8 Mountain Bike Training Mistakes To Avoid
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8 Mountain Bike Training Mistakes To Avoid

October 25, 2019


– In this video I’m gonna talk you through some of the really
common training mistakes. Some of these I made as a
pro mountain bike racer. Hopefully you can avoid them
and make your riding better. (dramatic whoosh) (upbeat music) A classic training mistake is just to work in your strengths. So for example, you might be really good at endurance-focused skills
like spinning for hours on end. But it’s no good just to
focus on your strengths, you’ll never get to grips
with the other techniques. For example, cross-country race
tracks now are so technical, that even if you’re super-fit you still need the skills to
be able to ride those sections and not use too much energy
whilst you’re doing it. Same goes for technical climbs. Your slow speed skill is gonna
come into play far more here. You also need some upper body strength to muscle the bike around. Even with those technical sections, you need the skills like
bunny hops, manuals, and that does take up
quite a lot of energy. Try and highlight your weaknesses and slowly try and eat away at them, setting challenges to improve those skills to become a more rounded rider. (mellow rhythmic music) Try and add some variety to your riding. I made the mistake when
I was a young racer of actually just working on my skills and riding my bike a lot, and not actually doing any
proper focused training. The best way I found to try
and do that as a professional was to try and keep it interesting and sustain my motivation
for the long run, and that was all about having
a good amount of variety in the type of training and riding I did. It’s a really good idea to try and mix up the
different types of training. So, some short, sharp, really intense training sessions or rides. Some longer, low-intensity rides. It’s definitely a mistake I
made when I was racing Enduro. I was quite good at motivating myself to do the turbo training
sessions, doing intervals, so I got really good
power-to-weight ratio, but my endurance wasn’t very good. So I changed it up, started adding some more really
long, really mellow rides on a cross-country bike, on a road bike, and it really did build my overall strength and
fitness really well. (mellow rhythmic music) It’s really helpful to
keep track of your training so you know where your
base is before you start, but also where you wanna get to. SO you can find loads of
information online about training, maybe you’ve used the personal trainer, or even used a device to do some tests to work out your base fitness. Now it’s a good thing to work out your resting and max heart rates, and therefore your training zones, or even these devices
will give you a good idea of where your VO2 max is. Now it’s definitely not
gonna be as accurate as doing a proper test with a
trainer and all the equipment, but it’s still gonna give you a good idea. You can try and keep a diary,
either physical or online. I like to keep track of my exercise using mainly my Garmin fenix watch. So I wear this all the time, so it’ll even take into account a particularly strenuous commute or an indoor rowing session. And I use a device on my bike to track my road rides and
my mountain bike rides. Just keep an eye of what I’m doing and therefore how my fitness is improving. You can expand this to
making proper training plans on software like TrainingPeaks online. Download that to your device
and literally set that and follow exactly what
it’s telling you to do. And it’s nice to look back
in a week or a month’s time and see what you’ve done, to see actually, you’ve put a decent amount
of time into your training. (mellow rhythmic music) Try and listen to your body. Your head might be saying yes,
but your body’s saying no. Might have super-sore legs. Sometimes it does work to
push through and crack on, but other times it’s
gonna make you a lot worse and get you into a hole with fatigue. So it’s all about listening to your body. Things like, knowing when to eat, when you can you push through, but also when you need recovery. It’s really important to getting fitter. Also some advice I’ve had
about training when you’re ill, so if you’re got a bit of a cold, if it’s on your head, it’s generally okay, but if it’s on your chest,
now is time to have a rest. Don’t train ’cause you could
make things a lot worse. (mellow rhythmic music) One of the best things about
that initial rush of motivation is that you feel like
doing it all immediately. But if you go from riding
25 kilometers a week to suddenly riding 200k a week, you’re gonna be in for a bad time. Take your time to build your fitness. Start by setting yourself some goals, perhaps a climb that’s been
the bane of every ride. Aim to complete it without stopping and then look to time yourself. But it’s all about the balance. You don’t wanna push
yourself unnecessarily and get injured or lose that motivation. (mellow rhythmic music) A common misconception is that just because you’re exercising regularly then you can eat whatever you
want and whatever quantities. As much as we’d like this to
be true, this is not the case. When it comes to being really fit, a really good diet is also
gonna be really crucial. Try eating starchy
whole-grain carbohydrates, because the greater fiber content helps control blood sugar levels and helps you feel more full for longer. This is really gonna help for longer rides with bigger
stretches between meals. Also don’t forget the proteins and fats. We’re focusing on unsaturated fats from foods like nuts and avocados. Always try to reach your five a day and vary the colors in each meal you eat. The more color, the wider
array of vitamins and minerals you’ll be consuming. This also transfers to fuel on the bike. Chocolates and sweets will only go so far, giving you a quick burst of energy, but a solid snack with the
right nutritional impact will give you much more sustainable and long-lasting energy on the trails. Packing the right snacks with a good balance of
carbs, fats, and sugars will ensure you have the right
fuel to last until home time. Blake’s Bakes is a good place to start, but you should also find
what works best for you. (mellow rhythmic music) Another common training mistake is not drinking enough fluids,
and we don’t just mean water, especially when it’s hot. When you’re low on water and sodium, you’ll start to feel the
effects of dehydration like a dry mouth, headaches,
and muscle cramps. So, obviously when it’s super hot you’ve really got to take care with this and add some electrolytes to your water. Be sure to drink both water
and electrolyte-based fluids to help you replenish
the minerals and salts lost through exercise. (mellow rhythmic music) Remember, you’re trying to train
your body and not your ego, so it’s all about trying
to learn your body and when you need to say stop. Sometimes you will be
able to push through, but sometimes it’s gonna make
you really, really tired. So, a bit of rest could help, and that is where you’re
gonna get fitter as well. Well there’s only so much physical stress you can put your body under before you start getting burnt out and actually not making any gains. So make sure you plan
in a bit of recovery. You could even catch up on a bit of GMBN, or a bit of tech with Doddy. Look at that. So there’s just a few of the mistakes that I’ve made whilst training to ride a mountian bike
just that bit faster. Also some that I’ve picked up
from trainers over the years. Well, I’m gonna sit here, recover, and watch a video about
how to train for Enduro and one about the longest night ride. So, I suggest you do the same thing by clicking on the bottom,
hit that sub button, give us a thumbs-up if you like training.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. You missed not stretching after exercise. It reeeaaallly helps with recovery and prevents soreness, at least in my case

