Our free mountain bike coaching day was Oct 9th
Questions came in fast and furious. It was a busy day setting mountain bike racers up on winter mountain bike training plans and planning out 2015 mountain bike training schedules. I do enjoy this one free mountain bike coaching day per month. It is a blast of connecting with many different athletes. I usually work one-on-one with individuals in the coaching setting – which I love a lot, but once per month my free mountain bike coaching day feels like a MTB party where we talk about nothing but mountain bikes. Fun times!!
Ross Douglas : 44-year-old who has not done XC races in a few years, but wants to get back started and will be doing some endurance (3 hr) races as well. What plan is best for me? There seems to be one for each, but not a general one. XC race goals are to place well, endurance races are for personal best. Recommendations?
Coach Lynda: Ross, Ross, Start with the Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan and then follow it up with the Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan. These plans are good to train for races up to 3 hours. A great sequence is to add on the Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan after the above two plans and enter a longer race towards the end of the season.
Jason Aytes: Thanks for this free mountain bike coaching day again! Will you explain the difference (pros and cons) of doing high intensity intervals with equal rest VS. doing high intensity intervals with full recovery? For example 3 mins on 3 mins off VS. 3 min on 6+ mins off. The studies I have been reading on HIT training typically prescribes a longer recovery period between intervals than traditional VO2 intervals where an athlete would use a 1:1 ratio for work and recovery.
Coach Lynda: Incomplete rest results in higher oxygen consumption rates and levels of lactate production. During an interval session at VO2max intensity you ramp up to VO2max faster on each subsequent interval with incomplete rest (1:1, work:rest) leading to more time at VO2max during a workout than with full rest (5-6 mins). Full rest lowers fatigue and perceived exertion but does not increase duration at VO2max in a training session. Google the scientist Veronique Billat for many studies demonstrating this.
Laurie Horton: 52 years old been building my endurance a lot lately and done few endurance races where been riding for 9 to 9.5 hours. Want to keep endurance up and build strength on climbs not sure what training plan should follow
Coach Lynda: Do you have specific races and goals you are targeting? What and when are they? What was your best achievement this season? Tell me more about yourself so I can recommend the best fit training plans for you.
Laurie Horton: Plan on doing mostly endurance racing this year with biggest being PCP2P . Best achievement this year was WrightWood 50, fully self-supported (no aid station no marked course) 50 miles over 10,000 feet climbing in 9.5 hours
Coach Lynda: To really build strength on climbs and endurance up to the next level it is best to separate them and work on them individually each for a training block then bring it back together and work on them both to peak for an event like PCP2P. This is a training plan stack that will achieve that:
- Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
- Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan
- Masters 40+ MTB 100 Mile Personal Record Training Plan
Chris Plesko: What is the best way to handle rare long weekends when on a training plan? If I have a 3 or 4 day MTB getaway option, how do I best utilize it? For example during the week it’s hard to always hit my tech rides on as hard of trails as I’d like so I don’t want to go to Moab and do 3 hour zone 3 dirt road.
Coach Lynda: It is ok to move around the training days within a week to fit your schedule. There is no generic template of the best way to handle a long weekend. It depends on your training block goals and what week you are in. Generally it is ok to move around the training days within a week to fit your schedule.
Jay Kwan: Yes thank you for this, and your mtb radio show. In an athlete/coach relationship, what type of questions do you get from your athletes? As a coach what do you want to know from the athlete?
Coach Lynda: Athletes have all sorts of questions for me as you can see by the discussion today. Athletic history, current status, achievements and future goals are the basic questions I use to learn about athletes I work with.
Samantha Welter: This year I trained for a half marathon Jan-Apr and during the same time frame did a base training plan for the bike. Followed your SS build, train, race plan after that and won the Cat 2 Missouri State Championship in mid June. After that I was completely wiped out for about 2 months, though I catted up and just played around with a few races. Anyways I’m shooting for a Nationals podium on the SS this year, but I also want to incorporate another winter half marathon for cross training. Should I race an earlier half and recover before building or go straight from half training to mtb training like last year?
