Cross Country 12 Week Build Plan (Cat 3/Beginner)

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Cross Country 12 Week Build Plan (Cat 3/Beginner)



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12 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Bike, 3 Strength, 1 Other, 1 MTB

Longest Workout

2:30 hrs

Plan Specs

cycling mountain biking beginner power based hr based tss based

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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.

This is a 12 week Build plan for the Cat 3 / Beginner level MTB Cross Country distance athletes. The Build plan includes higher intensity workouts focused on MTB Cross Country distance. Visit the MTBCoach MTB Cross Country Training Plans page for more details.

Start this plan 12 weeks before your goal race.

Plan is designed to start on a Monday with longer workouts on weekends.

The plan focuses on improving vo2max, endurance, and power for XC racing. A core workout three times a week improves balance, handling, endurance and stability. The plans includes device compatible structured cycling workouts. See TrainingPeaks Structured Workout compatibility list for more details.

Workouts are written to use a power meter, a HR monitor or rate of perceived exertion, but using a power meter AND a HR monitor is best for accurate monitoring of progress. The plan includes structured workouts compatible with your smart trainer and device to guide you through workouts in real time.

Visit the MTBCoach Gravel Race Training Plans page for more details.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:15
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:15
Average Weekly Breakdown



Our Services include training plans and coaching for XC, Endurance and Ultra-Endurance MTB, Gravel, Road, Triathlon, and XTERRA events.

Our training plans start at $99 and individual coaching starts at $140. Nutrition Coaching is an extra $50 a month. Sign up for our newsletter and get 25% off any of these plans.

All Coaching services include Nutrition Guides to give you proper fuel for your workouts and recovery. Nutrition Guides can be purchased separately for $20 each.

Sample Day 1


See Core workout on my website.

Sample Day 1

LTHR Field Test

Follow the test at

Sample Day 2

Easy Ride

Can be done on a trainer or Road/MTB.
Spin easy L1 to 2 or Z1 to 2, RPE 1
Keep pressure light on the pedals and stay away from hills or go easy on the hills. cadence should be 90+ RPMs.
A good gage to know you are going easy enough is to breath out of your nose only. If you need to breathe from your mouth you are going to hard.

Sample Day 3


See Core workout on my website.

Sample Day 3

3x8 sweetspot/subthreshold

This can be done on the road or MTB. Best done on the 5-8% grade hills, but can also be done on flat terrain.
Warm up for 10-15 min. spin fast (100+ rpm) 2-3 times to wake up the legs.
Ride 10 min in high L3/Z3 or low L4 or Z4. You don't want to go into L5 or Z5. Keep the pace steady and watch the form, (be stable) Cadence should be around 85-95 RPM. After complete spin easy for 5-10 min. Repeat 4 times.
If time allows continue riding at your own pace.

Sample Day 4

Endurance/All Day Pace - HR Based

This can be on the Road, MTB Bike or trainer. No hard efforts. Focus on holding steady effort and form. This session is HR based. Keep HR in Zone 1-2. It is likely the power will be in a higher zone and that is OK. Just focus on keeping the HR in Z1-2.

Warm up: Zone 1-2 for 10min
Set 1. Ride Z2 with a variety of terrain and cadence that emulates your target event.

If on the trainer shift gears or increase resistance through the session to change the effort. Get out of the saddle periodically to use different muscles
This should be an endurance/add day pace ride.

Cool Down in Z1 for 10 min

Sample Day 5


See Core workout on my website.

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