Specific/Build MTB XCO Plan (Power-Based): 12 Weeks; 7-12 Hrs/Week (Adjustable)

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 09:57

A STRUCTURED PROGRAM FOR PEAK MTB RACE PERFORMANCE


This plan has been built specifically for INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED mountain bike cross-country/marathon racers seeking optimal performance and results via a science-based yet practical training plan.

KEY FEATURES:



  • Built using TrainingPeaks’ Workout Builder

  • All workouts exportable to .FIT, .ZWO, .ERG formats

  • Polarised Intensity Distribution

  • Large variety of interval workouts

  • All workouts designed for power meter users

  • Progressive TSS load for sustained improvement

  • Each workout’s purpose clearly communicated


PLAN GOALS:



  • Continually develop foundational aerobic endurance

  • Improve FTP by 3-5% or more over the course of the plan

  • Increase maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) towards target events

  • Train the MTB-specific ability to produce high power surges repeatability

  • Create "cramp immunity" through targeted workouts

  • Build greater muscular endurance as applied to MTB (e.g. standing on pedals, manoeuvring bike on technical terrain)

  • Provide varied workouts for greater adaptive signalling and burnout avoidance


ADDITIONALLY INCLUDES:



  • Email support from Tom throughout the plan

  • Resource files such as checklists and support documentation

  • Optional core strength routine workout library

Sample Day 1
1:30:00
97.9TSS
VO2Max: 30S/15S Microbursts

15M building up to 60-70% FTP.

4x 9M blocks, each comprising: 12x (30S @ 118-125% FTP/15S @ 30-40% FTP) with 3-4M easy spinning as active recovery between each block of micro-intervals.

Remaining time up to 1H30M @ ~55-65% FTP.

See workout details below for full session breakdown.

PURPOSE: Increase the maximal volume of oxygen the body can take in and deliver to the working muscles via the blood. Improves speed of recovery between hard efforts, as well as ability to overcome force and re-accelerate multiple times.

Sample Day 2
1:30:00
105.2TSS
Supra-Threshold: Steady-State Intervals

20M warm up building up to @ 60-70% FTP.

4x 8M @ 103-105% FTP with 3M of easy spinning as active recovery between intervals.

Remaining time up to 1H30M @ 55-65% FTP.

PURPOSE: Increases FTP (Functional Threshold Power - max sustainable 1H steady-state power) by helping to improving the lactate threshold, i.e. where blood lactate begins to accumulate exponentially in the blood. This training aims to shift the threshold “to the right” by training body to process and clear lactate more efficiently and at higher intensities.

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
25TSS
Recovery: Easy Ride (Road or MTB)

1H recovery ride @ 40-60% FTP.

If riding MTB, try to include some technical skills practice, such as cornering practice, line choice, off-camber sections, roots etc.

PURPOSE: Allow for adaptations from previous hard workout, whilst keeping rhythm of training and muscles working without adding any further stress to the body.

Sample Day 5
3:00:00
126.8TSS
Endurance: Steady MTB Ride

3H @ 60-70% FTP.

Feel free to stray into Zone 1 on descents and Zone 3 on steeper climbs, but try to choose as flat or rolling course as possible to maximise time in target zone.

PURPOSE: Enhances aerobic fitness by stimulating greater mitochondrial biogenesis (production of mitochondria - the power house of the cell), enhanced capillarization in the muscles, development of slow-twitch muscles fibres and trains body to more efficiently use fat as primary fuel source.

Sample Day 6
1:45:00
65.4TSS
Endurance: Steady Ride + Sprints (Road or MTB)

1H45M @ 60-70% FTP, including 2x 4x 10S max sprints with 1M50S easy spinning between each sprint.

Remaining time after sprints up to 1H45M @ 55-65% FTP to cool down.

PURPOSE: Develops endurance whilst working on speed of muscle contraction, strength of muscle contraction and how long the muscles can remain contracted by training ability of body to recruit more muscle fibres.

Sample Day 8
1:30:00
105.2TSS
Supra-Threshold: Steady-State Intervals

20M warm up building up to @ 60-70% FTP.

4x 8M @ 103-105% FTP with 3M of easy spinning as active recovery between intervals.

Remaining time up to 1H30M @ 55-65% FTP.

PURPOSE: Increases FTP (Functional Threshold Power - max sustainable 1H steady-state power) by helping to improving the lactate threshold, i.e. where blood lactate begins to accumulate exponentially in the blood. This training aims to shift the threshold “to the right” by training body to process and clear lactate more efficiently and at higher intensities.

Sample Day 9
1:30:00
62.99TSS
Endurance: Steady Ride (Road or MTB)

1.5H @ 60-70% FTP. 

Feel free to change up cadence and switch between the lower and higher end of Zone 2.

PURPOSE: Enhances aerobic fitness by stimulating greater mitochondrial biogenesis (production of mitochondria - the power house of the cell), enhanced capillarization in the muscles, development of slow-twitch muscles fibres and trains body to more efficiently use fat as primary fuel source.

Tom Bell
|
tombell.co

I help Mountain Bike and Cyclocross athletes achieve peak cycling fitness through free proven training advice, as well as one-to-one coaching, structured training plans and private consultations.