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It’s the middle of April, and while winter still seems to be hanging on to life in many parts of the us by the tips of its bloodied, raw fingers, spring really is upon us! With spring comes spring training. Whether you’re prepping for an epic race (or race series) this year, getting in shape for some epic solo exploration in the mountains, or just wanting to shed a few pounds, here are the top 10 training and fitness articles that we’ve published over the years here on Singletracks:

1. The Dirty Century Training Plan for Finishers

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Greg finishing his dirty century last May, after following Jeff’s training plan.

The fact of the matter is, most of us normal folks have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a 100-mile mountain bike race. However, if we shift our focus from winning a dirty century to just completing it, that snowball’s chances have just risen considerably to a warm winter day in Canada. If you really put your mind and body to it, you can totally complete your very own dirty century.

Jeff wrote this training plan after his first 100-mile race, and I personally took this advice to heart and, following his tips, completed my very own 100-miler the next spring. If you’ve ever wanted to ride 100 miles on your mountain bike, this is the article for you!

2. Training for the Cohutta 100: Three Unexpected Training Aids

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In addition to Jeff’s fantastic tips, during my training for the Cohutta 100 I found a number of things that personally helped me to achieve my goals. Road biking, Strava challenges, and Gu Energy Products all proved crucial in helping me accomplish my dirty century milestone.

3. The Metric Dirty Century Training Plan

Does 100 miles sound like too much? Well how about 62? This training plan, also composed by Jeff, is designed to get you through a Metric century. And once you’ve completed a metric, chances are you’ll realize just how doable a true ‘merican dirty century really is.

4. Top 3 Core Training Exercises for XC/Trail Riders

If you’ve been riding for even just a little while, you know that riding all the time and neglecting the rest of your body is a recipe for disaster. In this article, Bike James shares three key core training exercises that will help keep you a balanced, healthy mountain biker.

5. Getting in Shape and Losing Weight for Spring Mountain Biking

Unless you have been riding all winter long (and with fat bikes so readily available, if you haven’t been riding this winter, you should try it), chances are you have a few extra pounds to shed. In this article, maddslacker explains how food and fitness tracking websites and apps, such as LoseIt, can help you get back down to your desired weight.

6. Mountain Biking Nutrition 101

Maddslacker’s “Getting in Shape” article goes hand-in-hand with his 2011 article, “Mountain Biking Nutrition 101.” Check this article out for great tips on what to eat when you’re not on the bike, before a ride, during a ride, and afterwards.

7. BetterRide Core Skills 1 Camp: Why Everyone Should Take MTBing Lessons

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There’s so much more to going fast and riding well than losing weight and riding a lot, though. Learning and practicing key mountain bike skills should be an integral part of any training routine. And if you’ve never taken a skills course before, we highly recommend the classes from BetterRide.

8. 5 Reasons to Get a Professional Bike Fit

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Training for fitness and learning the right skills are both crucial for going fast on a mountain bike, but did you know that a professional fit can, in many cases, instantaneously boost your speed and physical performance? For this and other reasons to get a professional bike fit (such as injury prevention), be sure to read this article.

9. 9 Ways to Climb Better on Your Mountain Bike

Photo: nejmensi.

Photo: nejmensi.

Everyone knows that the races (the XC and endurance races, at least) “are won on the climbs.” Check out this articles for 9 tips on how to climb better.

10. The Strava Effect on Mountain Biking

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Love it or hate it, one thing is undeniable: Strava can be a great training motivator as you build your base this spring. From the social accountability from following your friends and having your friends follow you, to monthly training challenges, and finally the ubiquitous segment leaderboards, Strava’s goal is to encourage you to dig deeper, ride longer, and go faster.

Your turn: Do you have any excellent training and fitness tips? Share them in the comments section below!

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