Mountain bike training plans. Mountain bike coaching.

Start Training

MTB open coaching day recap for August and September 2015

Here is our MTB open coaching day recap for August and September 2015. We have settled into a nice routine of hosting our MTB open coaching day on the first Thursday of each month on our LW Coaching Facebook page. That puts our next one on October 1st. Like our page on Facebook and come along to our next edition with your mountain bike training and racing questions. Our October MTB coaching day is always a key one to help everybody with season planning for next year. How are you mapping out your season to peak for the events you are stoked about? Winter, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, is the time to put down some work on your weaknesses and breakthrough to the next level.

MTB open coaching day recap

Earned my buckle!

Kristin Moyer: I am getting beat on the downhills, especially in xc but also endurance races. I need to get to some skills camps (wish I could come to yours!). Do you think a dropper post would help as well?

Coach Lynda: Yes. A dropper post will help enormously. Get one today!

Kristin Moyer: Ha ha ha! Thanks, will do.

Gord Mounce: Hi Lynda. Thanks for the great plans! I took a year off from 24HR racing to do some local MTB races, and took a win and a third in my first two events thanks to you! I’ll be `back in the saddle’ for 24HR racing next year. My question is on the 24 personal record plan that I’ve done previously. The longer weekend rides are generally zone 2 and 3. Our local trails are all pretty steep. (It’s not unusual to leave the trailhead and set off on a 50 minute climb). Those climbs are zone 4 at best. The Canmore Nordic Center course for the 24 Hours of Adrenalin isn’t quite as hard, but I don’t usually ride there because it’s further away. So, I was wondering if I should make any modifications to those longer rides knowing that I’m generally above the zones I should be in? Shorter times, or maybe ride road more? Thanks very much! After 7th and 5th in the last two editions I’m hoping to podium next year!

Coach Lynda: What gearing do you have on your bike?

Gord Mounce: 22×38. I can climb the tougher slogs at around 145-150bpm out of a 172 max with that gearing.

Coach Lynda: Split the difference and ride road a little bit more and shorten a few (not all) longer MTB rides. Don’t shorten rides directly before a rest week. Do shorten the longer weekend rides when the following week is a hard training week. You do need to develop your aerobic abilities and fat burning with Z 2-3 rides and will end up with a gap in your fitness if you never do any.

Kristin Moyer: What post-race routine do you recommend? I don’t sleep much after a XC evening race and get up the next morning feeling lousy. I usually cool down, get recovery drink, socialize with other riders, go home and eat, shower, go to bed. No beer (that night anyway!).

Coach Lynda: After your race do the following to optimize your recovery: #1: Recovery drink and cool down, #2: 10-15 min ice-bath or cold river soak, #3: snack, #4: clean body, #5: stretch, #6: Elevated legs, #7 protein heavy snack or meal unless it is too late, #8 Get to bed early.

Kristin Moyer: SUPER helpful, thanks!

Christina Probert Turner: GM Lynda; I finished the Cat 1 race Build, Peak Race for my Enduro nationals mid-July and I have been playing in Tahoe doing long miles the last 2 wks. I want to race some cx this winter and suggestions to the best plan? Should I do the same Cat 1 plan for cx? Thanks Ps I became Age group national Enduro champ!

Coach Lynda: Christina, congrats on winning a National Championship! That is so cool! Stars and Stripes jerseys are keepers! The Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan or the TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan are the best plans to train for CX season.

Kristin Moyer: What are your favorite 50 mile’ish type summer races in Colorado and why? I especially love climbing and don’t love super technical, loose downhills.

Kristin Moyer: P.S. Would love to hear from other athletes participating in open coaching today, too!

Coach Lynda: Kristin, Will you list all the summer Colorado 50 milers that are available and we can ask our LW Team for feedback. I don’t know all of the options out there.

Beth Shaner: Steamboat Stinger (August 15th) and Firecracker 50 (July 4th) are my fav! Lots of climbing, little tech smile emoticon.

Coach Lynda: Thanks Beth.

Luke Hurley: Lynda, let me first say how great your 40+ cat 1 plans are. I am racing the best i have in years and training half the time of my competitors. I have a 50 mile race in mid Sept with several standard 1.5-2 hour xc races before it. Is there anything i should do in prep for it? I am doing weeks 11 and 12 as maintenance for the rest of the season since i race every weekend.

