How to make those new year’s resolutions stick and actually make some changes

Are you determined to make 2018 the year you get fitter, stronger and finally beat your mates?

MTB Strength Factory’s Ben Plenge, has some advice for making those new year’s resolutions really work.

Good luck and – as always – tell us what you think over on Facebook.

Photos by Callum Philpott, Ian Lean and Freeride Madeira.

Climb harder? Hit bigger jumps? Not die?

Take it away Ben …

If, like me, you spent some of your time off over Christmas looking at Alpine holiday destinations and planning which races to do then you might also be thinking about stepping things up in 2018.

Maybe you want to climb faster, sprint harder, hit bigger jumps or just feel strong enough to not die by day 3 on the braking bumps in Morzine.

The good news is that it doesn’t need to be complicated. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple, so I wanted to give you some advice to help you map out your training over the next few months…

“it doesn’t need to be complicated.

I’m a big believer in keeping things simple”

1. Identify how much time you have to ride and train.

Be realistic. Think long term, not just about January.

It must be sustainable for your work/life balance and be sustainable in terms of your personal relationships.

2. Be honest, what do you need to work on the most?

Take some time for self evaluation.

Is it strength, core, climbing, body composition (are you carrying too much fat?), grip, or skills that hold you back and restrict your riding?

Write a list of these things as we want to work on them between now and the spring.

If you’re unsure then chat to your mates who you ride with and use them as a barometer.

3. Get a calendar and break down the time available into 4 week blocks of training.

Each block will be 3 weeks of training then 1 easier recovery week where you rest more and train less.

Also account for things like family holidays and don’t stress if a couple of these training blocks are 3 or 5 weeks long to fit around other things.

Keep it simple.

Google Calendar is an easy to use free online calendar.

Trello is a great and free piece of software for making lists.

(LEARN MORE: We’ve got some really good advice on making training plans here, also by Ben)

4. Give each block of training 2 priorities (based on your list)

Remember that list you made of things you want to improve?

Pick 2 priorities and focus your training on those. You can’t fix everything so, focus on the main ones.

For example:

Block 1: Mobility and endurance.

Block 2: Strength and skills coaching.

Block 3: Uplift days and sprint training.

Remember: even though you have these priorities to focus on you’ll still do your normal rides with your mates and get plenty of your usual riding in.

5. Plan for the time you have.

Now plan your time out for the first block of training to achieve the goals you have set, and using the time you have available.

Keep it simple.

6. At the end of the first block review your progress.

How did it go? Are you exhausted all the time and need to back off next month or could you do a little bit more as you feel like you are fitter and stronger.

Adjust for the 2nd block and continue as above.

7. Remember to ride your bike loads.

Have fun with your mates, and don’t take it all too seriously.

8. Feel strong and confident when you hit your first big goal

Get to the first race, big event, MTB holiday, uplift day or whatever you’re working towards.

Have a wicked time, feeling confident in your skills and fitness.

Good luck with your training and riding in 2018!

Nukeproof Mega Team 275 Nukeproof Bikes Wideopenmag Freeride Madeira

9. Last but not least, here’s some extra reading to help you on your way.

Read Wideopenmag’s guide to UK mountain bike fitness coaches.

… or our once-a-day stretch for mountain bikers to make you move better.

… or some advice on interval training for mountain bikers to make you fitter and faster.

… or some advice on how to make your own mountain bike fitness training plan.

… or some advice on riding your road bike through the winter to get fitter and faster.

Ben Plenge is the man responsible for whipping Team Wideopenmag into shape, and going by last year’s results, he clearly knows what he’s doing…

If you’re looking for someone to help you with training plans, or any other aspect of fitness on a mountain bike, give Ben a shout at MTB Strength Factory or find a coach local to you here.


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