Coach Lynda: Samantha, I recommend racing an earlier half and recovering before building.
Heidi Volpe: Hi Lynda thanks for doing this free mountain bike coaching! How long of a break do you recommend if you’ve had an endurance season with mostly SS? And in the “off-season” is it better to avoid longer rides, do something different like strength training, swimming…..knitting?
Coach Lynda: Heidi, Break length and depth really depends on how fatigued you came off the season. At a minimum, I recommend putting the SS bike down for 2 weeks and resting with easy geared riding or 2 weeks off. When to get started again, what to do now, and what to do next? That all depends on looking forward and planning out what goals you want to smash next!
Bill Baker: Hey Lynda, thanks for posting this free mountain bike coaching. Plan on racing us cup in early march and then focus on endurance races after the series is done in June. Whats a typical off-season schedule? I know everyone is different but in general whats the longest time you should take off or go easy before losing fitness in the off-season?
Coach Lynda: Bill, So long as you are healthy with no injuries, 1-2 weeks is the recommended down time. To be in peak cross-country form in early March for the US Cup races, now is the time to start Base training. Follow a Base training plan Oct/Nov/Dec and a Build Peaks and race plan Jan/Feb/March. After your early season cross-country racing, take a deep recovery week and start back up on an endurance training plan focused on the distance of your next goal.
- Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
- Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
- 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
Daniel Kaplan: I will be racing Leadville for the first time in August, 2015. My primary goal is to complete the race within the 12 hr limit, but I’d hope to do a bit better than that, I think 10 hr is realistic. This will be my first 100 mi MTB race, though I have completed an 8 hr race. Which of your training plans do you recommend for preparation? Also, any specific thoughts on altitude tents to prepare for the high elevation?
Coach Lynda: Daniel, congrats on getting a slot for Leadville. That is great you have so much time to prepare for it. What is your age and current racing category?
Jill Wiest: Did the Transylvania Epic (TSE) 7 day Mtn bike stage race in 2011 after 10ish years of cross-country racing and some 24 hr team races. Am thinking of doing a 100 mile mountain bike race in summer 2015. Is a twelve week training plan enough to prepare or is a winter training plan also in order. Did the winter plan AND a twelve week plan for the TSE, but it seems like overkill for a mtn 100.
Coach Lynda: I highly recommend following a Base training plan first and then the 100 miler plan such as this training plan stack.
- Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
- 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
Mike Tsoi: I’m 45 years old and race endurance mtb races (60 miles, about 2 races a year), road/gravel races (60 miles to 130 miles, about 2 races/events a year) and cyclocross (about 8 races a season). I typically finish in the bottom half of the field. I work full-time and have young kids so my training varies from 4 to 7 hours a week. I typically do two trainer workouts during the week (tempo intervals and threshold intervals during CX season) and a 3 hour and 1.5 hour ride on the weekends. Do you have any recommendations on maximizing my workouts?
Coach Lynda: Mike, Have a look at one of my free 2 week mountain bike training plan previews from one of my TIME-Crunched series training plans for some time-efficient training ideas. Cutting out the junk miles, shortening warm-up and cool-down times and taking passive rest days instead of recovery ride days are the first ways to time-crunch your training. Train with a purpose and goal for each workout to maximize the time you do have. Very time-crunched athletes often do not need rest weeks so you can roll on week to week with your progression without a step back rest week.
Lisa Ropke Randall: Hi Lynda – my goal race next year is Marathon Nationals, which is now scheduled for May 2. There is a 65 mile MTB race the weekend before…about 5 hrs in length. Would doing the 65 miler the week before Marathon Natz be ill-advised? If so, what would I want to do workout-wise that weekend before?
Coach Lynda: Lisa, Racing 65 miles the week before marathon Nationals will make you slow at marathon nationals. If you are rested a cross-country race will fit nicely the week before. If you are tired then your time will be best spent unloading fatigue to freshen up for Natz.
Josh Van Jura: Lynda, what is a good taper plan, time and activity, going into a long race (12hr plus to AZT)
Coach Lynda: 2-3 weeks.
