Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 11:06
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 11:06
Training Load By Week

Our tried and tested LW Coaching cross-country mountain bike build, peak and race training plan has been updated with TrainingPeaks structured workouts including daily power (watts), TSS and IF guidelines.

This twelve week Build, Peak and Race Training Plan is designed for Category 1 Class racers serious about taking their performance to the next level and standing on top of the podium. This is an intensive and challenging plan that assumes you have a serious commitment to racing and have podium goals. Ideally, prior to starting this plan you should have completed the LW Coaching 12-week Category 1 Base Training Plan. If not, you ideally have at least 8 weeks aerobic of base training done and have completed several tempo sessions.

This Category 1 Build, Peak and Race 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.

The plan is designed to put the top end power onto your aerobic and threshold base. This is the type of training that takes you from being fit to being fast. You will be riding six times per week. This plan requires a high level of commitment to daily consistency and requires you to dig deep when it counts. High intensity training involves a careful progression of VO2max hill intervals, short-track practice, micro intervals, race start practice and training races. Weeks 1-3, 5-7 and 9 have an option for a “C” priority training race or workout. Week 10 is a “B” priority race week. Your performance will peak in weeks 11 and 12 for your most important “A” races of the season. These are the weeks you will see a breakthrough in your performance level. Schedule this training plan to end on the day of your highest priority race. Weekly hours on the plan range from 9:40 in recovery weeks to 13:25.

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.

LW Coaching mountain bike training plan


Sample Day 1
1:00:00
DAY #1 Core stability and Strength

DAY #1: Do 30 mins of core training with a variety of exercises for your hip, abdominal and lower back muscles. Examples are bridging, pillar exercises, crunches, back extensions, Pilates. Vary your chosen exercises and routine each time you do it. Variety is a key component to a strong core training routine.


Here are exercise suggestions: https://lwcoaching.com/core-strength-for-mountain-bikers/

Here is a 30 min core and stretch routine suggestion: https://lwcoaching.com/30-min-core-stretch-routine-mountain-bike-racers/

Then do these Stability Exercises for Cyclists: https://lwcoaching.com/stability-exercises-for-cyclists/

These exercises will make you a stronger and more resilient mountain bike racer.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
36.2TSS
DAY # 2 Pedaling Skills & Power Sprints (structured)

DAY #2: Warm up for 15 minutes with easy spinning in power L1 or HRZ1.

Max Cadence Set: 4 X 1 minutes as 10 seconds max cadence in a very easy gear and 50 seconds easy spin recovery. Heart rate stays less than zone 2 and power level 2 and below.

Power Sprint Set: 4 X 10 sec power sprints. Every three minutes shift into a big gear stand and accelerate to 120 rpm over 10 seconds. Easy spin 2:50 spin between each sprint. The goal is to acheive maximal effort - not mash gears. Experiment with different gears to find the best combination for fast acceleration and top end speed.

Spin-Up Set: 4 X 2 minutes as 1 minute high cadence, 1 minute easy spin. Heart rate stays less than zone 2 and power level is 2 and below.

One Leg Pedaling Set: 4 X 2 minutes as 30 seconds right leg only at 70-80 rpm, 30 seconds left leg only at 70-80 rpm, 1 minute both legs at 95+ rpm. Heart rate stays zone 2 and below. Power level 2 and below.

5 minute easy cool down.

Review this Training Intensity Guidelines Doc: https://lwcoaching.com/training-intensity-guidelines/ to be sure you are training at the correct intensity. Tomorrow you will set training power levels and heart rate training zones with a field test.

Sample Day 2
0:10:00
DAY #2 Post Ride Foam Roll and Stretch

DAY #2: After riding today use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out your tight areas.

Sample Day 3
1:30:00
86TSS
DAY #3 Power and HR Performance 20 min Field Test

DAY #3: Heart rate, Power and Performance Field Test. If you are continuing on from the LW Coaching Category 1 Base Training Plan then you did this test last week. There is no need to repeat it this week. Instead do the below workout - do not do both of these workouts today, choose one! If you are new to LWCoaching training plans, do the test today to set your heart rate training zones, power levels and performance benchmark.

