Mountain bike training plans. Mountain bike coaching.

Start Training

Open MTB coaching March and April 2015 recap

Our LW Coaching open MTB coaching day is during the first week of every month on our LW Coaching Facebook page. Tune in to our next open MTB coaching day if you have a mountain bike training or racing question for Coach Lynda.

Here is a recap of our open MTB coaching days in March and April.

March open MTB coaching day

open MTB coaching

Daniel J Cox: Hi Lynda, I have a 50-year-old female friend that was not active in sports at all when she was younger and now she loves mt biking. While her aerobic capacity has improved greatly, she thinks that her legs will never get any stronger. Is it possible for her old thighs to bulk up at this point?

Coach Lynda: Daniel, yes absolutely! It might take a diet change. Generally athletes who are not developing strength are not providing the nutritional support necessary.

Linda Brumley: Hi Lynda! I’m doing the 40+ base program and am on week 11. I couldn’t afford the gym time or $wise, so I was doing strength workouts at home using body weight. I started yoga sculpt w/ weights at Corepower about 3 weeks ago 2x a week on strength days. My questions: I’ve had muscle soreness in the morning when I wake up, but my energy level is still great. I’m thinking that it’s just my age (52). Any thoughts? Thanks!

Coach Lynda: Linda, muscle soreness that lasts 1-2 days is great – that is you getting stronger and adapting to the exercises. Muscle soreness that lasts 4+ days without going away is problematic and something that needs further intervention, such as stepping up recovery practices,

Linda Brumley: Oh my goodness, great input Lynda! I take glutamine regularly, but only 1-2 grams. So I’ll need to increase to 12-20 caps after strength workouts.

Coach Lynda: I prefer the powder over the caps as I feel odd eating that much capsule packaging.

Linda Brumley: What brand do you use? I was using Jarrow, but I had a nutritionist test it and it wasn’t strong for me.

Coach Lynda: Linda, I use NOW brand

Luke Hurley: Lynda, as you know I purchased the Masters 40+ B/P/R plan. Starting on the second Sunday in April, I have a XC race just about every Sunday through the end of September. In the past I have taken a rest day on Monday/Friday for recovery a couple short efforts on Sat and race full tilt on Sunday. How can I tailor the plan to fit that schedule? Thanks.

Coach Lynda: Luke, when you add a race to the plan that was not part of the schedule it is accurate to also add recovery days before and after the event. Drop the scheduled workouts and follow your sequence (rest day on Monday/Friday, a couple short efforts on Sat and race full tilt on Sunday).

Luke Hurley: Great, thanks.

Kyle Wilhite: Hey Lynda, I am current in the last 4 weeks of 100k pr plan. I (think I) understand why the creative phosphate intervals (30 sec max, 4.5 min recover) but what is the goal week to week? Train legs to recover?, increase ability to reign CP?,… Just curious. Thanks for your time!

Coach Lynda: Kyle, the goal week-to-week with the training plan is to build you towards your fastest ever 100km MTB race. The goal of this workout is to build fatigue resilience and cramping resistance so when you repeatedly hit these short high power sections during your race you can absorb them without cracking.

Kyle Wilhite: Cool, thanks! This plan will for sure result in my fastest ever 100k, can’t wait to share the results! Mar 28th!

Nancy Harris: 2 years after having TKR surgery I only have 117 deg. ROM in my left knee. I have absolutely no power when pedaling uphill. Is it even possible with a training program, to get any improvement?

Coach Lynda: Nancy, I would think so but honestly am guessing. That is a question for a physical therapist who can do a hand-on assessment.

Nancy Harris: Thanks. No one really seems to know for sure. My PT was a cyclist. My Ortho says it takes 128% to pedal a circle. My Chiro agrees that the glute and hamstring can’t fire correctly without the ROM. I’ve been asking around trying to find a cycling Coach who actually has experience with this particular issue.

Coach Lynda: Nancy, keep up the search – I admire that. If any coach can give you more than a guess it would be Max Testa
Nancy Harris: Thanks! I will keep searching. Not being able to pedal uphill with any power is truly frustrating. My love and passion for the sport keeps me going. I have never heard of him but I will certainly go do my due diligence!

Coach Lynda: Nancy, good luck and let me know if you find an answer. I always love to learn new information that can help future athletes.

