How to Train for a Mountain Bike Race

Last Updated on September 11, 2021

Joining a mountain bike race is no doubt fun. It’s exciting, full of thrill, and downright satisfying.

But it isn’t as easy as riding your bike and just going as fast as you can. It will also be stressful for your body because you have to go “all out” to become faster than other racers.

That’s where race training kicks in. It’s all about prepping up your body and making it capable of taking a lot of beating without sacrificing endurance and performance.

Here, we will show you how to train for a mountain bike race so you’ll go fast and get that top spot in the podium. That’s the principal goal of races, right?

The Type of Race You’re Entering

The training plan you will take should correlate to the type of race you’re joining. Mountain bike races have different disciplines. And each requires specific training to put you in the right condition.

The 3 most common ones are:

  • Downhill
  • Cross-country or XC
  • Enduro

Downhill riders need to focus their training on sprinting and hitting big jumps. Meanwhile, XC riders need to train for climbs and long-distance pedaling.

Enduro races are a combination of both disciplines because they require you to train on both the climbs and downhills.

Train and Maintain

You also need general training to get you fit aside from having the specific type of training you need to get you ready for your mountain bike race. Your body should already be in a fit condition at least a month before the race starts for you to get excellent results.


Mountain biking is all about endurance because your body needs to deal with the whole race’s duration. You can train on this by finding a trail similar to the racetrack. Then create a pacing that you can follow and finish.

train and maintain endurance for a mountain bike race

An example of this is doing multiple laps each day on your local trail so you can make riding downhills second nature. Also, increase the distance every week to improve your endurance and make it easier for you to clear longer distances.


Once you increase your endurance, the next step is to finish a set distance in either a downhill or uphill trail to a smaller amount of time. Your speed is essential to getting that first-place finish you’re craving for.

This is also where you need to practice sprinting while using a timer to record the time and minutes you can reach the finish line.

Strengthening up

Aside from training on your bike, you also need to train whenever you’re off it. One of these training sessions you need to have is muscle training.

Hit the gym and lift those weights to grow some muscles. There are a lot of advantages to this, such as more efficient pedaling and stronger trail pumping. It’s also a preventive measure from getting burnt-out or heavily injured from a race.


No doubt that being fast is a major factor. But you also need to have a lot of technical skills for you to out compete the other racers. This makes it possible for you to easily maneuver over technical sections on the trail and decrease your time to finish.

Having the needed technical skills also provides you more control on your bike. This leads to better confidence and faster time.

Cross-Training Can Help

Cross-training is an immense help in preparing yourself for your mountain bike race. Try other sports that can be good for your training, so you have something else to do whenever you’re not on the saddle.

Some mountain bikers do a lot of running or road cycling to increase their cardio. While others prefer to do motocross or even just hit the gym to train more.

Recovery Ride

Training every day is necessary to keep your body in top shape while also improving your mountain biking skills. But the problem with this is that too much workout can lead to fatigue and injury.

Doing a recovery ride for at least once a week will help keep your body in shape while preventing it from overworking. All you have to do is find a trail that’s less difficult compared to what you usually ride so you can be more laid back.

Having a Training Program

It’s best that you start a training program to get you ready for your race. This will help you find your weak parts so you can spend more time training on that rather than wasting time on your strong points.

Having a Training Program

You’ll then see the tremendous improvements you’ve made in a short amount of time once you complete the training program.

Tips Before the Race Starts

Pre-ride the course

Most mountain bike races require you to pre-ride the course a few days before the race starts. This is mainly because of safety reasons. But it will also help you create a strategy on how you can finish the racecourse as fast as possible.

Go to the venue early

Going to the venue early will give you time to prepare for everything. It also ensures that you’re in condition once you get to the starting line.

You don’t want to start the race where you haven’t set up your bike or even forget the things you need to bring during the race.

Conserve energy

Don’t go all-out during your practice runs because you won’t have any energy left during the actual race.

converse energy before the race starts

You only need to exert minimum power on your needs so you’re in “full-tank mode” once the race starts. Overdoing yourself before the race can only lead to injury and bad race results.


Mountain bike racing is all about competitiveness. The chances of you getting to the top spot is higher once you follow the tips we’ve mentioned in this article.

But don’t stress yourself that much! Remember that the point of mountain biking is to enjoy the great outdoors.

conclusion for How to Train for a Mountain Bike Race

You can be as competitive as you want. But don’t get rid of the fun. Relax, enjoy, and make the most out of the moment.

You’ll be surprised to see that you’ve got that gold medal you’ve been working hard for.


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