Heart rate, Power and Performance Field Test. This test is to set your power (watts) training levels and heart rate training zones. It is also used to establish a performance benchmark to compare and track your progress. You will repeat this test in week 4 and 8 of the plan.

Prior to conducting this test review the Testing Guidelines doc found at this link: http://lwcoaching.com/?p=138

Warm-up:
Gradually ramp up power and HR over the first 20 mins to power L3 (83% FTP) or HRZ3. Then do 1 x 1 min at power L4 (98% FTP) and 1 x 1 min at power L5 (114% FTP) with 3 mins easy (<55% FTP) after each. If pacing by HR aim to end these 1 min efforts in HRZ4 and HRZ5.

Main Set: 20 min field test.

Time trial 20 minutes on a flat out-back course or up a continuous gradual climb. Pace the 20 minutes evenly with a maximal effort. i.e. go as fast as you can for 20 minutes without blowing up and stopping or slowing down significantly before the end of the 20 min test. Record average heart rate, average power and distance covered in the 20 minutes.

Cool down: Finish ride time with long easy cool down.

CALCULATING YOUR HEART RATE ZONES: Use the TrainingPeaks training zones calculator found in the SETTINGS > ZONES tab as follows:

1. In TrainingPeaks open your athlete account setting page and select Zones (click on your name > settings > zones).

2. Enter the average heart rate from your 20-minute test into the Threshold Heart Rate box.

3. Choose type “Lactate Threshold” from the drop-down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method “Joe Friel for Cycling” in the drop-down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate > Apply > Save.

CALCULATING YOUR POWER LEVELS: Use the TrainingPeaks training zones calculator found in the SETTINGS > ZONES tab as follows:

1. In TrainingPeaks open your athlete account setting page and select Zones (click on your name > settings > zones).

2. Enter the average power from your 20-minute test x 0.95 into the Threshold Power box. For example if your average 20 min power is 200w, enter 190w into the threshold power box (200w x 0.95 = 190w).

3. Choose type “Threshold Power” from the drop-down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method “Andy Coggan” in the drop-down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate > Apply > Save.

Sample Day 3
1:30:00
100.6TSS
L5 4 x 4 hill intervals (structured)

DAY #3: Miss out this session if you do the 20 min test today.

Warm-up:
Gradually ramp up power and HR to power L4 (98% FTP) or HRZ4. Then do 3 mins recovery, 1 min hard effort at power L5 (114% FTP) with 3 mins easy (<55% FTP) after. If pacing by HR aim to end this 1 min effort in HRZ5.

Main set:
Ride uphill 4 x 4 minutes at power Level 5 or in heart rate zone 5 with 3 minute recoveries in heart rate Z1 or power L1 after each interval.

Cool down:
Finish the ride in heart rate Z1 or Power L1.

Immediately on ending this ride replenish your muscle glycogen stores with a recovery drink containing both carbohydrate and protein such as Carborocket Rehab, Ultragen or Recoverite or eat real food. Fast recovery after today's session is crucial to be able to put out a quality session tomorrow.

Read this Recovery Strategies Doc for more tools and tips to speed recovery https://lwcoaching.com/tools-to-speed-recovery/ Use every recovery method available to you.

Sample Day 3
0:35:00
DAY #3 Strength

DAY #3: 5 minute aerobic warm up. 10-15 push-ups, 5 minutes of a variety of abs and back, 10-15 pull-ups or rows, 5 minutes of abs and back, 5 minutes stretching hips and legs. Repeat two times.

Follow this link for exercise suggestions https://lwcoaching.com/core-strength-for-mountain-bikers/

Sample Day 4
0:10:00
DAY #4 Post Ride Foam Roll and Stretch

DAY #4: After riding today use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out your hot spots.

Lynda Wallenfels
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LW Coaching

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

Browse our LWCoaching.com website and give our LW Coaching mountain bike training plan finder App a try https://lwcoaching.com/mtb-training-plans/planfinder/ to see which mountain bike training plan stack fits your goals.

Personal coaching, pre-built mountain bike training plans, telephone consultations. See www.lwcoaching.com or contact lynda@lwcoaching.com