Robert Dorobantu: Hi Lynda. How can we improve cadence? My natural cadence is 70-75 rpm, and I wish to improve that.

Coach Lynda: Robert, pedaling drills are an effective way to increase cadence. One of the drills is Spin-Ups. You can do a stand-alone spin-up session or add then to any warm up for any ride. To do spin-up drills, slowly increase your cadence (or spin-up) to 100 – 110 rpm over 30 seconds. When you begin to lose form and bounce back-off and then hold it, recover and repeat. Another option is to take 5 minutes non-stop during your warm-up to focus on riding at 10 – 15 rpm above your comfortable cadence. Riding a single-speed bike is another method to expand your efficient cadence range as you are forced into a wide range of cadences depending on your speed and terrain. Single-speeding is my favorite method of improving cadence.

Jon Maule: Not a question but I never got to say this in person. Thanks for organizing the camp last weekend. Had a grand time and lotsa good/hard miles!

Coach Lynda: Thanks Jon. I’m glad you came and had a good time.

Brad Newby: Lynda, thanks for taking your time for open coaching day. Last year you gave me some good advice on what a week of training should include 7 days prior to race day (race week). It and some prior hard work led up to one of my best races of the year. True Grit Epic Bike Race, and helped in several more. Thank you. My new question is what should be included in a rest week? I am bombed from long miles and difficult intervals and could not wait to get to my off week. Also, should I worry about over eating because I am doing less exercise? I am at my goal weight and I tend to gain back that 5 lbs. pretty quickly when I’m not riding and tuned in.

Coach Lynda: Brad, if you are bombed and are looking at an important race in a couple of weeks you should do the absolute bare minimum you can get away with this week. That looks like 3 days off the bike alternated with 3 days of recovery rides of 30 – 45 min power L1 spins. On Sunday do a 1.5 hour ride with a gradual easy warm up, some tech riding and a short cool down – like a lap on Zen Trail. Stretch 10 mins daily and do 2 core sessions if that is a normal routine for you. Do this yoga class twice . Sitting in a pair of Elevated Legs on your off days is a great option too. Use to track and balance calories to avoid gaining. Cut out any extras like alcohol, gluten, junk etc. Sleep as much as you can. Avoid early morning group rides.

Rick Blackford: My B+ race (162 mile gravel race) for the year is 10 weeks out and my A+ race (100 mile MTB) is 15 weeks out. I’ve completed a 12 week base program. Should I go into a 4 week build/4 week specific/2 week taper and then back to a 4 week specific plan or go with a full 8 week build/ 2 week taper and then go into my specific plan? Is there a way to get rest/build/peak/taper all crammed in between the two events or should I focus on training through my B event?

Coach Lynda: A 162 mile gravel race is too much energy out-put to classify as a B race. Treat it as an A race, peak for it, recover and peak again for your next race. Definitely don’t train through a 162 mile gravel event – that’s not a good option. 4 week build/4 week specific/2 week taper and then back to a 4 week specific plan is the best training option to do well at both events, especially the second one.

Rick Blackford: Thanks Lynda!

Daniel J Cox: I’m going to do my first enduro races this year. What kind of training is good for these 2-25 minute stages and what kind of strength work should be focused on?

Coach Lynda: Daniel, do lots of skills work, short high intensity intervals, core work and stretching.

Daniel J Cox: In downhill sections much of the hard pedaling is done out of the saddle. Should my interval training reflect this by being out of the saddle?

Coach Lynda: Daniel, do about 20% of your intervals out of the saddle. Do most of your hard pedaling out of the saddle work during race pace technical skills training sessions.

Randy Fletcher: “My goals are Mammoth” The National Championship event schedule is out now. I am booking my Lodging. I would race Sat. How soon would you recommend I arrive, and how many practice days should I take while I there ?

Coach Lynda: Randy, Cross-country or downhill? What age group? What elevation do you live and sleep at? Are your goals to finish, win or something else? “Mammoth” is not a performance goal that gives me insight to what your aim is but is the name of a town. Provide more info please…

Randy Fletcher: Sorry about that. To win at mammoth is a huge undertaking for me . Mammoth was just a play with words xc, 55-59 group, Win, 3000ft elevation. I am training with your 40+ xc base plan, and Build peak race plan.

