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4 Week Block for XC or Enduro Racers. Smart Trainer + Trail Optimized



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4 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling mountain biking beginner intermediate advanced masters multi day power based hr based

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Plan Description

For many mountain bikers, training is a bit of a mystery. And a lot of us have the same kinds of questions for training.

What weaknesses should I be addressing in my fitness training? How should a typical week look? How many weeks in a row should I do this? When should I rest? Should I be training different for Enduro than for XC?

This plan is one 4-week block that addresses all of these questions, no matter what level you are at. These are the same kinds of workouts that I use with professional and beginner athletes.

First, you will test your fitness. The plan then goes on through 3 full weeks of training. The plan finishes with a structured recovery week and a post-training fitness test.

This particular plan is optimized for your smart trainer as the workouts will sync directly! You can also use you power meter. Or you can utilize your heart rate zones based on the power prescriptions for each day.

This plan also allows for FUN MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES -- because training should be fun!

The workouts are well-suited for both XC and Enduro racers, with the main difference being the race simulation days.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:29 hrs 2:00 hrs
3:30 hrs 2:30 hrs
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:29 hrs 2:00 hrs
3:30 hrs 2:30 hrs
—— ——

Training Load By Week

Dr Matt Miller


I specialize in MTB performance and support rad athletes globally. I have a PhD in Sport Science and have raced in every discipline including the EWS and UCI Elite XC since 2003. In early 2019 I left my university role to focus on coaching full time.

Sample Day 1

TEST TIME TRIAL [Pre-training]

Welcome to the first day of your training plan! The first day is a test day to determine what your fitness is now and to offer you a benchmark for your future training cycles.

We will try to control this as much as we can so that we know we are comparing apples to apples. We'll make sure the lead in to test day is pretty similar, control the warmup, and it will be up to you to eat similar foods.
(PRO-HACK: write down what you ate in the post-ride comments after you upload your file)

In addition to helping you track your progress, testing will also help you to determine training zones as you start your program.

Click on the option to do an FTP test and follow the protocol. the time trial portion is VERY hard, and the program will tell you your FTP so that you can set your zones and intensities for the following weeks of workouts.

Choose a road nearby that is easily repeatable on a safe section of road with no stops. Do this on the same bike every time. Using a MTB is OK. If this is uphill you will be able to pedal more steadily (less coasting) but flat or rolling terrain are fine if there are no stops or changes of road.
Get in a 15-minute warmup as follows: 5min easy seated pedaling- 10s acceleration with high cadence RPE~7 - 2min easy pedaling- 15s acceleration with slightly higher RPE, high cadence - standing pedaling for 2 minutes with heavy gear @50rpm ~RPE 5 – 5s acceleration just below max – 5min easy seated pedaling.

Record start location and begin the test, shooting for a steady power at a maximal rate for 12-20 minutes. Record stop location, elapsed time, weather, perceived exertion, heart rate, bike and tires used.

Follow time trial protocol as above. Take average heart rate from test portion only. This is a good estimation of your lactate threshold heart rate. Zone will be as follows (derived from Andrew Coggan, PhD):
Zone 1: <68%
Zone 2: 69-83%
Zone 3: 84-94%
Zone 4: 95-105%

(PRO HACK 2: you can enter these zones on your Training Peaks profile and the metrics from your rides will be appropriately calculated.)

Sample Day 2

Recovery spin

Stay below and do not enter zone 2 power, should feel like your legs are just falling down with each pedal stroke. Easy as, but keep a high cadence

Sample Day 3

Easy MTB

Take it easy, no big spikes in power, just try to stay in your endurance zone. Don't let heart rate get too far into your zone 3

Sample Day 4

5x5 min @ 90% threshold with long recoveries

Threshold efforts are a really good bang for your buck! They are not overly hard, which means you can do quite a few of them. But they are hard enough that they will definitely stress your system. Your ability to improve in this spectrum will allow you do more hard efforts when you get out on to the trail since you will recover faster between sprints.
This is just 5x5 minute efforts in your zone 4, with 4 minutes easy between each effort. Fantastic workout!

Sample Day 5

Skills sesh

Easy cruise on the bike just practicing easy skills like manuals, wheelies, jumps, bunny hops and the like. No structure really, but a good chance to mess around since your body does not need hard pedaling today. Note skills you worked on, and speculate how it went.

Sample Day 6

Easy Endurance Road Ride (with diet stress)

Endurance power and heart rate zones (Zone 2). Keep pedalling and do not have big spikes in power.

Sample Day 7

MTB group ride

Choose any pace, have fun!

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