Cross Country MTB race - Beginner

Average Weekly Training Hours 08:54
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 08:54
Training Load By Week

This is a 10 week, beginner level mountain bike training plan for a cross country mountain bike race of about an hour and a half duration. The training plan is RPE and HR based, but will work with a power meter as well. The workouts are all time based, with an emphasis on quality of workouts over quantity. There is an emphasis on skills and racing etiquette during the weekly rides. The longest endurance ride is two and a half hours, with two interval workouts, one skills based ride, a group or endurance ride and the long rides on Sundays.


Structured Workouts are based off of Threshold HR, all other rides should be focused on either skills, pacing or riding without having to constantly stare at monitors.

Sample Day 1
0:45:00
Cross training

Cross training - some other aerobic activity besides riding. Trail running, swimming or hiking are all good options.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Endurance Ride - skills

Skills are as important for successful mountain bike racing as the workouts. For this ride, the total riding time isn't as important as working on skills and sessioning technical sections of trails. Best done with others - the goal is to challenge yourself and learn while riding. If possible, find a section of trail you can make a short loop out of and practice different lines through the obstacles.

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Core Strengthing

your choice of core activities or flexibility exercises.

Sample Day 3
1:12:00
45TSS
Threshold - 2x8(3)

Warm up for 20-30 minutes on rolling terrain. Make sure to include 2-3 accelerations to prep legs.

Main Workout
2x8 minutes at threshold HR with an RPE of 7. This should feel hard, but sustainable. If using a power meter, the watts should be between 10 watts below to at FTP.
- Try to keep a nice high cadence, above 90 RPM if possible
- recovery between intervals is three minutes, easy pedaling.
- intervals should be done either on a gradual hill or level area with little traffic. Either road or mountain bike is fine.

Cool down as need for remainder of ride. If on mountain bike, try to find some fun singletrack.

Sample Day 4
0:45:00
Cross training

Cross training - some other aerobic activity besides riding. Trail running, swimming or hiking are all good options.

Sample Day 4
1:30:00
Endurance ride

If possible, do this ride in a group. Work on riding in close quarters with others, passing and being passed and communication with other riders in the group. The ride should be fun but still challenging.

Sample Day 6
0:30:00
Core Strengthing

your choice of core activities or flexibility exercises.

Tracy Thelen
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Thelen Coaching

Thelen Coaching offers personalized and individualized coaching for athletes of all levels in cycling, mountain biking, running and triathlons, specializing in trail running, ultras, ultra endurance cycling and 24 hour races.