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Lactate Threshold/FTP Increase Plan for MTB XCO/MARATHON (Power-Based): 8-Week; 7-12 Hrs/Week

Includes Structured Workouts

Structured Workouts automatically sync with compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time.


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Author

Tom Bell

All plans by this Coach
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Length

8 Weeks

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This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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Includes Structured Workouts

Structured Workouts automatically sync with compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time.


Learn More about Structured Workouts.

Plan Description

A MTB-SPECIFIC PROGRAM TO IMPROVE POWER AT LACTATE THRESHOLD, DEVELOP GREATER CYCLING ECONOMY AND INCREASE FRACTIONAL UTILISATION OF VO2MAX


This MTB plan is designed specifically for cross-country and marathon athletes to improve power at the lactate threshold, where a higher threshold power (and especially one occurring at a higher % of VO2max) is one of the key markers of success in both disciplines [1].

THE IMPORTANCE OF A HIGH LACTATE THRESHOLD


The lactate threshold and Maximum Lactate Steady State (MLSS) is the highest power output you can produce without continually accumulating lactate over time. This threshold or turnpoint thus represents a limit to high sustainable power production, so raising it is enormously advantageous for the competitive MTBer's performance, both during steep climbing and over the entire race duration [2].

The lactate threshold is also linked closely with your VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity). Your VO2max represents the ultimate "ceiling" for how high threshold power can go, and like lactate threshold, is also critical to high MTB performance [3].

In experienced athletes with longer training histories, improving the VO2max can often be more challenging than raising lactate threshold [4], so this particular MTB program, whilst focusing on raising both concurrently, uses training methods shown to stimulate the largest improvements in threshold power, which is where the greatest potential for fitness improvement in more advanced athletes resides.

COMPOSITION OF THE PLAN


The plan is laid out over the 8 weeks using two distinct 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 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 cyclists [5].

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.


PLAN OBJECTIVES



  • Develop threshold power and time-to-exhaustion over duration of the plan
  • Concurrently build and maintain cycling economy/efficiency
  • Provide additional improvement in VO2max (aerobic capacity)


REFERENCES


[1] Bejder, Jacob, et al. "Physiological determinants of elite mountain bike cross-country Olympic performance." Journal of sports sciences 37.10 (2019): 1154-1161.

[2] Novak, Andrew R., et al. "A multidimensional approach to performance prediction in Olympic distance cross-country mountain bikers." Journal of sports sciences 36.1 (2018): 71-78.

[3] Abbiss, Chris R., et al. "The distribution of pace adopted by cyclists during a cross-country mountain bike World Championships." Journal of Sports Sciences 31.7 (2013): 787-794.

[4] Impellizzeri, Franco M., and Samuele M. Marcora. "The physiology of mountain biking." Sports medicine 37.1 (2007): 59-71.

[5] Neal, Craig M., et al. "Six weeks of a polarized training-intensity distribution leads to greater physiological and performance adaptations than a threshold model in trained cyclists." Journal of applied physiology 114.4 (2012): 461-471.



Training Plan Sample Week

Stats

Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Bike x4
4:59 hrs 1:45 hrs
MTB x2
5:03 hrs 3:30 hrs
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
Bike
4:59 hrs 1:45 hrs
MTB
5:03 hrs 3:30 hrs
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week


Tom Bell

High North Performance

High North Performance is a cycling training and metabolic testing consultancy based in Harrogate, UK. We provide customised training programs and performance diagnostic services to professional and amateur athletes using both established and novel training methods, leading testing and analysis technology, as well as a scientific and strategic approach to planning and preparation.

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