Wow – we had a great crew of athletes tune in during our November open coaching day. Here is our MTB open coaching day recap of all the questions, answers and discussions from the day.
Our next open coaching day is December 3rd. We host open MTB coaching day on our LW Coaching Facebook page on the first Thursday of each month. Like our page and join in!
November MTB open coaching day recap
Mark Gabot: Any advice for using running as cross training in the winter? Fartleks? Tempo?
Coach Lynda: Mark, start out running at low volume and intensity and build up very conservatively. Getting injured running is really common due to low adaptation of joints combined with high cardio fitness and endurance. My #1 advice is to stay below your injury threshold.
Mark Gabot: Thank you
Mike Welch: Morning Lynda, I have been using the XC warm up from the Masters BPR program to warm up for CX races. It seems to work but I am curious if there are any adjustments I should make to it because CX is different from XC racing? Thanks Mike Welch
Coach Lynda: Mike, I recommend adding a couple of laps of the race course to your CX warm up and 2-3 of 15-20 sec higher intensity bursts on the course. The best time to pre-ride the race course is to do an easy lap before you start your warm-up then immediately before your race do a second lap with the high intensity bursts ending 5 mins before your start if possible.
Mike Welch: Awesome, thanks Coach Lynda
Colin Erskine: I’m a first timer, I did a lot of training last winter at a gym and at home with Strava & GCN. I race WORS in Cat 2 (sport) and a friend of mine shared the Cat 1 Elite program with me but I’m wondering how I can modify it for Cat 2 sport ?
Coach Lynda: Although it is easily done I ask athletes to please do not duplicate, distribute or share any LW Coaching mountain bike training plan. This is my dream job and I want to stay in business. It is wrong to share my training plans, is akin to stealing and will put me out of business quickly if everyone does it. I already have a Cat 2 sport training plan available for purchase. I recommend you purchase and follow that plan rather than asking me to modify a different plan wrongly shared with you.
Colin Erskine: Thanks. It was shared as a late gift to me (if that makes a difference)
Coach Lynda: Thx Colin. I still recommend following the Cat 2 plan specifically designed for you. If you are already racing at the top of Cat 2 and have plans to upgrade to Cat 1 asap then the Cat 1 plan should work for you also. If you are new to racing, work through the Cat 2 plans first then as you develop progress on to the cat 1 plans.
Nicole Gunton: Hi Lynda, Last year I used your cat1 base training, continued to xc cat1 in season, then to the stage race program. I felt that at the end of my base training I was at my peak, when “in season” I lost endurance and the last 20 minutes of my races I could no longer push. You recommended adding an hour to one week of my rides every 4 weeks, but I saw no difference. When I got to my stage race I was thoroughly burnt out. I need some advice on how to avoid burnout and keep my intensity at the end of my races.
Coach Lynda: Nicole, physical burnout can come from poor diet, particularly insufficient protein and a persistent negative calorie balance. It can also come from lack of sleep and too much life stress. Assuming all of these factors are in your sweet spot and not an issue, I recommend taking a week off training for extra recovery between each plan. Also drop the most intense interval ride from the plan and replace it with a recovery day every third week during the Build, peak and race plan and the stage race plan. Also add extra recovery days if you add extra racing to your schedule. Overall, more recovery time.
Nicole Gunton: Thanks, well, it definitely isn’t a negative calorie balance or lack of protein I probably get more than necessary of both. (I try to follow most of the Apex Nutrition book’s advice but generally eat more that the recommended calories – am able to maintain and not gain though.) I will try more recovery this year.
Coach Lynda: Nicole, Elevated Legs are a great recovery tool. I have 10% discount code LWLEGS to use if you want to add that tool to your training.
Nicole Gunton: I do have them and use them often thanks!
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. All of the off-season high school training plans are self-led/non-coached as National Interscholastic Cycling Association off-season training limits prevents NICA coaches from coaching during the off-season unless they have a private program non-NICA affiliated. The off-season programs are for JV and Varsity only. Freshmen and Sophs should just ride for fun off-season. Off-season Varsity rides x5/week and JV rides x4/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 option for recovery is an example from the 2016 Regular-Season High School MTB Training plan.
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 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.
Richard Waters: Hi Lynda, Had a great year last year after using your 40+ 50 mile training plan. 4 podiums in my age group and lots of the credit to your plans. This year more of the same and I am starting out with masters 40+ base training this winter. I am going on a trip to Europe with some of my road friends this summer and will be doing 5 straight days in the mountains with them. Was wondering if you have any thoughts as to how to work training for this in with my mountain bike training? The trip is in June and I have races in April and again in Sept-October.
Coach Lynda: Congrats on your great results – awesome season! To work in your Europe trip I recommend peaking for your last race before your trip. Take 2 weeks around your trip off plan. Start this 2 weeks with some recovery days prior to your trip so you fly to Europe rested and have great legs for your time there. Add recovery days after your trip to sleep off jet-lag and vacation fatigue and finish out your 2 weeks off-plan. Once recovered, get back on plan to peak again for your Sept – Oct races.
