4 Week Block for XC or Enduro Racers. 3 days/week. Smart Trainer Optimized

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 03:25

**Our most popular training plan for 2018!**

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?

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.

This plan is unique in that it is only 3 days per week. The other days are left open for either resting or other activities. For many, this means the rest of the time is open to living!

Therefore, this program is designed specifically for those who have less time available due to a busy life. This program will work on specific fitness limiters for both XC or Enduro racers.

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.

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 5
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 10
Micro Sprints During Tempo

This is a super popular workout with my athletes!

You'll start with a good warmup before getting in to two tempo efforts of 10 minutes length. At the start of each minute during these 10 minute efforts, you'll sprint all-out for 3 SECONDS without shifting [NB: note that the software will only go down as low as 5 seconds, but 3 seconds is better in this case]. Instead of dropping down to full recovery, you'll continue the rest of the minute at tempo pace.

Recover for 7 minutes before repeating and finally cooling down.

Sample Day 12
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 15
Tempo with hard finish

Tempo is good to work on your aerobic efficiency. You'll do a nice long steady effort for 30 minutes, and finish with one minute hard.
Instead of recovering fully you will do 4x10 sprints before cooling down.

Sample Day 17
Threshold fade intervals-short

After a nice long warmup, you'll get in to a series of threshold efforts. However, instead of starting at a steady effort, you will start with a very short, hard effort before dropping your intensity back down to your threshold zone.

The short effort with increase the prodcution of metabolites, and continuing to work at a relatively hard (but not too hard!) effort will force your body to become more efficient at operating with these present. This is a really good workout, but preferably done only about once every few weeks.

Sample Day 22
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

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.