2-Week Overload and Peak (MTB)

Average Weekly Training Hours 10:05
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 10:05
Training Load By Week

This is a "mini-peaking" block to be used during the season. If a heavy racing schedule prevents a lengthy, gradual build followed by a lengthy taper, this plan has been demonstrated scientifically to be just as effective. The basic approach is a 7-day overload, followed by a 5-day step-down taper. Fatigue should peak at the end of the load period and freshness should improve each day during the taper. You should flush nearly all residual fatigue by the end of the taper. Legs should feel "VERY GOOD" by end of taper.

Some individual experimentation may be appropriate if you find you need additional overload or additional recovery. The 7-day overload must actually be an overload. At the very least, this should be more high intensity than your typical week. Overall time on the bike may be slightly reduced. From a TSS perspective, the overload week should be one of your higher weekly TSS values. Additional TSS (up to 400) can be added by extending rides to 1:30 with additional Zone 2 time.

Sample Day 1
1:03:00
78.8TSS
HIIT Overload

ON effort is mid-Zone 5 - however, the goal is to be able to hold the effort through the end of each set. Be conservative at first.

Using heart rate is a challenge. It will rise through each set but doesn't react quickly enough to set pace during the ON effort.

Subjectively, the ON effort is the best pace you can hold for 4-5mins. The difficulty is that the pace that will feel maximal at 5mins often doesn't feel too bad at 30secs.

Another way to think about it is the ON is about 10-15% harder than your Threshold Pace (40-60 minute Time Trial pace)

Sample Day 1
1:15:00
36.5TSS
RECOVERY: Easy aerobic pace (Low Zone 2)

This is a relatively easy ride, but longer and slightly more intense than a recovery ride.

Average Power and Normalized Power should be fairly close and in the lower half of Z2. This means that the ride is steady and most of the time you are in low Z2.

Sample Day 2
1:15:00
64.8TSS
Short VO2max Interval Session

Goal for the session is 10 minutes at VO2max. Additional Zone 2 time can be added to the ride, but don't just accumulate junk miles. Save your energy for the hard work.

Sample Day 8
1:00:00
30.3TSS
RECOVERY: 1hr easy spin

Sample Day 10
1:15:00
36.5TSS
RECOVERY: Easy aerobic pace (Low Zone 2)

This is a relatively easy ride, but longer and slightly more intense than a recovery ride.

Average Power and Normalized Power should be fairly close and in the lower half of Z2. This means that the ride is steady and most of the time you are in low Z2.

Sample Day 12
1:15:00
36.5TSS
RECOVERY: Easy aerobic pace (Low Zone 2)

This is a relatively easy ride, but longer and slightly more intense than a recovery ride.

Average Power and Normalized Power should be fairly close and in the lower half of Z2. This means that the ride is steady and most of the time you are in low Z2.

Sample Day 13
1:30:00
67.7TSS
RACE: Openers/Pre-Ride

This is a relatively easy ride with a few efforts to open up the legs for the race tomorrow. The routine is somewhat flexible and should be adjusted for residual fatigue, i.e., a little lighter if you feel tired.

The GOAL is to be fresh for tomorrow and open your legs and body up so they are ready do a good effort. DO NOT make this so hard that it introduces noticeable fatigue in the legs.


Ride should be at low-Z2 with the following efforts: 1 x 5min at low-Z4, 2 x 1min at Z5, 2 x 30sec at Z6+; 3-5min easy spinning between each effort

Jeff Winkler
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Winkler Cycling

Over the past 25 years, I have coached athletes to multiple State and National Championship titles in the disciplines of Road, MTB and Cyclocross. I have worked with all levels of individual racers from novice to professional and have coached collegiate, club and amateur teams.