every step of the way.
Andy Collier: Makes sense but are you able to follow the in-season training plan during 3 days of practice time with coaches? Curious because I assume your training plan calls for 5 days of riding. Same kind of question for offseason, how do you strike the right balance of consistent training with kids where 5 days a week might not be possible? Thanks.
Coach Lynda: Andy, My high school in-season training plan calls for four rides per week and follows the pattern M/W/F with coach and Sat as homework. Student-athletes ride x 4 per week. With accurate training that is plenty to develop fast kids appropriately in a healthy manner. I rarely recommend a student-athlete trains more than x 4 /week.
Andy Collier: Got it and super helpful as always. One more question… this will be the first time most if not all our kids will be following a structured plan so obviously they should invest in a HRM. Do you have one particular kind/brand that you recommend to the team? One of the interesting challenges as a coach is finding the right balance between recommending good equipment / gear / bikes but also being respectful of everyone having different economic situations. Just curious if you have found that balance with a particular HRM. Thanks.
Coach Lynda: Andy, a heart rate monitor (or power meter) is NOT required to follow the high school training plans. A HRM is a great tool but the reality (reality again!!) is that only the top few students will follow through on using the HRM and the information. For the majority it is a headache item for the coach to nag about and manage and simply not worth it! The reality is that we are volunteer coaches and our “nag” threshold should be VERY low. Safety is worth nagging about, HRM’s are not… => choices… The balance we have found is to focus first on safety and quality in bikes, gloves, helmets, attendance, safety and the basics. Only after that has been taken care of would I consider adding a HRM. The next question is then how to pace workouts accurately without a HRM! Answer: Follow my Training Intensity Guidelines table and the daily instructions in the training plan.
Coach Lynda: FYI there is a lot of reality and real world experience written into the high school training plans! I have “Coach Lynda Tips” for the coaches to follow. The PBJ or chocolate milk option for recovery is an example.
Coach Lynda tip: Recovery nutrition is important after hard or long workouts. Taking in some nutrition within 30 minutes of finishing will speed recovery. A good recovery nutrition profile will include at least 20 grams of protein and 40 grams to carbohydrate adding up to 240 calories or more. This can be a commercial recovery drink such as Carborocket Rehab and/or real food. Look for a commercial recovery drink that includes the amino-acid glutamine in the ingredients. Real food options are; a piece of fruit and some tuna or greek yogurt plus fresh berries or an apple with almond butter. A peanut butter jelly sandwich or chocolate milk is ok and a lot better than nothing! A PBJ is easy for students to prepare and bring and, well, that just works.
Andy Collier: Got it… thank you for taking time to outline all this detail.