48h, that is how to bite ultramaraton

Preparing for an ultramaraton bike requires three things: work, work and work again. How do you plan your workouts to improve the motor skills you need to succeed in a 48-hour ultramarathon?

Marathon and ultramaraton

At first glance, it would appear that preparing for an extremely long bike distance only requires an increase in the volume of workouts. Meanwhile, the end result and the construction of the ultramarathon form is composed of a number of other elements, resulting in optimal preparation for the start.

One of them is a suitable strength foundation. The muscular system, up to a maximum of several hours, must be strengthened so that the athlete can not experience discomfort for several hours. Such training includes first of all the deep muscles exercises, the back, the abdomen, the arms and legs. It is conducted throughout the season, so that the effects worked out in the winter have not been reduced or even raised. Where a competitor has a well-developed body, his torso is properly stabilized while driving, and the energy required for that purpose does not come from the leg muscles. This can save the cotton wool from moving forward, rather than keeping the body moving.



Exhibit 1 – Example 10-hour training by Valerian Romanowski on a MTB bike

Another element of building strength in ultramarathon is the differentiation of training. Exercises, especially in the preparatory phase, should include a whole range of training methods and measures that will stimulate individual organ systems to grow. In addition to the above-mentioned work in the gym, there are also field races, swimming, sauna and bicycle in several configurations (MTB, highway, trainer, spinning).

Over time, the volume of general workouts (eg gym, swimming pool) decreases, and increases the time spent on specific training (cycling). Performance built using a variety of training methods slowly translates into cycling efficiency.

Valerian training

In the training plan prepared for Valerian I had to take into account several factors that were specific to his professional history. Valerjan had already been in the ultramarines before, so his aerobic capacity at the beginning of the collaboration was high. In addition to its further enlargement, it was also necessary to focus on the development of other motor characteristics, ie strength and speed, which are also essential in ultramarathon. Strengthening of muscle fibers allows for higher power output, and speed work is used to shift the trained force to the speed of movement.

Since Valerian is a highly trained player, we have decided on a 3 weeks workout and 1 week rest. Such a layout allowed to build a large training base and at the same time allowed the body to accumulate loads. As a result, the competitor was rested in successive training blocks and was able to carry out increased workloads.



Figure 2 – Valerian Romanowski’s training volume from January to June 2014.

I used field testing to monitor my current form and compared the effectiveness of similar training sessions planned over time. This allowed us to evaluate the progress achieved by Valerian and to select further training units that would allow for further increase in performance.

Since January, Valerian has completed more than 530 hours of training work, cycled over 10,000 km. The standard was weeks where the volume was 25-30h. Recently, we conducted the final, strong volumetric week during which Valerian drove 48 hours. A lot of workouts were also done at night to adapt to work under such conditions. Valerjan was already training and racing after sunset, but repetition of training under such conditions is necessary to simulate start conditions.

As the record will be beaten on mountain bikes, a large part of the workout was performed on MTB. Running 10 and more hours on a mountain bike during training is not easy, especially when on the second day we have eg 15h on the highway. Such weekends happened on a regular basis.

At 3 weeks prior to take-off, the main goal is to maintain the current aerobic capacity at Valerian and to directly prepare for the start. It assumes first and foremost to stand on a fully rested start line so as to use all the capabilities of the body that the athlete has worked out in recent months of hard work.

I am convinced that thanks to his perseverance in training and the spirit of Valerian he will achieve his goal of breaking the Guinness record 48-hour cycling MTB.

Arek Kogut – coach