  2. #AskGMBN would the producers create an edit of Neil singing the hacks and bodges song for the next episode of the dirt shed? Could make a great edit from 'the dirt shed show ep135' 👍😉 (sorry Neil)

  3. 3:49 – "It's generally OK"
    Agree, but you should reduce the high intensity stuff until it goes away IMO.
    Immune system can be suppressed a lot by it so you have to be careful.
    Also, avoid breathing in high volumes of cold air by (again), avoiding high intensity or maybe doing some indoor cycling (if that's your thing)

  4. Rest is always important- Doesn't mean just laying on couch (nothing wrong with it either and watching some GMBN). Perhaps light ride around the city instead of 110% effort shredding.

  5. Really good and important point at 4:00
    I was pretty fit but had to stop riding to recover from a crash in 2017, when I started again in 2018 I was too enthusiastic to patiently work back into it and went on some long trail rides without building my fitness and hurt my Achilles and it's still giving me problems now. I'd say for anyone new or returning to riding take your time to build the fitness up to avoid unexpected and really troublesome injuries.

  6. I once went to a nutritionist who said that when you do a lot of sports, you have to eat much healthier than a sedentary person, to help the body recover.

  7. To a thick Hartlepuddin, all this diet stuff makes it seem like I have to be a scientist to get thin. Can't someone just make me a pizza with all the desired grains, colours & electric lights? And how do you put them in water anyway, I thought that was bad.

  8. Thanks, Neil. Great name, BTW. Being an older (but still inexperienced) bicyclist I should know these things by now, but it helps to see them spelled out because my memory's not so good! I definitely don't ride enough – especially in winter. I find that I overcompensate in summer by riding too far and pushing myself to exhaustion when there are many miles left to go before I can rest.

