For a lot of us, riding season is getting into full swing, so this week I wanted to share some insights into an in-season training plan that can help you ride strong all season long. Being able to balance Cardio, Strength and Mobility training in a way that supports your riding is the idea but can be tough to do without some guidance.

In my last blog post I talked about the important adjustments you need to make with your Cardio Training during the riding season and how to avoid 2 critical mistakes. In it I also mentioned that strength was the real key to keeping your cardio levels high throughout the season and today I wanted to share some more insights into that. If you missed it you can click here to check it out.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your training is to look at strength and cardio as separate things. The truth is that they are closely related to each other and support each other in some complex ways.

The best example of this is the use of what I call High Tension Cardio. These are those hard efforts on the trail where you have to lock down the core and produce some extra tension in the legs and arms.

High Tension Cardio comes into play when you are grinding up a technical climb, and when you stand up to pedal through or navigate some technical trail features. These efforts can not be avoided on the trail and, some might argue, are really what makes mountain biking fun and challenging.

But while your cardio system is fueling those High Tension Efforts, your strength levels can directly affect how hard your cardio system is having to work to do that. Or, to put it anther way, how efficiently it can use its deposits in MetaBank.

MetaBank (Metabolic Bank) is the pretend non-FDIC insured entity I created to illustrate this concept of how increasing strength levels can improve how efficient your “spending” is to support different kinds of efforts on the trail. It essentially represents your stored metabolic energy deposits that you build up through training, hoping to use them to fuel future training and riding efforts.

In a nutshell, you can have a lot deposited in MetaBank from your cardio training but if you are extremely inefficient at funding High Tension Cardio efforts you can blow through it pretty quickly. And once you’ve blown through your deposits in MetaBank then all your cardio suffers.

It also illustrates why keeping your strength levels high is a top priority for you during the riding season. If they drop then your spending starts to become less efficient. This leads to blowing through your cardio reserves faster, hitting the dreaded “wall” sooner in rides.

Check out this video to see this MetaBank idea explained further with some bad whiteboard drawings. I also explain why your in-season training program really needs to be based on your strength levels, how to know when you’re “strong enough” and some ideas to help you maintain that strength as best you can during the riding season.

After watching this video, you hopefully have a different appreciation for the importance of strength levels to support your cardio deposits in MetaBank. It may seem counter-intuitive at first but once you understand that your efficiency is an important part of your overall endurance it makes much more sense.

And this leads us to the last part of the In-Season Training Strategies series, which is Mobility. Working backwards, we’ve seen how Strength levels support our Cardio and I’ll be in touch soon with a look at how your Mobility supports your Strength levels…which means that it is the ultimate root of your endurance levels on the trail.

That’s it for now, until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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