Coach Lynda: Randy, Arrive at altitude with as much time prior as possible to adapt to the elevation. Every extra day will give you an advantage in the XC race. Pre-ride the course a minimum of one time the day before your race and then as many more times as you have prior training days on-site.
Randy Fletcher: Thanks . Never raced before but know I can win , just need a little help

Jill Hamilton: Hi Lynda, I started a training plan about a month ago and have been racing Enduro, XC, and Super D every weekend since early January. I’m starting to feel a little overtrained…even wound up with the flu this past weekend after racing Saturday. So my question is two-fold…how do I avoid overtraining in the first place and what’s the best way to get back on track after being sick? #MTBTraining Thanks!

Coach Lynda: Jill, racing every weekend and training are an unsustainable mix. If you are racing every weekend the best option is a race and rest cycle, not a race and train more cycle. To avoid overtraining, choose either race and rest or train and rest. You are missing the rest part – that goes with everything. Read this article, The Athlete’s Survival Guide to the Cold and Flu Season.

Here are some guidelines for getting back on track after being sick:

1. Wait one day after below-the-neck symptoms have resolved before resuming any training.
2. After that, resume training with a day consisting of one recovery-paced session.
3. Continue training at a recovery pace until all above-the-neck symptoms disappear.
4. Stop training and return to rest if any below-the-neck symptoms return.
5. If you were sick for three days or less, resume your training plan after your one “wait day” plus one recovery day.
6. If you were sick for more than three days, resume training with one “wait day” and two or more recovery days. After two or more successful recovery days, gradually ramp up your duration first, then intensity, to full training loads over the course of four to seven days.
7. Use a face mask to protect respiratory mucous membranes if exercising in very cold temperatures following a respiratory infection.

April open MTB Coaching day

open MTB coaching

Devin McCune: I’ve been fighting illness and pneumonia for the past couple of months, things are finally on the upswing but how do i best start training again? I had originally planned some high priority races in May, now that doesn’t seem too realistic, any thoughts?

Coach Lynda: Devin, 2 months of pneumonia – dang that is a tough blow for early season. After 2 months of pneumonia you must start back slowly to ensure you do not get sick again. You can’t jump right back into full volume training. Participating in your May race is realistic but put the priority on regaining 100% health not on race performance. I recommend focusing on health and participating in your May races for sheer joy and training. Be patient with your comeback and look to later in the season for high priority events.

Devin McCune: So back to base miles for a bit and don’t worry about intervals would be the right approach? I’ve been planning a 4 week base period then starting some intervals so I don’t entirely make a fool of myself.

Coach Lynda: Devin, that is a great plan. While you are keeping the cycling volume down add in some extra stretching or yoga. Athletes often get tight after being laid down with a long illness. Tightness can lead to injuries which would be another set-back you want to avoid. Here is one of my favorite yoga classes for mountain bikers.

Apex Nutrition, LLC: Hi Lynda & Devin, I hope you don’t mind if I jump in. Just reading through and thought I’d recommend a probiotic specifically w/ l. fermentum. Strains, inclu this one are often lacking in endurance athletes. When supplemented, they can decrease incidence and recurrence of respiratory infections (as well as boost immune function in general, improve digestion, and maybe even promote a better VO2Max:)). Here’s the one I generally recommend b/c it has this strain:

Coach Lynda: Apex Nutrition, LLC, Kelli – thanks so much for sharing your nutritional wisdom with us. That is a great recommendation. Jump in with your nutrition insights anytime 🙂

Devin McCune: Apex Nutrition, LLC thanks for the info this has been a pain to deal with and any little help I can get to feel good riding is advice I can’t pass up. I appreciate your sharing your knowledge.

Alex Combes: Hi Lynda. I’ve been dealing with SI joint dysfunction for nearly 7mo now and have been off the bike since Aug 2014. I just started riding about a month ago again and am up to about an hour of moderate riding, though I do feel discomfort the next day. I’ve been going regularly for chiro adjustments over the past 3wks. Do you have any experience with this issue with any of your athletes?

Coach Lynda: Alex, I have a lot of experience with various back issues and cyclists. Basically the act of cycling is a pretty horrible one for posture and a healthy back, so back issues are common in cyclists. Lots of off-the-bike stretching and strengthening to regain good posture and muscle balance helps most athletes. No two issues have exactly the same answer but the common themes are weak glute medius, tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors. This series of exercises and stretches addresses that // I recommend getting a posture assessment from a physical therapist and a plan to action to improve yours.

