2017 NICA PRE-Season High School VARSITY mountain bike training plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 09:17
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 09:17
Training Load By Week

This high school mountain bike training plan is for the VARSITY level racer peaking for the NICA race season. This 12 week pre-season training plan will gradually ramp up your fitness, strength and threshold power in preparation for regular-season training. After this 12 week plan you will enter the regular training season as one of the top riders on your team.

Varsity riders shredding trail

Begin this training plan 12 weeks prior to the start date of your NICA league regular training season. Regular season training starts for fall leagues on July 1 and spring leagues on December 1. Colorado starts on August 1 and Tennessee starts on the Monday of the week after the week of July 4. Start this training plan 12 weeks prior to the above dates.

A heart rate monitor is required to follow this training plan. A power meter is an optional extra advantage that can be used with this training plan but is not required. A mountain bike is required to follow this training plan. A road bike is an optional extra that is not required.

This plan contains five training rides, three core training sessions and three stretching sessions per week. Every Sunday is a rest day.

Visit our LW Coaching high school athlete resources page for information geared towards the high school athlete, to ask training plan questions on our forum and read mountain bike specific training articles.

When your state NICA regular-season starts, LW Coaching recommends athletes participate fully with their high school team training program and local high school coaches. Independent athletes without a team have the option to follow on with our LW Coaching NICA regular-season mountain bike training plan. We also have NICA TEAM plans available for head coaches to use with an entire team in the regular season.

NICA coaches are not eligible to work with student-athletes during the pre-season under the NICA team training limits rule. This training plan is written for student-athletes to follow independently without a NICA coach to comply with NICA rules.

This training plan and the forum support provided are designed for an individual user. Please do not duplicate, distribute or share this training plan. Copyright 2017 LW Coaching.

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
DAY #1, workout #1: Core Stability and Strength

DAY #1: Do 30 mins of core training with a variety of exercises for your hip, abdominal and lower back muscles. Examples are bridging, pillar exercises, crunches, back extensions, Pilates. Follow this link for exercise suggestions: Core Training for Mountain Bikers http://lwcoaching.com/core-strength-for-mountain-bikers/

Then do the recommended exercises and repeats at this link: Stability Exercises for Cyclists http://lwcoaching.com/stability-exercises-for-cyclists/ 

Coach Lynda tip: These exercises are early season pre-hab work to counter and prevent strength imbalances caused by cycling that lead to imbalance and overuse injuries. These stability exercises are preventative maintenance.

Sample Day 2
1:30:00
DAY #2 Power and HR Performance 20 min Field Test

DAY #2, session #1: Heart rate, Power and Performance Field Test. This test is to set your power (watts) training levels and heart rate training zones. It is also used to establish a performance benchmark to compare and track your progress. You will repeat this test again in week #6 of the plan.

Do a long deep warm up prior to the test. Then time trial 20 minutes, non-stop on a flat course or up a continuous gradual climb. Pace the 20 minutes evenly with a maximal effort. Record average power if you have a power meter (a power meter is optional), average heart rate and distance covered in the 20 minutes. Finish ride time with a long easy cool down.

Use the TrainingPeaks zones calculator as follows to establish heart rate training zones:

1. Open the athlete account setting page and select Zones (athlete > settings > zones). 

2. Enter the average heart rate from the 20 minute field test into the Threshold Heart Rate box.

3. Choose type Lactate Threshold from the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method Joe Friel for Cycling in the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate, then Apply, then the Save button at the bottom of the page. 

6. Copy heart rate training zones 1 – 5 and start pacing by heart rate and PE! 

Use the TrainingPeaks zones calculator as follows to establish power training zones:

1. Open the athlete account setting page and select Zones (athlete > settings > zones). 

2. Enter into the threshold box your average 20 minute power multiplied by 0.95. E.G. Average 20 min power of 200 w x 0.95 = 190 w

3. Choose type Threshold Power from the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method Coggan (6) in the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate, then Apply, then the Save button at the bottom of the page.

6. Copy power training levels 1 – 6 and start pacing by power and PE!

Coach Lynda tip: Prior to conducting this test review the Testing Guidelines doc found at this link http://lwcoaching.com/?p=138 for tips on how to prepare for and execute your best test.

You have an option to re-test on week #3 day 6 if you feel you did not put out your best possible effort today.

Sample Day 2
0:10:00
DAY #2 Foam roller and stretch

DAY #2, session #2: After your 20 min time trial field test today, use a combination of rolling on a foam roller and stretching to work out your hot spots.

Sample Day 3
1:30:00
Improve technical riding skills.

Ride at an easy pace in heart rate zones 1-2 with a focus on technical riding skills. Go to a pump track, bmx track, bike park, technical trail or open area. Have fun with this session today and invite your friends.

Today's goals are to improve technical ride skills, speed and flow on moderately challenging terrain (no big gnarr silly stuff). Work on all aspects of technical ride skills; balance, braking, descending, cornering, pumping etc.

Ride at an easy pace in HR zones 1-2 when the trail is easy. When you reach a challenging section of trail repeat it several times until you are smooth and clean and can flow the section with less energy and more speed. Brief heart rate spikes over zone 2 in the tech sections are expected and ok. Stop after challenging sections, let your HR come down, observe the lines then re-ride with more flow and speed. Rest time counts today, so you are out on the trail for 1.5 hours and maybe pedaling for only 45 mins. This is a good session to do with a better rider to learn from, friends or with a skills coach.

Coach Lynda tip: Click on the paper clip icon above and download the LW Coaching Training Intensity Guidelines doc attached to this workout to learn how to pace with PE and calibrate your PE numbers to heart rate zone (HRZ) and effort level.

PE = perceived exertion
HRZZ = heart rate zone

Sample Day 3
0:10:00
Foam Roll and Stretch

Use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out your hot spots.

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
Core workout

Core workout. Follow this routine http://lwcoaching.com/30-min-core-stretch-routine-mountain-bike-racers/

Sample Day 5
1:30:00
XC Race Warm-up practice

Practice your XC race warm-up routine: 5-10 mins of easy power L1/HRZ1 spinning, 5 mins of power L2/HRZ2, 5 mins of power L3/HRZ3, 5 mins of power L1-2, 1 x 1 min power L4, 3 mins power L1/HRZ1, 1 x 1 min power L5, 1 min power L1/HRZ1. Pace the 1 min L4 and L5 by PE if you do not have a power meter on your bike today. Look at the attached training intensity guidelines doc for pacing cues.

Finish the ride time pedaling steady in power L2 or HRZ2.

Coach Lynda tip: 1 min intervals are too short to pace by heart rate due to the physiological time lag between power to the pedals and when heart rate responds and rises. Click on the paper clip icon above and download the LW Coaching Training Intensity Guidelines doc attached to this workout to learn how to accurately pace with PE and calibrate your PE numbers.

Lynda Wallenfels
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LW Coaching

Mountain Bike Coaching, Consulting and Mountain Bike Training Plans. We are mountain bikers and specialize in mountain biking.

Browse our LWCoaching.com website and give our LW Coaching mountain bike training plan finder App a try https://lwcoaching.com/mtb-training-plans/planfinder/ to see which mountain bike training plan stack fits your goals.

Personal coaching, pre-built mountain bike training plans, telephone consultations. See www.lwcoaching.com or contact lynda@lwcoaching.com