Mountain biking is challenging. The physical and mental sharpness demands that you stay in great shape to ride the long and difficult trails. After a winter season of not getting out much and resorting to the couch, mountain biking gets even more difficult. As the spring and summer creep around the corner, it’s time to improve biking endurance and get back into riding shape.
Whether you are a beginner or you’re trying to get back into shape for a season of riding, building endurance is going to be key to your training. It can be an intimidating and daunting task ahead of you, but working on your mountain biking endurance doesn’t have to be a full-steam-ahead ironman competition. You can have fun with it, go at your own pace, and you’ll get the endurance that you’re after.
Here are a few different tips to get back in the saddle and prepare yourself for longer rides.
How to improve mountain biking endurance
Just get out there
The easiest and most enjoyable thing you can do to improve mountain biking endurance is to ride more. If you can get out on the trail four times a week, even for a short ride, do it. The more you get out, the more your body will expect it and adjust to riding often.
Try to get longer rides in as well. This adds to the time your body spends riding, which means it can adjust to longer rides to give you the endurance and strength you need to keep going.
Adding the intensity of climbing hills into your training will give strength to the muscles you’re improving. Climbs and tough uphill rides will put in the high-intensity push that will add to your power reserves in the future.
Eat early and often
Eating before you even start to feel hungry ensures that your body has the fuel to burn to keep going. Once you start feeling hungry, your body will start withering away and struggling to push you forward. Try to snack throughout the day to give yourself the energy you need to ride further.
Hydration is one of the most important things you can do while working on your mountain bike endurance. Your muscles are being put to work, and hydration is the best way to avoid cramps and injuries. Drink small amounts of water throughout the day rather than dumping a whole bottle to your stomach at once.
Train your lungs
Oxygen is easily forgotten when we are pushing ourselves to our limits. When you’re working hard, holding your breath becomes commonplace but is much more harmful than helpful. The right breathing techniques while riding will help bring oxygen to your muscles while working at their limits. Appropriate breathing won’t just make you feel less out-of-shape. It will actually improve your mountain bike endurance.
In every sport, there’s a wall that athletes hit when the body wants to give up. Pushing through and getting over that wall requires extreme determination and focus. Adding mindfulness practice into your training helps you keep going when you feel like you can’t go any further. It also enables you to stay on the trail and on top of your bike.
Making training fun is one of the most important parts of training. Bringing friends can help you to remember to laugh while riding and enjoy yourself. Training isn’t meant to be brutal. We ride because we love it, and bringing friends along can help give the reminder you need in the middle of a tough climb.
Friends also push us to new limits we didn’t know we had. Encouragement and comradery go a long way when we’re at our extremes.
Take time off
Whatever you do, make sure you take time off. Your body needs time to recover from multiple days of training. During these days off, you should focus on giving your muscles the proteins and healthy foods they need to build correctly.
It can feel like we must keep going, but in reality, you need to take the time to stop and prepare to get back out there.