Meri Bruin: I had my SI joint injected 2 years ago and the pain never came back. It was heaven

Alex Combes: My God Meri it has been a nightmare. I’ve been dealing with hip/low back pain for 8mo now. I think getting a fit for the first time ever in 10yrs of hard riding and then not allowing for a long enough break in period has something to do with this. No one seems to be able to figure this damn thing out. Maddening. I had an ESI into the lumbar area thinking that was the cause from MRI finding. I just called today for another injection into R SI jt and am praying it resolves the problem so I can get my life back!

Carey Lowery: Lynda, first week back since forced rest. When I did my Tuesday ride, Z3/5, (Week 9 of Master’s 50 PR Plan), I was thankful for the quick HR rise. L3 was easy. L5 was a bear, but I expected that (and I was also in the middle of a cold), given my time off the bike. You really scared me about the possibility of having to take 6 months off the bike. I know it was just a short ride, but is this promising for me? I suppose I am needing some words of encouragement.

Coach Lynda: Carey, even if you have been base training consistently the first L5 session of the season is still a shock to the legs. Sounds like all systems are operating normally! Congrats on committing to the time off. That will pay dividends not only this season but long-term for you. I think you are going to be surprised at how fast you come back and how well you perform at Nationals. Your body is still holding on to all those years of racing experience and skills you accumulated before your rest.

Bobby Hugh: Sounds like injuries and illness all around. I have been taken out with the flu twice and a bum ankle ( likely gout) since the first. For now. Just getting back on the bike and moving. All my race ideas up to June are all out the window at this point. Thinking maybe a mostly rebuilding year. Any thoughts on largely taking the year off from races, and just doing rides/ silly self challenges. My end goal would still be trying to go back to breck now next year to try to complete that race.

Coach Lynda: Bobby, that sounds like a frustrating list of set-backs. A year without the distraction of racing to rebuild and fix all the issues holding you back can be a great step forward. Focus on joy, health and rehab. Racing will always be there for you next season.

Bobby Hugh: Lynda, thanks again. For next year with a goal of a shot at the breck 100 (or 68 as I have seen loop1 a bunch). Which would be a better choice mohican or dirty kanza? The dates are for this year, but will likely be about the same next year. Breck 100 is July 18th. Mohican and dk200 are may 30th.

Coach Lynda: Mohican is the better choice for you.

Eszter Horanyi: If I have (for the most part) neglected core work all winter and am now three weeks out from a race, is it too late to pull an all-nighter and build some strength? Am I hopeless?

Coach Lynda: Ha, ha Ez you always pull it off regardless. Just start on a light routine now and build a little bit but don’t overdo it. What race are you aiming at? Some races need more core strength than others, like Mesa Verde…

Siven Tommy: I really need to increase my leg strength. I’m doing your base plan and was wondering if I can include some high tension, low cadence drills?

Coach Lynda: Siven, you can add these to the plan. You must drop something from the plan to stay in energy balance when you add something new to the plan.

Dave Byers: The Training Nutrition market is very competitive these days and it is increasingly hard to differentiate good science from marketing. One camp (Osmo & Skratch Labs) says “Gels are evil” while another camp says they are still the best fuel for short, intense races. What are your thoughts on fueling with gels for short intense efforts (less than 3 hours)?

Coach Lynda: Dave, it comes down to knowing the race conditions, your fueling requirements, personal preference and trial and error. Hot days require more fluids and electrolytes (Osmo/Skratch) and I would recommend using them instead of gels. On cooler days the reality is many athletes have success fueling on gels so long as they do have plain water available to wash them down with.

Louis Brashaw: Greetings Coach Lynda and family, 5 weeks out for A race, 12 hours of Mesa Verde, On week 7 of 12hr solo PR. What is your expert advice / opinion of food tampering? thank you in advance.

Coach Lynda: Louis, that sounds sketchy. I’d stay away from any food tampering.

Louis Brashaw: oops, I meant food taper.

Coach Lynda: Louis, I recommend carrying a calories in:calories out balance into Mesa Verde. Do not taper down into a calorie deficit prior to the race.

