Written By Amanda Wilks
No matter how skilled you are there always seems to be another hill to climb or another trail that is just too tough to tackle. Mountain bike training doesn't stop just because you've reached a level you feel comfortable at, either; maintaining your skill and strength requires some time and effort put into exercise and practicing proper form. Luckily enough, preparing for your next trail trip can be more than weights and pedaling endlessly if you know how to think outside the cycling box.
Do keep in mind that these suggestions aren't meant to replace a full ride prep routine if you intend to tackle courses of a certain difficulty or enter events. Instead, treat these more like ways to spice up your existing plans to keep you interested in riding after those events are over.
1.Train Indoors When the Weather Turns Harsh
Some are eternally guilty of feeling an immense sense of relief when the seasons change, and weather patterns suddenly make bike rides a rarity. While there's nothing wrong with taking time to recuperate and prepare for future challenges to come, falling behind on your form and endurance routines can have massive drawbacks when you do hop back on your bike. In cases such as these, indoor trainers have become attractive options.
Stationary bikes work well for those who simply want to work on the core muscle groups related to cycling without losing the major points of their riding form, but those who bike fanatically may be more interested in a mountain bike trainer stand that allows for your existing bike to be used safely while stationary and indoors. It's the best of both worlds.
2.Turn Commute Time into Riding Time
If there's any greater time sink for the average rider that saps valuable hours of the day away for little to no benefit, one's daily commute has yet to meet its equal. At best, one can expect to spend an hour or two a day sitting entirely still while staring ahead and doing little for their bodies, minds or anything other part of themselves.
Treating your daily commute as time to be spent cycling your way to better health is an attractive option for those with little free time to spare. If you can't work in bike-related exercises to your post-work routine, jam them into your schedule as your means of getting to and from work instead.
3.Train for Your Specific Events
Gearing up for a short point-to-point race? Thinking about taking part in an all-day riding marathon? Both of these goals require drastically different approaches when you get down to the finer details of endurance and form.
After all, spending your time exhausted from working on your short bursts of speed when trying to prepare for a longer ride won't do you many favors in the short term. Plan for the events you're going to enter and save unrelated exercises for your downtime.
If you train hard, expect to have to rest hard, too. There's more to resting than simply sitting down and waiting for your energy levels to bounce back, however, so make sure you know the fundamentals of exercise recovery and plan your time accordingly.
Stopping your exercising cold and waiting for your next cycle may not be as effective as performing low-impact exercises during your downtime. In fact, you may be better off cycling heavier exercises with lighter ones in between rather than pushing your body to its limit with one form of exercise, only to stop and allow fatigue to set in before starting again.
Furthermore, tending to your body with massages or cold-water immersion techniques can bring down inflammation caused by exercise. Some inflammation is key in the recovery and muscle-building phases of post-exercise, but too much might lead to more time off your feet. Atrophy is the enemy of progress and that's no good for any cyclist.
5.Enjoy Your Time Spent Biking
It's easy to lose yourself to a new hobby or even one you've spent a fair amount of time honing. The endless struggle to achieve bigger and better goals, ride harder trails, beat personal best time trials or just the grind of being physically active for long periods of time can start to wear on a person as the months tick by. If you start to feel like you're not enjoying it as much as you once did it may be time to take things less seriously.
Introduce your children or relatives to your hobby. Go for a ride with friends. Don't beat yourself up on double black diamond trails every weekend. Take it slow. Enjoy the scenery. Make a weekend out of a trip instead of pushing it into the end of a workday.
Training for continued mountain bike riding implies you'll be riding for a while, so make sure you don't burn yourself out in the process. Find a pace you enjoy, work to better yourself so you can safely enjoy your hobby and don't be discouraged if you aren't enjoying it like you once were. The spirit of cycling is freedom and enjoyment, not being shackled to a pastime.
Author bio: Amanda Wilks is a writer, contributing author at MountainBikeReviewed.com, and sports activist. Before embarking on a new adventure, she likes to train properly and prepare herself for the unexpected. If you're interested in reading more of Amanda's work, go on Twitter.
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