What does a world champion’s training look like?

by CyclingTips


We’ve followed Kate Courtney’s journey of an XC mountain biker from an aspiring U23 all the way to her Elite World Champion title in Switzerland last year. Kate has been a columnist for us and given us a wonderful glimpse into her racing and training philosophies, balance as a student, confidence and rituals, and the mental side of her training.

In this video we get to see what Kate does on the physical side of her training and what it takes to be the best in the world.

Kate’s training routine

Typically, Kate rides every day and spend 2-3 days per week in the gym. Her rides often involve a series of intervals and are done on the mountain or road bike while her double days usually involve slightly shorter rides. She rides anywhere from 15-25 hours a week and spends roughly 3-6 hours in the gym. Outside of this, She spends training time doing yoga, stretching and focusing on recovery. You can only train as hard as you can recover!

For those just starting out, Kate’s biggest advice is to just spend more time on the bike and to identify specific skills you’d like to the work on during your time out on the trail. While you can get increasingly specific with intervals, time in the gym, etc – the most valuable thing you can do as a beginner or intermediate rider looking to improve is to put in more hours on the bike.

Outside of the added volume, she highly recommends working on functional core (not just planking!) and making sure to have a good stretching/recovery routine. A lot of the work that she does in the gym and for recovery are for injury prevention and to help her stay strong and healthy while pushing her body over a long period of time.

People underestimate recovery! Kate approaches her recovery as seriously as her training and she thinks it makes a huge difference. If you can recover between sessions, you are able to push much harder overall and have a much higher chance of avoiding illness and injury.

Question & Answer

What does a typical week of training look like?

Typically, I ride every day and spend 2-3 days per week in the gym. My rides often involve a series of intervals and are done on the mountain or road bike while my double days usually involve slightly shorter rides. I ride anywhere from 15-25 hours a week and spend roughly 3-6 hours in the gym. Outside of this, I spend training time doing yoga, stretching and focusing on recovery. You can only train as hard as you can recover!

If you could suggest three workouts to a friend to improve their riding, which would they be and why?

For those just starting out, my biggest advice is to just spend more time on the bike and to identify specific skills you’d like to the work on during your time out on the trail. While you can get increasingly specific with intervals, time in the gym, etc. – the most valuable thing you can do as a beginner or intermediate rider looking to improve is to put in more hours on the bike.

Outside of the added volume, I highly recommend working on functional core (not just planking!) and making sure to have a good stretching/recovery routine. A lot of the work that I do in the gym and for recovery are for injury prevention and to help me stay strong and healthy while pushing my body over a long period of time.

What is something important about training you think most people underestimate?

People underestimate recovery! I approach my recovery as seriously as my training and I think it makes a huge difference. If you can recover between sessions, you are able to push much harder overall and have a much higher chance of avoiding illness and injury.

See the full article on Scott’s website.

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