Category 1 TIME CRUNCHED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 09:58
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 09:58
Training Load By Week

The TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Base Training Plan can be followed with a heart rate monitor only or with both a heart rate monitor and power meter. When given the choice use power guidelines in preference to heart rate guidelines. This works for athletes with power monitoring ability on some but not all of their bikes.

Are you trying to have a real life and race your best? Do you have other time commitments (demanding jobs, school, kids, other extracurriculars/interests) preventing you from putting in the massive hours usually required in most training plans? This training plan maximizes the time a busy person *does* have. You know, kinda like - train smarter, not harder.

This is not the quick & easy way to suddenly be a Category 1 Expert mtn biker, but a time efficient training plan maximizing workout time for busy folks who want to set their own personal records - which may or may not include a podium finish.

Most weekday workouts have two or more options to help you work the sessions into your busy life and tips on whether to move the workout to another day or just miss it out. Optional extra point bonus workouts are included in the plan for you to take advantage of when you have unexpected free time and each Friday has a bike commute option to take advantage of casual Friday's. The longest ride of the week is at the weekend.

Weekly training hours average around 6-8 hours with 1-2 extra bonus workouts per week on top of that available for you if you have the time and energy.

When you have completed this plan you can progress on to the 12 week LW Coaching TIME CRUNCHED Cross Country Build, Peak and Race plan. Schedule this second plan to finish on the date of your most important race.

Visit the 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.

Sample Day 1
DAY #1 Stability Exercises for Cyclists

DAY #1: Today's exercises are early season pre-hab work to counter and prevent strength imbalances caused by cycling that lead to niggly overuse injuries. This workout is preventative maintenance.

Do the recommended exercises and repeats at this link Stability Exercises for Cyclists: If you are crunched for time today split this up into 2 or 3 ten minute sessions where you can fit them into your day. Any little bit you get done will be great for your body.

Sample Day 2
DAY #2 Pedaling Skill Improvement

DAY #2 Pedaling Skill Improvement Day.

Do the below trainer ride with your bike on an indoor trainer OR take a 60 minute spin class and focus on pedaling smoothly and efficiently OR go for a 60 minute technical mountain bike ride.

Trainer workout description: Warm up for 5 minutes with easy spinning.

Max Cadence Set: 10 X 1 minutes as 10 seconds max cadence and 50 seconds easy spin recovery. Heart rate stays zone 2 and below, power stays in level 2 and below (see Saturday for heart rate zone and power level information).

Spin-Up Set: 8 X 2 minutes as 1 minute high cadence, 1 minute easy spin. Heart rate stays zone 2 and below, power stays in level 2 and below.

One Leg Pedaling Set: 8 X 3 minutes as 1 minute right leg only at 60 rpm, 1 minute left leg only at 60 rpm, 1 minute both legs at 95 rpm. Heart rate stays zone 2 and below, power stays in level 2 and below.

5 minutes easy cool down.

Sample Day 3
DAY #3 Strength Training

DAY #3: Strength training. Do a variety of exercises for your hip, abdominal and lower back muscles. Examples are bridging, pillar exercises, crunches, back extensions, Pilates.

Follow this link for exercise suggestions:

Core Training for Mountain Bikers:

Sample Day 3
DAY #3 Optional Post Strength Training Spin

DAY #3: Ride easy for 30 minutes. This ride is an optional extra bonus session. You are only allowed to do this ride today if your fridge is full of groceries, you can log 8 hours of sleep tonight and you have given the attention to your loved ones you need. You can split this 30 minute session up as 15 mins before core work and 15 mins after core work. Cross training with the eliptical, a swim, row, run, boxing class etc is super also. If you can, do this with a loved one to combine social and workout time. Maximize your time. Be creative. Make it fun.

Sample Day 4
DAY #4 Optional Pedaling Skills

DAY #4: This is an optional extra ride for super bonus pat-on-the-back points :-) If you are crazy busy and running around all day, take the day off from riding or exercising. If you can ride but are crunched for time today, slash the warm-up and cool-down in half and complete half the number repeats in each set. If you have all of your chores taken care of, have time to get a healthy dinner and sleep 8 hours tonight then you can do the full workout as follows. Warm up 15 mins in heart rate zones 1-2 or power level 1-2. Then pedal 30 seconds left leg only, 30 seconds right leg only (opposite foot unclipped), then increase rpm by 5 and spin for 1 min with both legs. Above equals one set. Increase cadence slightly every set. Do 7-10 sets with 2-3 minutes recovery between each set. Work to eliminate the dead spot in your pedal stroke. This is a technique focused workout. Heart rate stays zones 1-2 or power stays level 1-2 for the entire duration of this workout.

Sample Day 5
DAY #5 Endurance Spinning

DAY #5: Spin with an easy effort at the high end of your comfortable range in the small chain ring in the 1-2 heart rate zones or power level 1-2 (see Saturday for heart rate zone and power level information). Allow your feet and legs to relax while spinning. Note and record your average cadence for the ride when done.

Casual Friday Option You can split this ride up into an a.m and p.m. session today if you like and commute to work on your bike. If you don't have time to bike commute or ride today, do the most time efficient exercise available to you for 30 minutes at a happy feel good cruise along aerobic pace.

Sample Day 6
DAY #6 Post Ride Foam Roll and Stretch

After your time trial field test ride today use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out your hot spots.

Lynda Wallenfels
LW Coaching

Mountain Bike Coaching, Consulting and Mountain Bike Training Plans. We are mountain bikers and specialize in mountain biking.

Browse our website and give our LW Coaching mountain bike training plan finder App a try to see which mountain bike training plan stack fits your goals.

Personal coaching, pre-built mountain bike training plans, telephone consultations. See or contact