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Customisable General/Base Phase Plan for MTB XCO/MARATHON (Power-Based): 16 Weeks; 8-14 Hrs/Week
Includes Structured Workouts
Tom BellAll plans by this Coach
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Includes Structured Workouts
A MTB-SPECIFIC PLAN FOR THE GENERAL/BASE PREPARATION PHASE, DESIGNED TO ESTABLISH EXCEPTIONAL FOUNDATIONAL FITNESS DURING THE IMPORTANT EARLY STAGES OF THE TRAINING CYCLE
This MTB plan is designed specifically for both cross-country and marathon athletes. The primary aim of the phase is to establish a sound endurance base, largely gained through prolonged, moderate intensity workouts  whilst also using a significant amount of extensive higher-intensity training to achieve necessary adaptations in aerobic capacity and the fractional utilisation of VO2max at the lactate threshold.
The plan includes a comprehensive 20-page user-guide which contains detailed instructions and tips to help you get the most out of the plan and to allow you to make any adjustments necessary.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GENERAL PHASE/BASE TRAINING
“Base” refers to the underlying idea that there are pre-requisite abilities that should be built before focusing more exclusively on advanced abilities, implying an ordered step-by-step process.
It's an important preparation period, laying a foundation of aerobic fitness for the MTB race-specific abilities to be built on top of, and a widely-accepted and successful approach used by world-class performers across endurance sports . Instead of using confusing terms like Base 1, Base 2, Built 1 etc, we find simplifying training periodisation to a “General Phase” (like this plan), a “Specific Phase” and a “Peak/Taper Phase” helpful and more practical.
Comparisons are often made to building a house - where there is an implicit and practical order in which steps should be taken in order to construct a solid and necessarily tall structure.
COMPOSITION OF THE PLAN
The plan is laid out over a 16-week period, using four mesocycles, each featuring a 3-week ramp in training load, which is then followed up by a week aimed at recovering and adapting to the load. This ramp rate from week to week is "functionally conservative"; enough to result in a meaningful training stress yet gradual enough to avoid 'non-functional overreaching' or overtraining.
In pursuit of greater adaptations, a more fulfilling training experience and to avoid mental and physical burnout, the plan features a large variety of MTB-specific workout designs and intensities, balanced with what's known as a 'polarised training intensity distribution'; a planning and sequencing approach shown in the literature and in our own experience coaching 100s of athletes to be a successful framework for significant fitness improvement for both time-rich and time-crunched athletes .
NOTE: The plan's volume is totally adaptable from the default 7-12 hrs/week, where guidance on doing so is provided in our detailed user guide supplied with each plan.
- Develop greater stamina, fatigue resistance, and time-to-exhaustion;
- Enhance substrate utilisation to improve ability to oxidise more fat at higher intensities, sparing limited glycogen stores;
- Build greater mitochondrial density in skeletal muscle to improve a multitude of endurance-based abilities;
- Improve cycling economy and gross efficiency by enhancing and building greater % of Type I (slow twitch) muscle fibres, delaying the recruitment of less-efficient Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibres.
 Hawley, John A. "State-of-the-art training guidelines for endurance performance." South African Journal of Sports Medicine 2.4 (1995): 7-12.
 Tønnessen, Espen, et al. "The road to gold: training and peaking characteristics in the year prior to a gold medal endurance performance." PloS one 9.7 (2014): e101796.
 Seiler, Stephen, and Espen Tønnessen. "Intervals, thresholds, and long slow distance: the role of intensity and duration in endurance training." Sportscience 13.13 (2009): 32-53.
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|5:35 hrs||2:30 hrs|
|4:51 hrs||4:30 hrs|
Day Off x1
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||5:35 hrs||2:30 hrs|
||4:51 hrs||4:30 hrs|