Forum home Mountain biking forum Health, fitness & training

Fitness - Encourage me...

Zeroman_IRZeroman_IR Posts: 290
edited March 2009 in Health, fitness & training
At 26, I have just started mountain biking after a break of about 10 years from a bike of any description. I am finding the fitness side of things an absolute horror show so I thought I would ask on here to hopefully get some encouragement. I went out with a local guy that does a lot of MTBing last weekend, we did a cross country track with a lot of climbing and I just found it soul destroying. The first part has 800 feet total of climbing (with 2 short downhills/level bits) in about 2 miles of cycling. He seemed to be able to spin away unconcerned up the hills whereas I was getting worse and worse and was eventually consigned to walking more than cycling. Felt like turning around and going home I'm ashamed to say. Even after the last mile or so of a descent back to the start I felt sick and dizzy after getting off the bike.
I have never been very cardio fit (not necessarily unfit either) but would have considered myself reasonably so before last weekend. I go to the gym (weights) 3 times a week. I also started swimming lessons before Christmas so I do this 2 evenings a week for about an hour, managing about 20 lengths (non consecutive) in that time. I'm not overweight at 12 stone, wouldn't even be that but I'm carrying a lot of muscle from the gym.

So my questions:
1. How long (ballpark) will it take before I notice a decent improvement in my fitness? I realise this is individual but I just feel like the most unfit person in the world at the moment.
2. Is it fair to say that because cycling uses muscles that I haven't used in a long time that this is partly the reason I suffered so much last weekend? If so, can I expect a sudden improvement when the muscles acclimatise to cycling?
3. Anybody on here that had a similar beginning? If so, how long did you take to get to the stage where you could keep up with regular MTBers?
4. How often and for how long would I want to be going out to improve my fitness?

Thanks to everybody that answers and sorry if this has been covered on here before. I'm not expecting a miracle answer to this but just looking for some encouragement really as last weekend really knocked my confidence that I can ever be fit and I guess I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself as a result.

Posts

  • punctureboypunctureboy Posts: 217
    i would say for the first month or so just get out and ride. your whole body needs time to adapt to the new stresses and strains. start off riding 3 times a week with two rides around an hour and one longer. no need to push yourself, just get out and spin those pedals.

    as your body adapts and you get fitter, add another session, or start to include tougher rides. i find adding the occasional hill sesh works wonders, but don't do this for a while. the most important thing is to get out and enjoy it. everything else will come without you realising it
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 18,828
    punctureboy has covered it perfectly!

    Start off by enjoying it, then start timing yourself and then if you want to get serious get a heart rate monitor :)
  • reppohkcorreppohkcor Posts: 111
    I was in the same situation a few weeks ago. Now i can do 15 milers with steep 900 ft ascents no problem. You must not forget to take 2 days rest (at least) a week though. It doesn't matter if you're an olympian you still won't be able to recover and reap the benifits.

    I started seeing big improvements after the first week. :wink:
  • Zeroman_IRZeroman_IR Posts: 290
    Thanks all, went out this morning but stayed away from that track.

    I'm going to take my time, hope this doesn't take forever though. Would 2 outings of about an hour every week be enough to help build fitness? Bearing in mind I'll still be keeping up the other exercise mentioned in my last post.
  • punctureboypunctureboy Posts: 217
    yeah with the other stuff included you should build a good level of total body fitness. it will be a good start to get your body used to being on the bike. but if your sticking to 2 sessions a week i would move one of them up to 75-90 mins after a couple of weeks.
  • Zeroman_IRZeroman_IR Posts: 290
    I'll try to make it out 3 times a week but I don't really think it will be possible until the Summer. Back in college again this week and it's going to be pretty heavy until we break for the holidays. Don't get home til 7 most evenings so my best chance is at the weekend. Hopefully the longer days will help.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    I sympathise....!

    I started mtbing with a very, very fast group and spent literally months (if not years :oops: ) feeling very slow and rubbish in comparisson. Not a nice feeling.

    BUT it does and will improve. So my advice would be a) don't lose heart - there will always be people faster or better and people slower than you, and b) remember that mtbing fitness bears NO RELATION WHATSOEVER to 'normal' fitness. I thought I was pretty damn fit when I started and yet I spent most of my time walking up hills. It used completely different muscle groups to other activities, and c) if you can get to a gym, start spinning. Even once a week, teamed with mtbing, will make a huge difference.

    Good luck :D

    I am still the slowest in the group I ride with but I have realised that I don't care anymore and just enjoy the ride 8)
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • Zeroman_IRZeroman_IR Posts: 290
    Thanks for all the encouragement.

    Went out today on my own again to a little XC trail near me. Not sure if I'm getting any faster but I can feel my skills improving. Can make it around without dabbing now once I stay away from the northshore climb bit. Did 2 long laps with the northshore and 2 short laps without, only about 4 miles total but it's pretty much all technical singletrack so takes me about an hour. Not very impressive I know but I'm feeling a little better about things.

    BTW, how long would I want to spend spinning in one session?
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    Well done :D

    I join a spinning class at least once a week which is 45 mins long - it's a really hard workout, set to music which sounds a bit naff but really gets you going. It's quite the in thing at the moment so I think lots of gyms run similar classes.
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • Zeroman_IRZeroman_IR Posts: 290
    I've seen them in my gym but never had the nerve to try it. They've a beginners spinning class on Friday mornings though so may try that over the Easter break. Thanks.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    Give it a go - it really does make a difference!! You have to work hard (I see some ladies in there in each week with their bikes on such a low resistance that they don't even look flushed... :? ) but you really do get out of it what you put in. And you'll feel bloody good afterwards too :D

    I mtb'ed in the New Forest last night and - shock horror - I could actually keep up with everyone. I wasn't the fastest but I was way behind either (yipeee!) :D

    Oh, and it doesn't matter if you go spinning by yourself as everyone is working too hard for chatting and its not one of those classes that you need any kind of co-ordination for (if so, I wouldn't do it). Give it a go :wink:
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
Sign In or Register to comment.