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Cross Country Build (Beginner/Cat 3)


Drew Edsall

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8 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling mountain biking

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Plan Description

This mountain bike training plan is designed for a Beginner or Cat 3 mountain biker. This training plan is both heart rate and/or power compatible. You can use either method.

If you are using a power meter, you will be both tested at the beginning of the program to set up your training zones/levels, and also 6 weeks into the program to measure your progress and set up your zones based off your improvements.

This is a great training plan to start 4-8 weeks before your first race of the season.

This 2 month mountain bike training plan will build your high end, or race fitness. This will better prepare you for your race season. The focus of this training plan includes increases in your VO2max, nueromuscular power, and threshold. In addition to this there are strategically placed workouts meant to maintain your aerobic power built up prior to this.

You will need access to a heart rate monitor and/or power meter and will need to know how to use it. You can do the training on a road or mountain bike. You will receive an introductory power document that will help you train better with your power meter with this training plan.

With this program you will also receive nutritional information, a detailed description of heart rate zones, and a start-up guide that introduces you to interval training.

Expect the following from this plan:

*8-11 hours of riding per week
*5 days of riding per week(Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)
*2 off days per week(Monday and Friday)
*All rides that are longer than 2 hours will be scheduled on weekends
*Rides during the week range from 60-90 minutes
*Clear and precise instructions on how to execute each workout
*You will establish your Heart Rate Zones within the first week of training(details within the start up guide included with purchase)


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:57 hrs 3:30 hrs
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Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:57 hrs 3:30 hrs
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Drew Edsall


Mountain Bike Coaching and Training Plans. My name is Drew Edsall, I am a mountain bike head coach with and also a former professional mountain biker. At Mtbfitness we work with all mountain bike athletes and specialize in mountain bike one on one coaching, and mountain bike specific training plans.

Sample Day 1

Easy ride

Today is an easy ride. Do not over do it! Tomorrow will be tough, and this ride will make sure you are prepared for the hard ride tomorrow. RPE for this ride should be a 3-4 out of 10(see attachment with start up for basics on RPE).

Sample Day 2

30 minute LT bike test

BT: Warm up with 20 minutes of easy to moderate spinning. Then ride a 30 minute time trial on flat course. Punch HR monitor 'lap' button 10 minutes into Time Trial. Average heart rate for last 20 minutes predicts Lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). Follow the instructions in the attachment that came with your program purchase for details on what to do with this number.

Sample Day 3

Easy ride with 90% one legged drills

Ride Zones 1-2 only today. Within the ride include 20 minutes of one legged work, where one leg does 90% of the work while the other leg "loafs". While perfoming this drill, attempt to push your toes to the front of your shoe at the top of the pedal stroke, and scrape dirt off your shoes at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Attempt to eliminate all dead spots and become more efficient!

Sample Day 5

2 min intervals: 4-6 repeats HR or Power

Warm up 30 minutes. During this warm up include 4 x 60 second accelerations to expected pace for your 2 minute efforts.
Then perform 4-6 x 2 minutes at Zone 5. If using power go specifically by 120-140% FTP. Use either a combination of HR and RPE(how you feel), or power, HR, and RPE. Very important you go by feel for these as your HR most likely will not reach it's max in 2 minutes! If you don't have power, try to pick a section of road or a short climb for these. Mark a point that you think you can hit every 2 minutes and equals a max effort for that time frame. Hit that point every time in 2 minutes and you are spot on!
If you have anything left after 6 of these, do one more maximal effort with whatever you have left. Today's workout is a maximal day, so leave nothing left.
Take a full 4 minutes rest between these efforts. This is extremely important, so do your best to take the entire break.
After the intervals, spin easy zones 1-2 for the remainder of time.

Sample Day 6

Easy mtn bike "flowing"

Ride Zones 1-3 off road. During this ride focus on "flowing" through the trails. Look ahead and into the trail, brake before/after and not into the turns, and think/plan ahead.

Sample Day 8

LT Interval 20 min. criss cross

Warm up well with 20-30 minutes of spinning and 3-4 x 60-90 second accelerations to Zones 4-5. Follow this with 1 x 20 minute intervals building up to Zones 3-4. Within the 20 min interval criss cross from Zone 3 to Zone 4 every 2 minutes(i.e. start the interval aiming for zone 3 and hold for 2 minutes, then switch to aiming for zone 4 for two minutes, repeat throughout the entire 20 minute interval). Finish off with easy spinning in Zone 1 only.

Sample Day 9

Zone 1 or less recovery ride

Very easy spin in Zones 1 or less. If you feel like you are spinning too hard, then you most likely are. This is a very eas recovery ride.

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