Scott Poquette: Hi Lynda, What do you recommend for a warm up prior to a cold weather race? For the Iceman race here in MI it is usually below freezing at the start of the race and there are so many people in line you stand idle for 15+ minutes waiting to start. Any suggestions? Fatbike racing is also becoming popular here. Thank you!
Coach Lynda: Scott, 5-10 mins of easy HRZ1 spinning, 5 mins of HRZ2, 5 mins of HRZ3, 5 mins HRZ1, 1 x 1 min gradually building to HRZ4 by the end of the minute, 3 mins HRZ1, 1 x 1 min gradually building to HRZ5 by the end of the minute, 1 min HRZ1. Then change into dry clothes and go to the start-line and stay as warm as you can before the gun goes off.
Cynthia Graham-Taff: Hi Lynda. I have started training with power vs HR and am not clear on how to interpret. I can ride at the recommended power level and my heart rate will never reach the same zone; it is always lower. And that concerns me about the intensity of my training. Should I set my power levels from max actual, NP, or 3 second average from field test to achieve an accurate FTP?
Coach Lynda: Cynthia, power and heart rate do not track in a linear manner. They will not always, or even often, line up identically. This is due to the many variables that influence heart rate (heat, excitement, fatigue, caffeine, time of day, altitude etc). When you have both watts and HR on board, follow the power levels and observe what heart rate does. Set your power training levels using your average 20 min power from a maximum effort 20 minute time trial then plug that average 20 minute power number into my LW Coaching power training level calculator to generate your power training levels.
Cor Ruiten: I am currently in week 3 of your Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan and my question is for March of 2015 when I will be finishing your Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race right as the Kenda Cup West race series starts. Should I just repeat the Build Peak and Race plan during the span of the Kenda Cup West series which lasts from March until June?
Coach Lynda: On race weeks follow week #12 of the Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race. When you have several weeks between races add in training weeks. Thanks for the free mountain bike coaching.
Gary Meyer: Hi Lynda, 54 yrs completed the Smoke n Fire 400 in 3d 6h using the AZT300 bikepacking training plan. Pleased but think I could have been faster. Next event I’m thinking about is Jan 10th JP’s Backyard Fat Pursuit 200k based on last year’s times I’m guessing 30ish hours do I stick with the AZT plan or ? Thanks
Coach Lynda: For that race I recommend following the 24-Hour Solo Mountain Bike Personal Record Plan
Adam Shaw: I have one of those bathroom scales that measures body fat % base on body water %. I have been wondering if that could be a good tool for monitoring hydration going into an event and what would the target water % be. What are your thoughts Lynda? And thanx!
Coach Lynda: IME they are not as reliable as monitoring your body weight plus urine color.
Michael Habich: I work random shifts which kills any “schedule”. Any suggestions how to make the most of a weekly plan when some days I get to bed at 3am 7am or 10pm. Plus kids etc.
Coach Lynda: Like the rest of us just at different times! Sleep 8 hour a “night” (or day in your case), take care of your chores and fit training in when you can. You have to be a lot more flexible and creative with your training time. Sounds like training with kids, training indoors, training early morning, late at night and in the dark might all be options you need to look at. Block training can be another option for shift workers that have blocks of on and off schedule shifts. Training hard 3 days in a row then resting during the next 4 shift days can be an effective training strategy.
Bobby Brown: Lynda are there advantages/disadvantages to training and racing on different bikes? Cranks, gearing, wheel size are all the same and cockpits are set up very similar just one bike has more travel and a slacker head tube. I honestly enjoy technical stuff more one the larger travel bike. Is this something i should avoid?
Coach Lynda: Bobby, in the off-season, train on lots of different bikes, have a ton of fun and build a variety of skills. Right now is a perfect time of the season to do this. When the race season rolls around, spend an increasing amount of time on your race bike the closer you get to your peak race. By the time you arrive at your peak race start-line be totally dialed in on your race bike.
Here are some of the Q & A’s from our past free mountain bike coaching days: