Cross Country Climbing Training Plan Beginner with Power Meter

Average Weekly Training Hours 06:35
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 06:35
Training Load By Week

This climbing training plan is a 6 week plan with the goal of building your ability to climb long 4-20 minute climbs faster and more effectively. The training plan is for an advanced rider with experience training with a power meter. The plan will start with a Functional Threshold Test(FTP) to establish your training zones for the remainder of the plan. You will be training 4 days a week with one off days every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This plan will incorporate a mix of climbing specific workouts that will build your climbing power, along with longer base maintenance workouts on the weekends to maintain and build your aerobic fitness, and will also have mountain bike specific training rides to transfer your gained speed to the trail.

Although not required, I recommend you have 6-12 weeks of base miles in prior to starting this plan. The Foundation Mountain Bike training plan I have would be a good fit.

Sample Day 2
6 x 90 second TT Prep Intervals

Ride easy for most of the time. Within the workout include 6 x 90 second Zone 4-5 intervals. Build into these slowly. Take 3 minutes recovery between each. These are Time Trial prep intervals: build up to expected pace for the TT on Thursday. Practice you feel you can hold and maintain.
Remainder of ride should be easy-moderate zones 1-2.

Sample Day 4
20 min. Power testing with FTP setup

Power Testing Day 1. Warm up well for 20-30 minutes with 3-4x60 second accelerations to the pace you plan to hold in the 20 minute TT. Take 2-3 minutes rest between the accelerations and 5 minutes rest before starting the Time Trial. Then do a 20 minute TT pacing yourself aiming to start at the same wattage as you end with. Follow this with 10 minutes of easy spinning in Zone 1-2 only. Then perform a 5 minute all out TT. Download the info to Training Peaks and we will see how you did. Be sure to get 20 minutes of Zone 1-2 easy spinning in afterwards as a cool down.
After your TT, you can update your Power Zones by doing the following:
Multiply your 20 min TT average by .95 or 95%. That is your Threshold Power
-Go into your settings in Training Peaks
-Go to Zones
-Scroll down to Power Zones
-Put in your Threshold power
-Choose type: Threshold
-Choose Method: Click the down arrow and Select Andy Coggan (6)
-Select Apply
-Your zones are good to go!

Sample Day 6
Cornering work in the trails

Before the ride, watch this video and focus on the three main points:
1) Looking into the corner
2) Weighting your outside foot
3) Leaning your bike into the corner(he focuses on elbow up/pointing it, I also like to think of pushing down on your inside handlebar!)
Here's the video:
Practice these techniques while riding today. No hard efforts, mainly easy to moderate zones 1-3. As you feel more comfortable, pick up the pace through the corners challenging yourself mentally and physically to corner faster!

Sample Day 7
Max effort last hour: Ride 50% Zone 2 Endurance Ride

Ride Zones 1-2 today. Get 50% or more of the time in Zone 2.
For the last hour of this ride, pick up the pace to a hard sustainable zone 3-4 pace.
This pace should be a pace you can hold for the last hour, but also that will max you out by the end of the ride. You should be fried by the end of this ride!

Sample Day 9
LT Interval 20 min. criss cross with FTP

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 .65-.75 FTP to .95-1.1 FTP every 2 minutes. Finish off with easy spinning in Zone 1 only.

Sample Day 11
4 x 10 min Sub LT Power with cadence changes

Warm up 20-30 minutes easy spinning.
Then perform 4 x 10 minutes at 85-95% FTP. Take 3 minutes rest between efforts.
Intervals 1,3: cadence is 85-95 rpm
Intervals 2,4: cadence is 65-75 rpm
Finish the workout with easy spinning zones 1-2 only.

Sample Day 13
Tempo effort: 40-50 minutes technique/flow work

Warm up 20-30 minutes.
Then do a 40-50 minute steady, tempo zones 3-4 effort. Goal of this is great pedaling technique, ideal gearing, and great flow. Work on adjusting these three parameters. Go by "feel" , HR, and power if you have it. Goal is to generate the most speed/power with the least amount of work/effort/RPE. Don't be as concerned with HR as "effort level and speed/power combined". Goal: less work, more speed with ideal cadence, flow, and pedaling technique.
Finish the remainder of the effort easy to moderate, zones 1-3.

Drew Edsall
| Llc /

My name is Drew Edsall, I am a mountain bike coach and former professional mountain biker. I have had the pleasure of coaching many of the top riders in the World in all age categories including a Pan Am Games Gold Medal Champion in 2016, U23 Silver Medalist both in 2016 and 2017, and multiple National / State Champions / Collegiate Champions. My specialty is mountain bike coaching. You can find more information at either one of my websites: or