The Mountain Projects's 30-mile to 50k Mountain Bike Plan
Emily KippAll plans by this Coach
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This 50k-30-mile mountain bike training plan considers having a net gain and loss of 5,000+ vertical feet. It is designed for the intermediate/advanced rider. The plan is a balance between the working man/woman’s life and a semi-professional rider. Aside from recovery weeks, the shortest week has a duration of 5.25-hours. The longest week has a duration of 12-hours. That may be a lot of time for a full-time person working who also, might have a family or other obligations to tend to. So, with this being said, it’s okay to switch days around if you need, take an additional day off, change the workout to your personal time constraints, and so forth. Remember, as long as you’re hitting miles, and more specifically vertical feet goals, you’re going to survive. Also, consistency wins over having one big day at the end of the week. Pedal whenever you can.
This plan is based on Lactate Threshold Heart Rate. Including a heart rate monitor in your training is encouraged, but not necessary. You can also go by rate of perceived exertion (RPE).
Below is a Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (HR) Zone chart. We use these Zones in almost every workout you will do, so you have a precise barometer for the effort level you are trying to achieve. These Zones describe how hard (or easy) you should be pushing yourself in various workouts. If you are new to this type of training, you can use a heart rate monitor during this training to learn and gauge where your zones are. However, if you are a more experienced athlete, or once you learn roughly where your zones are based upon perceived effort level (how you feel when in various zones), you do not need to use a heart rate monitor.
• Zone 1: Very light, easy spinning recovery effort. 40-81% of threshold heart rate (THR). Should almost feel effortless. You should be able to easily carry on a conversation at this effort level. Rate of Perceived Exertion RPE: 1-2.
• Zone 2: Aerobic effort level, light. 81-88% of THR. Still a comfortable all-day pace, with easy consistent breathing. Continuous conversation possible. This is your typical long-slow-distance endurance days. Fatigue level should feel fairly low. RPE: 3-4.
• Zone 3: Moderate-moderately hard effort level. Also, called the TEMPO zone. 89-93% of THR. Requires concentration, and continuous conversation becomes interrupted. Greater muscle fatigue than zone 2. RPE: 5-6
• Zone 4: Hard effort level. Lactate sub-threshold zone. 94-99% of THR. This is where you work hard; muscular, and mental fatigue, alongside heavy labored breathing. Your actual lactate threshold heart rate is simply 100%. RPE: 7-8
• Zone 5A: Super Threshold. 100-102% of THR RPE: 8-9
• Zone 5B: VO2 MAX. Strong to very intense muscle fatigue. Conversation not possible. 103-105% of THR. RPE: 9-10
• Zone 5C: Anaerobic Capacity. Short intervals to increase anaerobic threshold. :30-3:00 intervals. 106-110% of THR. RPE: 9-10
• Zone 6: Neuromuscular adaptation. Anything above. Max effort sprint/power! 8-12-secs RPE: 10+
For the best accuracy, and to find your starting threshold heart rate (THR) zones you can simply do a 45-60-minute all out effort time trial, while wearing a heart rate monitor. Your average heart rate for the bout of exercise IS your Threshold Heart Rate (THR). You can do this on a bike trainer, or outside. Once you have your threshold HR, you’ll be able to calculate your zones. That said, don’t worry about using a HR monitor, unless you want to. You can also simply go off of Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE); how you feel when you are cycling, based upon your breathing, leg fatigue and HR ‘feel’. If you don't use a HR monitor, or GPS watch, that is fine.
The Mountain Project, LLC | www.mountainprojectmt.com
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Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|5:42 hrs||5:00 hrs|
|2:22 hrs||2:30 hrs|
Day Off x2
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||5:42 hrs||5:00 hrs|
||2:22 hrs||2:30 hrs|
Training Load By Week
This plan works best with the following fitness devices:
- Heart Rate Monitor