Monday, May 21, 2012

Conditioning Styles- Preparing for a Pioneer Ride

In preparation for a pioneer ride I am planning to attend the seond week in July, I am trying to put in as many miles as possible , while working full time and balancing all the other work that comes with owning property to maintain (mowing, fixing fence, added garden space, chicken coop improvements, and hopfully begin construction of a green house). Thank god I don't have kids to add into the mix!

I have been at this sport for a few years now, but have only ever  completed 1 endurance ride and 1 CTR. Basically,  I am still sorting out the best approach to preparing for a ride such as the one coming up. It's a pioneer ride. I have never attempted one of these before.  My goal is to ride an LD the first day, rest the next day and then ride 2 LD's back to back for the 3rd and 4th day of the event. It's a 10-11 hour trailer ride so it would be nice to ride 3 of the 4 days to get the most out of the trip, but ofcourse it will all depend on how Maggie is handling it and recovering. The terrain will be challenging. It is high elevation and fair amount of climbing based on what I have read.

Determining the best way to be as ready as possible has me wondering. In my mind, Maggie is still putting on a base of conditioning because we didn't do any mileage last year.  I have been riding her fairly consistently since February and began riding for mileage in March. We have done a couple of longer rides , one 14 mile day and one 17 mile day. We have also done back to back shorter rides.

But what is enough to be ready for a Pioneer?

I have 2 days a week that my schedule allows me to put on longer rides. That leaves me 1-2 days a week that I should still be putting mileage on but shorter distance mixed with speed/hill training.  Traditionally, I think this type of schedule is probably the norm;   4-5 days of training a week. At the same time,  a huge time committment that is hard for me to sustain week after week.

I am wondering instead  if the same , or maybe better,  condition readiness  can come from doing shorter, more intense training sessions?  1 long day 15-20 miles per week combined with 2 days of 8-10 miles at speed or 8-10 miles of muiltiple hard hill climbs?  Ofcourse, I realize each horse is different. Maggie seems to be  handling 12-15 mile rides pretty well right now. I  often taken her for a short arena session after a ride like that to assess her "tiredness" the next day. She has never felt sluggish or given any indicators that I would expect to see if she were overly tired (HR recovery slow or stumbly , etc) that next day.

So the question is what is enough? If I were preparing for a one day LD, I would say Maggie would be more than ready in about 2 more weeks of training. But in this case, it's multiple days of challenging terrain. Has anyone played with the interval training concept for a multiple day ride? I would be interested to know the outcomes you have had.

No comments: