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Customisable Specific/Build Phase for MTB XCO (Power-Based): 12 Weeks; 7-12 Hrs/Week
Includes Structured Workouts
Tom BellAll plans by this Coach
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Includes Structured Workouts
A SPECIFIC PREPARATION PHASE PLAN DESIGNED TO MAXIMALLY DEVELOP ALL NECESSARY MTB RACE-LIKE ABILITIES BEFORE THE FINAL TAPER PERIOD LEADING INTO YOUR TARGET COMPETITION(S)
This MTB plan is designed for cross country athletes, where the primary aim of the phase is to balance maintenance of the aerobic fitness foundation built in the general phase with a wholistic development of the higher-level, race-specific abilities needed for competitive success in modern-day MTB racing.
The plan includes a comprehensive 20-page user-guide containing detailed instructions and tips to help you get the most out of the plan and to allow you to make any adjustments necessary. With this guide, it's easy to extend or reduce the weekly training hours beyond those stated above, as needed.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SPECIFIC TRAINING PHASE
After building a solid foundation in the general phase, the specific phase plan follows on from the former, with the primary aim to convert this broader fitness base into necessary aerobic and anaerobic race-like abilities .
Key adaptations addressed include improved lactate kinetics, greater power at the lactate threshold, both an increased aerobic capacity (VO2max) and fractional utilisation of the aerobic capacity at lactate threshold, greater neuromuscular recruitment, greater cycling economy as well as improved sprint repeatability and ability to recover quicker after each sprint/high power surge .
This will be done through a careful balance of steady-state riding, interval training of various designs and recovery-focused sessions to facilitate larger and quicker adaptations. Each microcycle will feature both road and off-road based training sessions to develop handling skills (off-road) or minimise unnecessary fatigue from vibrations (road or indoor trainer) whilst still improving key determinants of MTB marathon success .
COMPOSITION OF THE PLAN
The plan covers a 12-week period, using three distinct mesocycles, each featuring a 3-week ramp in training load, which is then followed up by a week aimed at recovering and adapting to the load. This ramp rate from week to week is "functionally conservative"; enough to result in a meaningful training stress yet gradual enough to avoid 'non-functional overreaching' or overtraining.
The plan features a large variety of workout designs and intensities, balanced with what's known as a 'polarised training intensity distribution'; a planning and sequencing approach shown in the literature and in our own experience coaching 100s of athletes to be a successful framework for fitness improvement for both time-rich and time-crunched cyclists.
NOTE: The plan's volume is totally adaptable from the default 7-12 hrs/week, where guidance on doing so is provided in our detailed user guide supplied with each plan.
- Lactate threshold, VO2max and greater fractional utilisation;
- Enhance substrate utilisation to improve ability to oxidise more fat at higher intensities, sparing limited glycogen stores, as well as maintain all endurance-based adaptations built in preceding general phase
- Introduce more MTB-specific sessions off-road that mimics exact demands of racing (e.g. fast starts, sprint repeatability, higher force/lower cadence pedalling techniques etc).
 Schneeweiss, Patrick, et al. "Predictive Ability of a Laboratory Performance Test in Mountain Bike Cross-country Olympic Athletes." International journal of sports medicine (2019).
 Novak, Andrew R., et al. "A multidimensional approach to performance prediction in Olympic distance cross-country mountain bikers." Journal of sports sciences (2018).
 Macdermid, Paul W., Philip W. Fink, and Stephen R. Stannard. "Transference of 3D accelerations during cross country mountain biking." Journal of biomechanics (2014).
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|5:30 hrs||3:00 hrs|
|4:35 hrs||4:15 hrs|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||5:30 hrs||3:00 hrs|
||4:35 hrs||4:15 hrs|