the author candidly admits, calling any book a 'Bible' could be
considered somewhat arrogant, but in this case the use of the term
is fully justified. The Mountain Biker's Training Bible is just
that, a complete reference guide which will enlighten anyone as to
how they should train, how they are currently performing, how to
measure their progress and most importantly of all, the underlying
science. This means you understand why you should be training in
a certain way, rather than blindly following some one else's plan.
are two distinctions which mark this book out above all other
training guides for mountain biking:
first is that the book doesn't just give you a suggested programme
and say 'get on with it', instead it explains how to plan a
programme optimally for yourself based around your personal racing ambitions
for the coming year. The three key stages are: 1) assessing where you
are now, 2) working out what you want to achieve and 3) planning a
programme to take you from where you are, to where you want to get
to. This final programme will be a unique personal training plan.
second key differentiator is that Joe Friel only gives advice which
is backed up by scientific studies, so if the science isn't there
to support a training or diet theory, he's left it out of the
book. Each chapter finishes with a list of the references which form
the basis for the content of that chapter. There's no here-say or rules-of-thumb
in this book, everything is proven by experimental
studies on athletes.
what will you learn?
first key point, is how do you get fitter? Well the process is
called Overcompensation, whereby you progressively overload your
system after which you are actually less fit for 24 to 48 hours, but
the body then recovers and the cells in your muscles regain
their strength and actually surpass their previous level of function, i.e.
you get fitter.
this process only works if you allow enough time (rest) to
allow your body to recover. The most common mistake is excessive
training which will result in either no fitness gain or, more often,
a reduction in
fitness. You cannot rush this process and therefore the first
lesson is learning to train conservatively.
next key point is that the maximum fitness level you can achieve
cannot be sustained, so instead of trying to be maximally fit all
year round, you plan to peak in fitness at key points in the year
(e.g. major race events). During a peak, significant fitness gains
can be achieved, but only for a short period of time, so planning is
important. The generic peaking process is illustrated below:
maximal peak occurs as a result of carefuly tailoring your training
sessions such that volume is traded off for intensity as the season
progresses. Too little volume early on and you have a poor aerobic
base to build on, too much intensity early on and you'll burn out
from over training, etc.
book goes into lots of detail about how to plan a season, starting
off with the pig picture and then showing you how to iterate this
down to daily training sessions for a whole year.
key topic is how to measure progress throughput the year, to ensure
that the programme is working for you. NB This is a common subject
on the forum and Joe covers this extensively.
best method of characterising your fitness is to measure power as a
function of heart rate. If you're getting fitter then for a given
heart rate you should be able to produce more power than previously.
If you're not
improving, then you're probably over training (as most people over
train rather than under train).
If you're serious
about training for Mountain Biking, or just curious to know how to
get a bit fitter effectively, then this book is in a league of its
own. There's no Tour de France winner on the front cover and very
little name dropping, but it is the most comprehensive book on the
information on this book? e-mail the editor: