Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Lynda WallenfelsAll plans by this Coach
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Our tried and tested LW Coaching cross-country mountain bike base training plan has been updated with TrainingPeaks structured workouts to make the most of both indoor and outdoor riding opportunities. For outdoor training, power (watts), TSS and IF targets can be downloaded to your Garmin. For indoor training, download your plan to your favorite Smart Trainer app such as Zwift, Rouvy or Trainer Road.
This plan is paced by power (watts), heart rate and perceived exertion. At a minimum, a heart rate monitor is recommended to follow this training plan. A power meter and smart trainer are optional (and highly advantageous) extras. A power meter or smart trainer is not required to successfully follow this training plan.
This twelve week Base training plan is designed for Category 1 Class racers serious about taking their performance to the next level. It is the ideal plan to build a base prior to our cross-country build, peak and race plan or any of our endurance race plans. This is an intensive and challenging plan that assumes you have a serious commitment to racing and have podium goals. Prior to starting this plan you should have at least one year of racing under your belt, have been riding 4+ times per week recently and have been doing a full body, general strength training routine. You should be confident riding fast on single-track and versed in race tactics.
The plan is designed to give you a solid base and threshold fitness over 12 weeks. You will be riding 5-6 times per week. In addition to riding, you will be strength training, core training, doing yoga, stretching and stability sessions. Weeks 9-11 have an option to do a low priority, early season race on the weekend.
Training intensity is monitored using heart rate, power/watts (optional) and perceived exertion. A heart rate monitor is required for this plan. A power meter is an optional advantage. In week 1 you will set heart rate zones, power training levels (if you have power available) and a performance benchmark with a field test. This test is repeated in weeks 4, 8 and 12 to track performance improvements, power increases and check your training zones are accurate.
The plan begins with a skills and endurance focus. Next, on-the-bike strength is emphasized with low cadence hill climbs and then threshold work is introduced. At the end of the 12 weeks your aerobic endurance, strength, pedaling skills and threshold will have markedly improved. Endurance will be emphasized on weekends, with the long ride peaking at four hours. Monday is the recovery and non-ride day each week. Every fourth week on the plan is a recovery and testing week. Weekly riding hours on the plan range from 6:30 in recovery weeks to 15:30 in week 11.
Visit our LW Coaching website to ask training plan questions on our forum, read mountain bike specific training articles, learn new workouts and see what events our coaches and athletes have been racing.
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|9:50 hrs||4:00 hrs|
|3:30 hrs||1:00 hrs|
|0:28 hrs||0:10 hrs|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||9:50 hrs||4:00 hrs|
||3:30 hrs||1:00 hrs|
||0:28 hrs||0:10 hrs|
Training Load By Week
This plan works best with the following fitness devices:
- Power Meter
- Heart Rate Monitor