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**How To

Tuesday Training: Shorter, sharper, faster

We switched to a fast and furious two week ‘on’, one week ‘off’ rota last week to make sure you’re fast and fresh for summer. So this week is the second half of our short sharp shock plan.

The weekly plan

If you managed both last week’s training sessions and the double whammy on Sunday then your legs are probably still creaking slightly, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to relax. We’ve got a whole new session to keep you occupied and get those little muscle fibres twitching.

Speed steps
This is basically a sprint pyramid, so warm up thoroughly before finding (ideally) a steady gradient off or on road slope. Then sprint up it as hard as you can for 5 seconds, turn round and roll to the bottom. Then sprint for ten seconds, roll down and go again for fifteen, twenty, twenty five, thirty seconds and so on. Sprint each sprint to the absolute maximum – the gains are from maximum effort and recovery, the amount you do is actually irrelevant as long as you push every one to the maximum.

When you simply can’t complete the next sprint flat out (whether that’s 35 seconds or a minute) take a five minute gentle ride round rest to recover. Then start again by sprinting the longest session you previously managed, then going back down the steps 5 seconds at a time. Believe us when we say you’ll never feel more wobbly after that final five second sprint.

Like most sprint intervals, the session is as much about speed of recovery as it is about speed of sprint, and by altering the exertion and recovery distances you progressively overload your bodies ability to flush away the lactic acid waste products. The end result is a body that’s far more efficient at coping with short sprint sections whether that’s five seconds between corners or up a steep bank or longer drags up hills. Again like most sprint sessions having a partner to sprint with or just encourage you makes a big difference, but keep the rivalry friendly rather than demoralisingly desperate.

Rest of the week
For the rest of the week just relax, book a massage and let the boss know that you might be in late a couple of mornings – you wish!

No. The second half of the week (or the weekend if you’re pushed for time) brings our first proper race replica session. Now this doesn’t mean raid Superdrug and suddenly develop the need for extensive asthma medication, and it doesn’t mean wearing hideous Euro road kit either.

Instead warm up gradually and head out on the hour-ish loop (preferably off road) that we’ve been using for other training sessions. Now just ride it as fast as you can, making sure that you pace yourself to ride the second half faster than the first and finish with a full-on sprint.

After all the work you’ve been doing over the past week, don’t be surprised if your legs really give you grief for the first ten minutes or so. Stick with it as they should get into the spirit of things fairly quickly but if they still feel like they’ve been savaged by badgers then throw in the towel and ride gently back home. Pushing your body makes you faster, but it’s a lot easier to get ill in a day than it is to get fit in a day.

If you do make it to the finish, take the victory salute you deserve and then toddle home to be pampered by that team of Swedish masseurs your Gran got you for Christmas.

Coach Potato’s fit chip tips

One off the wrist
Suspension and disk brakes might makes things a lot easier but all that technology is little use if you can’t actually hang onto the bike.

Forearm grip and braking power can be rapidly improved with the help of that favourite accessory of the sweaty executive. No, not Playboy, a squash ball.

Simply carry the ball around with you and give it some good hard squeezing until you feel your arms pump up and begin to ache. Repeat twice a day and you’ll soon look like Popeye, and be able to crush aluminium frames in the palm of your hand.

Finally for the 24-hr folk out there, make sure you’ve got your lights ready for the night laps. Check how long batteries actually run and check how long they take to fully recharge. Best to find out now before it goes dark in the middle of the night somewhere in a field in Birmingham.)

Next week

Time to take the Dead Kennedy’s off your gramophone platter and stick on some nice soothing Sacha Distell instead as we take a relaxing week and catch up with some coaching clinic questions.


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