August
20

The Secret Formula for Success as a Mountain Bike Rider

One of the hardest things to get a new client to understand is that there is no generic formula for a workout that will get them the specific results they are looking for. They think that there is a single type of workout for the type of riding they do and think it is as simple as me sending them the secret formula. However, I always have to ask two questions before I can send them a workout program -

If I had magic trainer dust and could sprinkle it on you, what would change about your riding that would let you ride like you want?

1) What have you been doing up to this point?

and

2) How’s that working for you?

Some riders are surprised when I ask these two questions because why should it matter – they’ve come to me for a program so who cares what they’ve done in the past? However, it is very important for me to look at what has been working compared to their goals so I know not to make dramatic changes to something that has been working. More often than not, though, I get an idea of what has not been working for them – more often than not new Private Coaching Clients have tried more than a few things that didn’t give them the desired results.

Once I have an idea of what they’ve tried and how it has worked for them I ask them the most important question of all. I call it the Magic Trainer Dust question…

3) If I had magic trainer dust and could sprinkle it on you, what would change about your riding when you woke up tomorrow that would let you ride like you want?

This question tells me what they need to focus on to see improvements in their type of riding/ racing. For example, the rider who starts strong and then fades at the end of a race needs something different than the rider who doesn’t feel overly fatigued at the end but just can’t seem to lay down the power they need to go as fast as they want.

You see, the specific secret formula is different for each rider. While the basic framework may be the same, the subtle tweaks you can make based on this info can accelerate results dramatically. In fact, I’ve found the more detailed the answers to these questions the faster those riders saw improvements.

Now, here is the truly sad thing about this – when I ask riders these last two questions 80% of them can’t really give me a solid answer. They’ve never really thought about how their program has been working for them, they’ve just been doing what they were told was the right thing to do. They’ve never really thought about their riding in the level of detail needed to know if they need to work on power, endurance or skills. In other words, they’ve never really thought about their riding in a way that will actually help them improve.

It is pretty simple formula once you understand it – figure out what specific thing you want to improve about your riding, formulate a plan to improve it and then ask yourself “how’s this working for me?” and then repeat. Know that some of what you try is not going to work and without doing this mental exercise you can easily waste a lot of time and energy.

Now some of you will rightly point out that I sell done-for-you workout program and so how can those programs be beneficial when I’m saying everyone is different. Wouldn’t that mean that everyone needs a different workout program? Well, yes and no…

While everyone is at least slightly different my experience has taught me that the majority of riders fall into the same basic needs category and that is what I base my programs on. I would say that 80-90% of riders can do one of those program sand see great results. However, I will readily admit that there are outliers who don’t fall into that needs category and won’t benefit as much from the workouts.

These riders are usually higher level riders who have built a good level of fitness and skill and need to really drill down into specific things to see improvements. Other times it is a rider who just doesn’t respond to training like most riders and needs to do more or less work. Not to turn this article into a sales pitch for my program but this is exactly why I offer a free 30 day membership to my Personal Coaching Website with all of my programs so I can help you if you ask yourself “how’s this working for me?” and you aren’t thrilled with the answer.

Just remember that asking these questions is good even if you just train yourself. You’ll get much more out of your training programs when you know what you want and actively try and get it. Random goals lead to random results and while that may get some where they want to go I’d rather check myself with a few simple questions.

-James Wilson-

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WordPress Comments:

  1. Jakub says:

    Reffering to your example, I feel that I need both more anaerobic endurance and power during the 4x races. What should I focus on in the first instance? (I’ve got few winters of training experience)

    Reply • August 22 at 2:19 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Power – if you can’t go as fast as you need to in the first place then you don’t need to worry about sustaining it for longer yet.

      Reply • August 27 at 12:18 pm

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson