Ben Breach Shares His MTB Training Secrets

Ben Breach, Yoga 15 Athlete

Back in 2017, I wanted to track my training to see how much I was doing every week to get ready for the race season ahead. I had decided to race properly that year and give it my all. I made a very basic spreadsheet with just the rides and yoga sessions that I did. I found that this was a really good way to see how much or how little I was doing each week. 

COLOUR-CODED SPREADSHEET TO TRACK TRAINING

After a few months, I started to colour-code it. This seemed to improve my mindset as I could quickly and clearly see what I was doing each week. Sometimes I’d get home from a training spin and feel so tired that I didn’t want do anything. I’d fill in my sheet and see the yoga square missing and think, “Oh, I actually I have to do this otherwise I’m going to feel stiff and achey in the morning.”

So I’d get up and do the 15-Minute Post-Ride sequence, colour it in and sit back down knowing that it all adds up and helps with recovery. I found that by colouring in the boxes red when I didn’t do anything that day, it looked really bad so I’d better get up and do some thing. When the race season started, I was feeling great and ready for anything. The season was a success.

In 2018, I didn’t really race that much due to work but I still continued to record my yoga and spins. 

POST-RIDE SESSIONS TO PREVENT LOWER BACK PAIN

2019 was a better year. I signed up for a 3-day race in Girona, Spain with 3 other lads from my club. I went back to the spreadsheet and into training mode. I found that by using it every day, I could keep an accurate account of what I was doing and also look back at the previous years to see what had worked well and what had not. Was I doing too much or did I need to put in an effort this week? It really helped to keep me motivated and having a goal to push for was a big incentive.

Doing the 15-minute yoga videos after my spins is something that I really enjoy. I know that in the morning I’m not going to feel stiff and achey, that I’ll be able to get up and go to work feeling good and that I’ll be able to ride my bike that evening and not have to worry about feeling awful for the first 30 minutes of the ride. 

I do get a sore lower back from riding but with the yoga, this seems never to happen now. I use the Strength videos, Post-Ride after every spin and Good Morning as a nice way to start the day.

BREATHING TECHNIQUES TO CALM THE MIND

I also use the breathing techniques sometimes at work if I’m having a particular tough day and also at the start of races as I find it helps to relax my mind and body. It takes my mind off what is about to happen. ie. heart rate straight up to 190bpm for the first 5 minutes of the race and then trying to keep it at around 180bpm for the next hour and a half. I get really nervous at the start of races and I’ve found through Abi’s advice that concentrated breathing really helps with this. It takes me off into my own place and I’m able to focus a lot better on what I’m going and forget about all the things I cannot control—like the other riders in the race.

Overall, the combination of Yoga 15 (Abi) and my spreadsheets have really helped improve my fitness, wellbeing and given me a better understanding of myself. 

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