Coach Lynda: Luke, thanks for the nice words about my training plans. I appreciate that. Congrats on your stand-out performances. With racing every weekend you don’t have room in your schedule to add any more training. Focus on staying healthy and recovered for each race. Best performance in the 50 will come from accurate race execution; pacing and fueling, especially fueling. You need to fuel to stay strong for the longer duration. Your fitness is already in place.

Kristin Moyer: What HRZ should I be targeting when I’m on the gas for a 30 mile race (Fall Classic/Breckenridge, with 4,800 feet of climbing)? Around 3:00 to 3:15.

Coach Lynda: First off, for any race distance you have to pace a race like you have trained. There is no template target HR zone for a specific distance. It is based on how YOU have trained and prepared YOUR body. Knowing how you have been racing and training, you should target HR zones 3-4 for climbs. Descents focus on riding smooth and fast looking at the trail not your HR monitor.

Kristin Moyer: Interesting. I’ve been using your Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan and training/racing in HRZ 4-5 – but for 15 mile type distances.

Mark T Snidero: Hi Lynda…I’m currently using your 24-Hour Solo Mountain Bike – Personal Record Plan. I’m on a team so have been racing some XC too…2nd last weekend…and have an analysis question. My max HR is 183. My 20 minute is 172. In the last XC race my average HR for 1hr 28m was 171. Three part question…do these numbers make sense to you and since my heart seems to be maxed out, how do I get faster and how long does that take (assuming I continue using your plans)? (I’ve been battling the same guy all season…and he’s beat me 4 out of 5 times). Thanks!

Coach Lynda: Mark, your goal is performance which is measured in many metrics such as placing, speed and watts. Heart rate is not a performance metric but a response to exercise. 1. Yes your numbers look normal and make sense. 2. To get faster race with better tactics, strategy, pacing, fueling etc. Put more focus on recovery to be rested for key events. Be at ideal body weight. Stick to your training plan. Build more watts and speed per heart beat. 3. How long that takes? No idea! Too many variables. Depends on how optimized all your variables are currently and where you can maximize your gains. I think I parsed out your 3 parts 😉

Mark Wells: Hi Lynda, I have been following your Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan. I’m on week 3 day 4 of the plan. It’s a great plan and I have been making great improvements. The only issue I’m having is my legs feel fatigued all the time. Is it a matter of getting more rest or diet?

Coach Lynda: Mark, Likely both. Make sure after all strength workouts and long or hard rides you immediately consume 25 g of protein. I recommend this includes 6-10 g of glutamine. Review this Recovery Strategies Doc to see what else you can include. Elevated Legs help a lot too. I have a discount code for them you can use.

Mark T Snidero: Thanks a bunch!

Wayne Thebeau: Lynda. I’m tapered and ready for Breck Epic, I’m also ready for a break from the training regiment, so I can enjoy fun rides with my friends. For the past 24 weeks I’ve had to try to fit social rides into my training (doesn’t work well) at 46 if I stop training I’ll start losing it. Any suggestions on training and having fun with friends that can’t ride as hard or fast? Sounds like a silly question as I read it back but I’ve alienated myself from good friends and rides by always being in training mode.

Coach Lynda: Wayne, Breck Epic is a tough event so your dedicated training will pay off. Moving forward, mix up some high intensity short solo rides with your lower intensity social rides. For example, do a short high intensity ride like 10 x 1 min in power L6 with 3 min rest hill intervals the day before your social rides. That way you maintain or even build your fitness and also benefit from an easier paced day for recovery. Arriving at a social ride with legs wrecked from a HIT session the day before has the added benefit of making you mellower and likely more fun for your friends to ride with too! Have a great time and race in Breck.

Wayne Thebeau: I’m assuming by your work out suggestion above. You work on 6 levels of power. In your package workouts do you use power level 5 and, or 6 to describe the effort of above threshold workouts? Example, would you prescribe a Z5 workout one week and another workout give a Z6 workout?

Coach Lynda: Yes, exactly.

Cynthia Graham-Taff: Hello Lynda! Thanks for all of the support and valuable advice that you provide us! My question is: will my heart rate levels change at altitude? And should I make adjustments for a change. I train at 2000ft and racing this weekend at 6 to 9000+ feet. 78 miles. I use a power meter on road bike but can only go with HR on MTB.