Josh Carter: Hi Lynda. I am looking at your 100 Mile PR Plan for the PCP2P this summer. I would also like to use this plan to prepare from now until the Wasatch back 50 on June 12. Could you outline which weeks of the plan I should use to get to the WB 50 miler? If I had to cut 1 day a week out of the plan for time restrictions, which ride is better to miss?

Coach Lynda: Josh, For the WB 50 I recommend you follow the 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan.You have 10 weeks to race day starting from 4/6. Miss out weeks 3 and 8 to time-crunch this plan to 10 weeks to fit your timing. The best day to drop from the training plan each week would be day 1.

Josh Carter: Can I still use the 50 mile plan for PCP2P or should I use 2 different plans?

Coach Lynda: Use the 100 miler plan for P2P. That is a difficult race for the distance and on par with most hundies. You will get a lot more out of your training by being on the right plan rather than trying to make one plan work for both.

Mark T Snidero: Hey Lynda…what are your thoughts on working out on a concept 2 rower for core work. After the bikepacking 2-5 day plan that ended a few weeks ago I’ve been taking it easier on the bike until the 100 mile pr plan starts in a couple of weeks. I’ve been rowing for a few weeks and I think it makes me stronger overall. Can this be incorporated into the program moving forward?

Coach Lynda: Mark, rowers are superb cross training for cyclists and help even out some of the muscle imbalances hours on the bike create. Keep it in your plan if you like.

Kristin Moyer: Lynda, love your Masters 50 Miles PR training plan. Question 1: How can I keep my bike nice and light on race day? I just got a new bike that’s a lot lighter than I used to ride. It’s sad to add stuff like water bottle and bike pack (tube, cartridge, pump) that are adding weight. I’ve never worried about that before so am not sure of the options. The races I’ll be doing this summer have full water stations/etc. so I can ride without a Camelback. Question 2: Should I be training the same way I will race, with whatever you recommend being on/not being on my bike.

Coach Lynda: Kristin, for race specific training sessions it is good to train the way you will race but you don’t have to for all rides. Most of your long training rides don’t have aid stations so you have to carry your own fuel and fluids along. It isn’t practical to train the way you race all of the time. If you can stay hydrated and fueled on your race course using bottles that is the best way to go. Some courses are too crowded and technical to drink enough from a water bottle and you need to take a hydration pack. It is usually better to add weight to your bike over your body. You need to carry a spare tube, multi-tool, fuel and fluids.

Kristin Moyer: Lynda, a question about your Masters 50 Mile PR plan. The longer rides for the week are day 6 and 7, which I assume is the weekend. Is it important to do the two longer rides back-to-back? Or is it for convenience with having more time on the weekend? I ask because I’ll usually need to do my longer rides during the week (when there’s enough daylight) and need to move things in the plan around a little bit.

Coach Lynda: Kristin, yes there is an advantage in doing the longer rides on back-to-back days. Can you make that work with your schedule?

Heidi Volpe: I always enjoy reading your comments, this session was full of heavy hitters, what an amazing resource.

Coach Lynda: Heidi, Thanks! It is a lot of work but I love getting to interact everybody each month.

Stacey Peterson: Hi Linda! I’m using your Cat I Time-crunched plan to prepare for some longer XC races this summer (racing Sport, but 30 mile races). I’ve been doing most of my workouts using zones calculated from a test on the mountain bike on trails. I find that when I get stuck on the trainer every once in a while, it’s very hard to hit the same HR zones for intervals that I would outside (doing 30 second intervals today I couldn’t get to Z5 no matter how much I pushed). Seems like my HR is running about 10 bpm lower for the same effort on the trainer as it would be outdoors. Is that normal – to have a lower HR on the trainer? Should I do another test to determine separate zones for the trainer, or is it not worth it if I only do a trainer workout every few weeks (when trails are muddy)?

Coach Lynda: Stacey, it is normal for HR to be a little different on indoors vs outside. If you only ride the trainer occasionally it is not worth doing a separate trainer test to get your indoor HR zones. For your occasional indoor rides use PE (perceived exertion) to pace your workouts instead of HR. Use this Training Intensity Guidelines chart to calibrate what each HR zone should feel like so you can pace by PE

Stacey Peterson: Great – thanks so much!! (Thankful I don’t have to do an extra test, lol)

Here are some of the Q & A’s from our past free mountain bike coaching days:

January & February 2015
December 2014
Oct 2014
Sept 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
December 2013
November 2013