  9. One mistake is to only concentrate on bike fitness which is a mistake I made. On the surface I looked a good fit cyclist 45 years old 67kg ftp 300w sprint power over 1000w! So all good then? Wrong in cycling you only are using a select group of muscles if you ignore the other groups you can become biomechanicaly imbalanced which is what happened to me and has given me chronic hip problems, after a year of physio I am starting to improve. So the key is a balanced approach with some circuit type training and a bit of yoga, you will be suprised how weak some of your hip and leg muscles becaome with a too bike focused training regime.

  10. I've found I have to vary my riding to get the best gains, plus add in a bit of gym work and most importantly REST! I'm lucky to have 3 days a week free every week so one will be a big XC ride, another will be a shorter ride or a bike park day. One day a week minimum will be rest. Add in that I commute to work by bike and that's easily a good mix of base miles, intense riding and endurance. Twice a week in the gym, one after work and another the same day as the short riding day and my fitness and stamina has improved massively. My working days are always varying throughout the week so the variety keeps things from becoming stale, plus I vary where I ride as much as I can. Diet is a bit poor but I'm limited on what I can eat due to a few allergies and having mild IBS. Still massively better than not being active so it's all good.

  11. From my exp. stay natural with diet! Pills and gels do seem like a rescue but the body gets attached to them quickly and next time you are "out of bullets" the thrive for extra is stronger.

  12. This video helps so much! The biggest one I've made is pushing myself too hard. I slept for 30 hours afterwards!

  13. Thanks Neil good tips I know if I have done too much my poor old left knee gets sore. I am just training for the next ride not far beyond that, the natural pecking order is soon sorted in my group when we come to hills.

  14. Love the advice. You guys need to make indoor training videos like the GCN guys. You could make a cross country or long climb video that is Mtn Bike specific. They help with winter blues. Keep up the great work.

  15. Really good video and advice!
    – Avoiding my weaknesses and a lack of targeted training is probably my biggest flaw … honing technical skills by doing dedicated practice and 'sessioning' certain trail features to improve skills and confidence is something I'm looking to start incorporating. I also need to work on some sprint training, I have fairly good endurance fitness and heart-rate wise recover quite quickly from a sustained medium effort, but I don't feel like I'm really pushing close to my threshold and I tire quickly when making any kind of higher effort.

  16. #askgmbn – How important is it when training to compare your own performance with that of others?
    I agree that people should listen to their bodies to help inform their training, and that keeping records can help to show your own progress over time. When it comes to racing for example then sure, you know that you're getting better when you can see an improvement in your times / results, and that must certainly help a lot when it comes to motivation. But if a person isn't racing or competing then how do we quantify our efforts and motivate ourselves to keep trying to improve?
    (Do most people just plateau and so long as their happy being able to ride what they want then that's where they stay?!)

  17. #askgmbn what is a good set of mtb pants, the pants I bought kept getting caught in the chainring and it would chew the leg of the pants, a pretty cheap set preferably!

  18. Hi Neil. I'm a 73 year old rider and although I've been a dedicated cyclist for years–and have come across your "mistakes to avoid," you do a wonderful job of making that advice come alive for me. Thanks for your great work. I don't know how many times some new "feature" has popped up on the trail and I robo something you've demonstrated somewhere. You're a great coach–for the hard chargers and geezers as well. Best. JR

  19. E BIKE 1400 WATTS MTB BIKE TOP END TAKE ANY ON ! 60 UP HILL THROTLE AND PEDELEC ! TO OLD TO COMPETE WITH HILLS AT 50 !

  20. E BIKE AND BYE 1400 WATT 60CLICKS UP HILL AND DONT LOOK BACK ! MOST THE BOUGHT BARS AND ENERGY DRINKS ARE SHIT ! WATER IN BLADDER BACK PACK ! LEAVE THE EXPENSIVE SPONSER CRAP THEY PUSH TO MAKE $ TO CONTINUE !ARE ALL BAD FOR YOU FULL OF CHEMICAL RUBBISH LET THEM EAT IT !

  21. I came here because I haven't taken my mountain bike out for a good few months and wanted some straightforward advice. This man told me everything I should more than likely have known but didn't didn't think of lol. Anyone here know some good trails a severely noviced rider like myself should look into in the Pennsylvania area?

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