Coach Lynda: Cynthia, you will have a higher HR racing this weekend due to both the higher altitude and the fact you are fresh and peaked. Tell me your threshold HR at 2k and I will give you an adjustment range to use in the race.

Cynthia Graham-Taff: 172 is my max with last field test

Coach Lynda: Was 172 bpm your max HR or 20 minute average HR?

Cynthia Graham-Taff: Max

Coach Lynda: What was your 20 min average HR? That is your threshold HR and what you need for HR zones and pacing guidelines.

Cynthia Graham-Taff: Sorry, Lynda, now I have access to my numbers. The 20 min avg was 170 BPM…poor memory.

Coach Lynda: Cynthia, I recommend bumping up all your target HR pacing zones by 3-5 bpm for the race this weekend.

Cynthia Graham-Taff: Thank you!

Wayne Thebeau: Lynda, I’m following your 12-Hour Solo Mountain Bike – Personal Record Plan. I’m in week 6 day 4. I’ll have to do my long road bike ride (day 6 ) on day 5 to accommodate family camping plans. should I skip the planed day 4 today and do day 5 so im not too loaded with fatiuge for the 4 hr ride on Friday.

Coach Lynda: Wayne, yes drop day 4 in favor of rest.

Molly Jean Thompson: I did the 6-Hour Solo Mountain Bike – Personal Record Plan this summer and I am starting cyclocross season with some of the best fitness I’ve ever had. Thank you! To make the transition to cx efforts, I’ve been doing shorter, harder intervals: lots of 2 min, 1 min, and 30 second effort…See More

Coach Lynda: Molly, Great to hear you are at a peak fitness level. The correct volume of intensity depends on what you have been doing and are adapted to. For CX aim to drop the total volume of intensity you have been doing and increase the power. You can do a higher volume of work at a lower intensity so as you shorten the interval duration and increase the intensity your volume at intensity will decrease. For 1 min intervals a total volume of 12 minutes is a good number and for 30 sec intervals aiming for 6 mins total volume is reasonable.

Randy Wegener: Packing up and driving from WI to CO bright and early Saturday morning. We’ll be renting a house in Salida for the week leading up to the Vapor Trail 125 on the 12th. How should I treat the week leading up to the big dance in regards to rides? Duration, Intensity, at altitude or not, when to schedule off days?

Coach Lynda: Rest in Salida and do easy short rides for the first 2 days at altitude. Then do a 2 hour ride up to higher altitudes – along the Monarch Crest trail would be a good one. Take a day off the bike on the 10th to rest your legs but do drive up to higher elevations for a little more altitude exposure. Do a light spin in the morning on the 12th to loosen up your legs before the 10 pm start.

Randy Wegener: Thanks Coach Lynda!!!!

Kristin Moyer: I’ve got a 30 mile race this weekend with 4,900 feet of climbing (Fall Classic in Breckenridge). Do I go out hard with the pack, like you’ve been teaching me to do in a 15-mile type cross country race? Or do I need to be a little careful given this race is longer? Target is HRZ 3-4 when I’m on the gas.

Coach Lynda: Kristin, What is your goal for this race?

Kristin Moyer: 3 hour finish-time, and top 3 finisher for expert. Coach Lynda: Kristin, I recommend going out hard in this race and testing yourself.

Wayne Thebeau: I’ll chime in about Breck Epic. Had a great 3 day race. Improved my time by 33 min. over last year. I was happy about that. JD and I had a great Training build up to the race. Now I’m looking forward to my first 12 hr. race @ 12 Hours of Penitence I’m Having fun working with your 12-Hour Solo Mountain Bike – Personal Record Plan.

12 Hours of Penitence: Hell yea, looking forward to having some killer competitors busting out 21 mile laps!

Coach Lynda: Wayne, great job at Breck Epic. 33 mins is a big improvement! I look forward to hearing all about 12 Hours of Penitence!

Wayne Thebeau: Having never competed in a 12 hr. race. what would you recommend for pacing. In the past I have always used power mostly because coming from high alt. and competing lower I have to really hold back the power so I don’t burn matches. Your training plan focuses on Z2 and Z3 on the climbs. In OP duo last year I targeted 215W Low Z3, but in that race your on and off the bike. What are your thoughts?

