How do you vary your rides and training to stay engaged?

I’ve recently purchased a new mountain bike. I’ve always had a mountain bike in the garage, but never a “nice” one. So it wasn’t hard to grab my gravel bike and go ride 2, 3, 4, hours and stick to my training plan.

Lately I’ve found myself to prefer riding trails and being on the flat bars to spending long hours on my Crux. I still spend long hours on my Epic but I know that riding is not the same and it’s not going to be long zone 2 hours.

My training plans are low volume, I knock my intervals out early in the week so I can have flexibility Thurs-Sun. I typically ride 10-12 hrs a week overall. If I ride the same volume but ride mountain bike vs gravel bike will it have that much effect on my overall training? Or should I only supplement my current volume with trail rides when possible to be safe? Basically I want to ride my mountain bike more than I do without going backwards…


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If you freewheel a lot more on you MTB maybe.

In my experience, it doesn’t have much of an effect on overall training. A long road ride or long Z2-ish MTB ride are interchangable.


My advice… do what brings you the most enjoyment.

I am lucky and have trails a block from my door so prefer MTB but mix in gravel and a somewhat weekly road ride along the coast. Mixing it up keeps it fresh.


Ride your bike and put a smile on your face!


Whatever makes you ride more, do that.

Don’t overthink it. Smiles per mile will stop burnout and buttress your rides with specific zones. Trust the process and you’ll soon see your fitness improve. Which is another pillar for improving your fitness,

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Generally the mountain bike is good for intensity. If you consider how your MTB rides affect your training and adapt your non-MTB rides accordingly to still progress towards your goals, then it can be neutral to positive from an objective standpoint.

But let’s not lose sight of having fun. Should be priority number one if you aren’t making a living from racing.

20+ years ago I only rode my mountain bikes. I bought a road bike to supplement the mountain riding with steady low intensity (because pros did it who were riding 2x+ as I was…I fell into he trap thinking if pros do it I should do it…wrong!). No matter how I sliced it I usually could only manage 15 hours a week. Looking back…15 hours on the mountain bike I was a much more powerful rider than the same time divided between dirt and road. I say (from experience) if you’re doing around 10 hours a week I bet you’ll be a more powerful rider riding 100% of your time on the trails. Throw in an occasional fast group ride on the road and you’ll be well rounded.