Welcome to your training plan for Cross-Country MTB racing! This plan will challenge you and push you to the limit by stressing your aerobic and musclular systems, as well as developing race-specific skills. Your body will adapt and become stronger, faster and more agile for the important race season ahead. Hunter Allen and I have used the latest in power training techniques and race proven methodology to make this plan optimal for your improvement. If you don't have a power meter, that's okay, but seriously consider getting one, as your training will become even more effective. We have built into the plan heart rate, power and also some suggestions for perceived exertion.
Some general items of note:
-MS= Main Set
-BT= Breakthrough Workout- could be a toughie!
-FTP= Functional threshold power - The best avg power you can maintain for 60 minutes, or 20 minutes and minus 5%.
-THR= Threshold Heart Rate - The heart rate that you would avg if you went as hard as you could for an hour.
-If you miss a workout, then you just miss it, and go onto the next one. If the workout is a key workout AND you are not racing on the weekend, then it might make sense to 'catch up' by pushing the workouts forward. If your very tired your power and heart rate may be down as much as 10 % so you will have to push through it sometimes but if you are more than 10% low it is time to pack it in. As Hunter has told me "you have to do the work to make the gains" so go for it even a bad day of intervals will make you faster than a good day of cruising!
-Before starting this plan, you should see a doctor and get clearance to more forward with this workout plan. It is a hard, intense and you are AT YOUR OWN RISK.
-EAT and DRINK before you are hungry and thirsty. If you don't have the energy to do the workouts to the maximum then you will be cheating yourself! Every 30 mins you should ingest 100-150 calories and a bottle an hour minumum
Go for it and give it your best!
Make your day GREAT!
WORKOUT DAY 1-
WU: 10 minutes steady and smooth, getting the legs going.
MS: After you are warmed up, do one 3-minute effort all out to get the carbon out of the legs.Then do 10 x 1-minute fast pedaling drills with 1-minute rest between each.
5 minutes cruise.
Then do 45 minutes at tempo pace, NOT race pace, but a notch below. This should be uncomfortable, but manageable at about 80-90% of your threshold power or 92-96% of your threshold HR. Within these 30 minutes, do 10 bursts to your threshold power and hold there for 20 seconds, then recover to previous pace. If using HR, then the bursts are about 45-50 seconds long, and HR should come up by 4-8 beats.
CD: Cool-down for at least 10 minutes.
Ride on a flat to gently rolling course. Get at least 50% of ride time in 2 zone. Avoid 3-5 zones. Keep the 2-zone effort steady and continuous.
20-30 minute Time Trial Test
Ok, this is where we set a bench mark.
Find a steady 20-min climb for a field test.
If you don't have a 20 min. climb nearby, you can do this on a flat road, or maybe better - scope out a 20 to25-min race lap that is to be used for your "race specific" work later.
It is important that this represenatative of most of your "A" category races. (ie. Mt. Snow is an avg grade of 7% had granny gear pitches mixed surfaces with rough rocks and root on the downhills.)
Don't judge your times too much if the conditions are different. I use a well draining course that doesn't get muddy and is consistant within a few seconds even when it's wet.
WU: Get a thorough warm up and have a backpack with change of clothes and recovery drink just like race day. Warm up should consist of at least 15 mins of riding with at least a 5-min ramp to race pace followed by a few jumps. A pre ride of the course would be good.
MS: Start the time trial!
Practice just like you are doing a time trial. Go out fast, but not faster than you can finish.
Drive it to the finish and sprint to the finish. This will give you a great benchmark time/data to come back to and compare for the future. It also sets the stage for race-specific workouts that will transform your road base into mountain bike form!
Finish with one 15-min effort at Sub Threshold. 90% of LT hr or 85-90% of threshold power.
CD: Do a nice 10-min cool down on the road.
TESTING IS TRAINING AND TRAINING IS TESTING!
Note: if you have a power meter, look at your Normalized Power in your download. How was that compared to your average watts? You might want to use the normalized power number if the terrain was very hilly. What about your heart rate? Did your HR plateau nicely or drop toward the end*? *Often indicates going out too hard.
1.5 hours and just riding.
Try for 3 x 10 minutes at sub- threshold 88-93% of threshold watts(93-97% of threshold HR) and push those.
Make it a steady and relatively flat route, so you have to push the whole time. Rest for 5 minutes between each.
Then , 15 minutes of cruising at endurance, and then do two 3-minute efforts at VO2 max-110-120% of FTP or >106% of threshold HR.
REST for 3 minutes between each.
Generally ride in the endurance/Tempo pace and have fun heading home and getting in 2 hours.. Getting in the time!
MS:Ride endurance pace for 1 hour, THEN ride mostly in 60-80% of FTP, 70-85% of threshold HR. Can be done on a rolling course with peaks near your threshold power. In/out of saddle on hills. Off-road, if possible. Make the middle part of this ride like the middle of the race; you’re just below the limit (sub- threshold) saving energy. IF you want, you can break it down into two 45-min blocks will allow you to put on a solid race-feeling workout without overdoing it!
CD: 10 minutes, and then Get a recovery drink and antioxidants!
This is an awesome workout to help teach your muscles how to change speeds and improve their ability to contact and relax.
WU: 15 to 20-minute warm-up,
MS: 3 blocks of 10 minutes each.
Each block is 15 seconds ON - go 150% of FTP watts, and then 15 seconds is OFF.
(If using HR, this is a hard workout to do correctly, but basically do an 80% sprint for 15 seconds, then pedal easy for 15 seconds.)
Repeat continually for 10 minutes. Then 5 minutes of EASY spinning , and then next block.
CD: Cool-down for 15-20 minutes afterward.
If your power drops, skip one "on" cycle or make the total interval a little shorter, but keep the total work time the same.
The rest of the ride is at tempo and endurance. Have fun! Work on your skills!
BT: Warm-up well. Then from a full stop, go max effort for 1 minute before settling in at heart rate 4-5a zones for 10 minutes. Spin 10 minutes for recovery/light endurace. Then repeat. Give it your best for 2 repeats. Can be done on gentle trail or less technical single track mostly pedaling no major downhills. This workout teaches you to clear the massive amount of lactate that builds up just after the start of a race. Ride at tempo pace (80-90% of FTP watts, or 88-84% of THR) for 20 minutes. Do at least 3 x 1 minute fast pedals(over 110 rpm) with 1 minute recovery as well.