Coach Lynda: @12 Hours of Penitence will you tell us more about your course? Are the climbs steep? From the map it looks like a rolling course consisting of many small climbs and flat sections but you don’t have an elevation profile. Would you say it is a steady pedaling course or more of an on/off the gas power burst type course? How technical is it? Smooth and buff trails the whole way? Hard tail or full suspension course? These details will help us dial in a pacing strategy for Wayne Thebeau

Kristin Moyer: Can you help me think about how to structure my race season next summer (June-Labor Day)? Next summer I’d like to do a mixture of 15 mile type cross country races and a few 50-75 mile’ish races. The cross country races are a blast and will be about 5 out of the 8 or so races I do. But I probably care a little bit more about the endurance races. Do you think this will work? What base LW Coaching base training plan should I use for the fall/winter? Should I use: 1) TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan (I’m 47, race Expert and love to crank – but will this plan be too much for me?), 2) Winter Training Plan for Endurance Distance Mountain Bikers, 3) Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan?

Coach Lynda: Use the Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan this winter. It works well to use the shorter races for training, then rest and peak for the longer races.

Mike Welch: Hi Lynda, About to do my Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan week 10 race this Monday. It is going to be 2 laps approx. 1 hr each. In the training guidelines you say that race pace is mostly Z4/5. So, if I only have so many matches to burn is it better to use up the Z5 time on the hills or more on the flatter sections and try and pace the hill at a Z4 pace. The hills are about 10 minutes max with some good long flat sections in between and there are 4 hills/lap? Thanks Mike PS- first race of the season so looking forward to seeing how the training has paid off.

Coach Lynda: Mike, pace the 10 min climbs mostly in zone 4 but dipping into zone 5 on the steeper or more technical sections briefly. If your legs are feeling strong you can push zone 5 over the crests of the hills and recover on the downhills.

Kristin Moyer: When should I settle into a winter base training routine? My last race of the season is this weekend. I like to train, so the sooner the better. But I also have a lot of international business travel between now and mid-November, plus I’d like to take a break to just play on my bike for a while.

Coach Lynda: Mix up playing on your bike with your international travel this fall and settle into a base training plan when your travel schedule has eased up.

Rich Dillen: I’ve eaten 48oz of Peanut M&M’s in last week before the Shenandoah 100 this weekend. Should I start tapering now? Beer consumption has been steady and should remain so, just in case that’s relevant.

Coach Lynda: Rich, I recommend a bit more diversity in your nutrition plan. Perhaps some Skittles to get some of the other food colors in your plan? Have you considered supplementing with bacon and beets?

Kristin Moyer: Have you ever done the Park City Point 2 Point race (PCP2P)? A few questions if you have: 1) Is this race as fun as it looks? I love to climb, and PC single-track is so super sweet (ridden there for several vacations). 2) Do they mark the course off pretty well? I saw one thing that made it seem like this is a find your way race, and another thing that said follow the orange markings on race day. I’m direction impaired and would never do a race that wasn’t marked (I’d probably never finish!). 3) Do you think I’d be able to race the PCP2P pretty well using the Master’s 50 Mile PR plan? I don’t want to be able to “just finish.” I’ll probably do the Firecracker 50 and B68 (part of the Breck 100) next summer along with several shorter XC races – then maybe the PCP2P depending on how long my long rides would need to be. I don’t think I’d have enough time for the Master’s 100 Mile plan throughout the whole summer – so if that’s the better option to ride well, I’d probably stick with just the F50 and B68 for endurance races. (P.S. Thinking so far ahead due to childcare planning.)

Coach Lynda: Yes I have raced PCP2P – loved it. 1) Absolutely! They hook up all the fun trails. 2) Yes, very well. 3) No. P2P is as long and hard as many hundies and you should train for it on a 100 miler or a 100km training plan. You will come up short on a 50 miler plan. Just finishing P2P is tough.

Kristin Moyer: Ok, I’m really glad to know that – thanks. Can you give me an idea of what kind of time commitment the Masters 40+ MTB 100 Mile Personal Record Training Plan includes on a weekly basis? Are there numerous 6 hour back-to-back training days throughout? I ask because I was kind of at my max with Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan this summer – in terms of time on the bike each week given schedules with the kids/etc.

Coach Lynda: Kristin, there are no back-to-back 6 hour rides on this plan. Look at the preview for more details. The highest volume training week calls for 14 hours on the bike plus some supplemental stretching and strength work.