//Trail Status mouse over Java // What should I be doing to go faster?

Author Topic: What should I be doing to go faster?  (Read 5708 times)


  • **
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: What should I be doing to go faster?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 02:25:29 PM »
I realize I am jumping in on a fairly old thread.. but figured I'd put my $0.02 on it...
I'd say the first thing you need to do is to figure out where your heart rate zones are. Find out what your range is for zones 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Next, if you don't have either of these already:
- a cheap but decent road bike
- A set of road tires for your mountain bike.
Get to where you can comfortably ride on the road for at LEAST 2 hours straight with no in zones 1-2 of your heart rate. Be able to go out and put in at least 2 hours in these heart rate zones to build a solid aerobic base to build on for racing. This is harder to do on a mountain bike as you're you're constantly grunting up a climb (even short ones...) or easy pedaling or coasting downhill or through the trees. You want to be able to maintain a nice, steady cadence and rhythm.
Then, after about 8 weeks of that you should start with some different type of intervals to build speed. Warm up for 10-20 minutes at zone 1-2, then go hard into zone 4 for 1-5 minutes, then back into zones 1-2 for 5-10 minutes, etc.
There are plenty of interval training programs out there... the lastest issue of bicycling magazine has 3 that you can do at home indoors when the weather is bad, and they work outside on a road bike as well... investigate and try several in the off season to see what works best for you. Keep a journal of how your training goes.
If climbing is your weak point (it is mine.... even after living and racing in Colorado for 6 years...) after you build a solid aerobic base, start climbing with a method. I start early in the season seated with 10 revolutions of the cranks hard followed by 20 revolutions easy in an easier gear, repeat to the top of the hill. Ride 10 minutes to recover (5 minutes away from the hill, 5 minutes back) and repeat. As you gain climbing fitness go for 20 revolutions of the crank hard effort, then 20 easy, then 20 hard and 10 easy. Then start with 20 revolutions standing and going hard with 20 sitting and going easy... you get the idea.
Try spin classes if any are available to you.
Try some weight training to build muscle strength... I find that upper body strength (you don't need to go for AH-nold type of upper body strength mind you...) can be very helpful for mountain biking.
But don't just jump into a group of road riders who are faster than you and try to hang on.... you could end up riding the first 15 minutes way at the top of your heart rate, blow up and then suffer by yourself the rest of the ride. Targeted training is the way to go. Otherwise you'll spend a lot of time riding your mountain bike on the trails in heart rate zone 3, which feels like you're working hard, but is not fast enought to get fast nor slow enought to recover...
What's inside the bass wants out...


  • HMBA-IMBA Member
  • Training wheels on
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: What should I be doing to go faster?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2011, 02:21:49 PM »
More feedback is always welcome, so thank you.

A Garmin Edge and heart rate monitor are at the top of my Christmas list for this year, and I think that would help. Then I will at least know where I am when I ride and can start trying some of the many ideas mentioned here. I am hoping to get out this winter and ride some, but I don't like cold weather so I am not sure it will happen. Indoors would work though, but it's not as much fun.


  • Training wheels on
  • *
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Re: What should I be doing to go faster?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2011, 08:35:11 AM »
Want to go faster? Get a coach. Someone who will provide training and hold you accountable.

Additionally, as people here have said, if you want to be faster on a mountain bike, you have to ride a road bike too. Preferably with a power meter. If you're making your own training plan, you need base (long miles at endurance), then mild intensity (tempo, sweet spot in long intervals) and then top end speed (LT, superLT, vo2 in mediate intervals, bursts, explosiveness, sprints)

Off road racing is on/off on/off so cx races and crits on the road are the best way to get "race fast"


Important Links





Trail Guide