This endurance-focused training plan is designed for experienced high level athletes looking to make big gains in the off season. This plan is appropriate for endurance and cross-country racing. The plan includes strength conditioning; cross training and core workouts for specific performance benefits that mountain bike athletes need. The plan accommodates training in moderate (seasonal) climates, to include some cross-training activity. My custom and fun bike workouts keep the training fresh, while building the important rock-solid foundation of fitness you'll need for a great season.
This training plan is a refreshing contrast to long/slow/distance training plans, and is unique in its maintenance of all systems. Like a professional rider, a little bit of intensity in your off season will make the transition to racing easier; this plan will show you how.
This training plan includes some cross training and strength conditioning work that does not require but could benefit from having access to a gym. This plan accommodates a full-time work schedule, with mid-week rides limited to 2.5 hours. This plan features one 5-day training block/camp during the final month: plan to schedule for this accordingly. Yoga is not incorporated in this plan. If you practice yoga, substitute out the short core workouts for your existing practice is great.
Consultation and customization of this plan is available. E-mail me, I would love to help you attain your goals!
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Warmup with ten minutes of cardio and a few stretches. For exercises using weights, select a light weight and focus on your form.
Strength exercises: 2 sets x 20 reps of each. Record the weight and your perceived rate of exertion (PRE) for each. Ex: 20 lb., felt easy, 4 on a scale of 1-10.
3. Leg Curls
4. Calf Raises or Jump Rope for 2 minutes
5. Barbell Step-ups OR single leg dead lift.
6. Seated Rows
7. Reverse Flies
8. Back Extension
9. Pull-ups or Lat Pull-down
10. Bench Press or Push Ups
11. Finish with some planks and you're done!
Get in a good technical skills ride. Practice repeating a couple of hard-to-ride sections over and over until you perfect it. On a gradual grassy hill, set up a course with four s-shaped switchbacks using survey flags or water bottles. Practice riding downhill into the feature applying maximum breaking coming into the first grassy turn. Braking should be before you lean, so work on timing this correctly. Continue the slalom making any braking adjustments before each turn. Take each lap faster than the last until you're pushing the limit, but not crashing! Lead into each turn with your shoulders and hips aiming at the apex. Then try several laps using only the front brake; carefully increase your entry speed and lean back. Last, make a few runs using your rear brake only. To do this, you must brake earlier and reduce your speed! Pro riders: try a few laps with NO brakes; using rear wheel drift to adjust speed.
For this workout, a road ride is easier, but it can be done off road if you keep your cadence up. (85+ RPMs on the climbs!)
On a rolling course with mostly dirt roads, ride steady in Zone 3. Limit your time in Zones 1/2 to the downhills or where you have to back off the power. Your total time in Zone 3 is at least 90 minutes; working up to two hours as you get stronger. If the average is below bottom of Z3, hit a nice tempo block to POWER UP!
Get out for a nice steady trail ride. Let the route be a little more open and rolling for some short tempo on the climbs. Find an efficient pace and practice being smooth through the trails.
Do three 45-minute blocks at non-stop Tempo HR. To keep your momentum, you might have power surges, and that's to be expected. Look to Normalized Power to hold steady but your heart rate to run to the top of Tempo/Zone 3 Keep pushing it toward the end! You got this!
You can dress very warm to increase blood flow to leg muscles.
Spin easy with a normal cadence. Select a flat route or spin on your rollers. You’ll be in high Zone 1; not total junk miles, more like light endurance. Get in a good stretch session afterward.
Core Stability and Control Exercises Complete 2-3 sets of each: 1. Heel Taps 2. Quad Progression 3. Planks 4. Leg Lifts 5. Reverse Leg Lifts 6. Glute Medius: "Open Books" or Lateral Band Walking (Click on paper clip icon for complete exercise descriptions.)
The main part of your ride is focused on riding 56-75% of your FTP (Zone 2/3).
The goal for these drills is not to be hammering at threshold, it's more about doing the cadence work:
1. Start off with one-legged pedaling efforts. Do five minutes with FAST pedaling: cadence over 105! SPIN those legs.
2. Take three minutes easy.
3. Next, on a relatively flat section of road, do ten 1-legged pedaling efforts. Spend one minute each leg, switch legs, repeat. (Each leg will get ten 1-minute efforts). Focus on smoothing out your pedal stroke. You don't want to have any dead spots. Your cadence is naturally lower when doing these. Try a 53:17/16/15 combo.
4. Next, ride for at least 15 minutes spinning 90-100 RPMs. This should leave your legs feeling balanced.
After your cadence drills, get in some work on standing and pedaling: Start out with two minutes out of the saddle and standing. While standing, focus on your upstroke (pull calf-muscles up). Then, ride two minutes seated, focusing on pushing with the hamstrings. Repeat this standing/seated routine six times. (2-minutes standing, two-minutes seated, repeated for a total of six times in each position.) Select a gear that is challenging enough to work the muscles, but allows the cadence to drop to 70 RPMs on the seated stuff.
Following standing/seated work, take five minutes easy.
Toward the end of your workout, include eight 1-minute fast pedaling intervals. Each minute on should be at 110-120 RPM. Then, rest for one minute at a normal cadence. Then, repeat.