Heidi Volpe: Hi Lynda, I’m currently in the off-season after doing loads of single speeding. I just built up my 1×11, thinking this would be a good compliment to single speeding for leg speed and skip all that pesky shifting on my 2 x10. ( + allow me to back off from SS for a while ) Is it best to put away your single for a spell for some regen? Are there any suggestions you have for off-season “skills” I can work on with my 1x to increase my SS efficiency?
Coach Lynda: Heidi, riding your SS less and adding in variety with gears is a great plan. I do recommend keeping one SS ride in your schedule each week to maintain your SS specific fitness. General base training and skills training is good for riding with your 1 x, especially uphill switchbacks. Adding in any of these 10 Off Season Training Tips for Mountain Bikers will be great.
Heidi Volpe: Thanks! I read that the day you posted it so I was thinking Increase pedaling skills and economy. 1 SS a week. Got it. I’ve been riding my cool new Turner CX bike and that is like SS on the hills around here. No rest for the wicked in Santa Monica Mts.
Adam Shaw: Hi Lynda. So my question for you pertains to proper and balanced back strengthening, especially for us endurance master aged riders. I have proper fitting, started good chiropractic care (started at 9° s curvature, down to 5 and may get it to 3°). Have been doing your psoas exercises. I have always had to get off the bike in 24’s through out to stretch my back and body. Are there good drills while on the bike along with weight training to help improve the back strength and tips for us older creaking-joint riders to stay as comfortable and loose as possible during the very loved 24 hour races? Thanks Lynda!
Coach Lynda: Adam, preparation is the best thing to do for your back. In the long-term, following a core strength and flexibility program along with chiropractic care is optimal. Pilates is also an amazing back strengthening activity when done properly. In training, add low-cadence hill climbing seated and normal-cadence hill climbing out of the saddle intervals to increase specific on-the-bike back strength and stability. For the latter, climb out of the saddle at 60-70 rpm until you feel your back start to fatigue, sit down, rest recover and repeat. During racing do the opposite to minimize the forces on the back by riding higher cadences with less force and riding seated most of the time.
Adam Shaw: I have been doing some core exercises on a balance ball. Would any particular type of yoga be beneficial for us old guys as well?
Coach Lynda: I would first recommend Pilates for you as it is more targeted at core balance, ROM, flexibility, strength and stability and incredible for 24 hour solo racers. If you get on a program of Pilates 2-3 times per week you will see amazing results after 10 – 12 weeks. Find a Pilates facility and sign up for some lessons if you can. Yoga is a good complement to core strength work and definitely a great addition but Pilates is the whole package.
Kristin Moyer: Adam, I’ am old gal too and just started Coach Lynda Wallenfels strength training (as part of the Base Training Plan). I am really amazed at how much better my back feels these days! The core, hamstring and glute stuff she has in this plan is making a huge difference for me.
Adam Shaw: Very cool Kristin! Definitely have a couple plans to order from Lynda, especially how to incorporate weights instead of miles for my older butt smile emoticon Lynda’s show about masters on MBR hit home for me and hoping her plans will change it up for me as well. Cheers!
Sarita Del Canyon: Hi Lynda, I used your 12 hr finisher plan to complete a race in September and am contemplating my 2016 season. I want to do a race a month in January-April, and perhaps in May, but don’t want to burn out on being in Zone 2 for the whole season. I’ve got the option do a 35 or 50 mile race in Jan., and a more casual 50 miler in March. February, April, and maybe May are 10-12 hr races. How can I balance going fast on rides, and building endurance with skiing, riding with friends, bikepacking over school breaks, etc? Is it possible to train for these races and also do these other sports? Can I trade training days for skiing days and bikepacking days? Should I stack a xc plan or 50 mile plan with the finisher plan?
Coach Lynda: Sarita, Thanks for editing! It sounds like you are ready to progress on to the PR plan series! The PR plans include the fast rides and speed-work you are looking for. With some creativity and smart scheduling you can do it all. I recommend you start with the 50 mile PR plan then move on to the 12 hour PR plan. When you go bikepacking, drop the scheduled rides and add extra recovery after the trip. Pick back up with the plan without making up the missed days. A long day on skis can be traded for an endurance ride.
Sarita Del Canyon: Perfecto
Kristin Moyer: I’d like to try a hundie next year (interested in trying to get a Leadville 100 slot) but am intimidated! My main problem has been fueling (lots of nausea issues). I didn’t have nausea in my last race this year, but then I bonked a little bit (not horrible) by not eating enough during the race. I’ve also done 50 milers and not felt like I could go a mile farther. But on the other hand, with running I’ve always been stronger with longer distances. Thoughts?
Coach Lynda: Kristin, you are not alone! Most people struggle to keep fueled in a hundie but it is so crucial. You need to find your pace and fuel plan that works with trial and error in training. For some this is real food and water, for others straight sports drink. There are many combos. I think you would be great at the longer distance of a hundie!