- 1.The S:6 Off-Season Base Builder Cycling Plan (a deep dive!)
- 2.The S:6 Base Training: Primer
- 3.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 1
- 4.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 2
- 5.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3
- 6.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4
- 7.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 5
- 8.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 6
- 9.The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…
We wrapped up our 2018 off-season Base Builder Program with Block 6 at the end of April.
Our “in-house” athletes that stuck it out for the full six month program experienced some solid gains in off-bike strength and on-bike power, both on the aerobic end and the anaerobic end. In fact, every single rider saw improvements to the tune of 12-36% at estimated FTP, with a “class average” of 23%. Boom!
You can read the full the run down of our annual off-season Base Builder program by clicking the series of links above. With Spring here and race season is in full effect, what do we do next? With your solid strength and aerobic base established, it’s time to get more race specific and dial your training in with in-season Race Prep training.
RACE PREP TRAINING
Through our Base Builder Program we build fitness up. We start at the low end of the energy system chain focused on low-intensity aerobic training combined with technique work on the bike, and the early (lighter) form-focused resistance training in the gym. From here we build our base through gradual progression of intensity through increasing intensity with each successively higher energy system, and gradual increase in resistance training loads.
Aerobic Endurance/Technique, “all day” power (4+ hours)
Aerobic Threshold (AeT), “2 hour” power
Anaerobic Threshold, 32:00-64:00 power
Vo2 Max, 8:00-16:00 power
Anaerobic Power, 1:00-4:00 power
Peak Power, 0:05-0:30 power
Once we reach the top-end on-bike energy system, Peak Power, we also reach peak loads and movement speeds in the gym. This signals the completion of base training, and we’re now ready to get more race specific with our training. Following our Race Prep Programming, we then build fitness outwards towards our goal event(s). From here we take a “reverse periodization” approach to programming by progressively working backwards, back down the energy system chain of intensities (reverse order from Base Build Program).
How far down the energy system chain do we go? It’s event demand dependent…
Anaerobic Power: short criteriums, short track MTB (<45 minutes)
Vo2 Max: cyclocross, longer criteriums, short punchy XC MTB, Enduro MTB, short time trials (30-90 minutes)
Anaerobic Threshold: long time trials, hill climbs, climbing XC MTB, Sprint & Olympic Triathlon, XTERRA, climbing road races (1-3 hours)
Aerobic Threshold: marathon MTB racing, 70.3 Triathlon, long road races, gravel races (3-5 hours)
Aerobic Endurance: ultra-distance events (6+ hours)
Depending on your target race duration and primary energy system demands, we get more specific with the programming by essentially backing out the intensity while simultaneously building the endurance required for longer and longer events as intensity levels decline. Training blocks in Race Prep typically are 2-3 weeks with 3-6 sessions that emphasize the target energy system.
Simultaneously we continue the resistance training within the weekly micro-cycles. However in Race Prep the gym work becomes maintenance based to allow for continued develop of on-bike fitness. However we do not want to drop the off-bike resistance training all together because it gets lost far too quickly. This results in a decrease in muscular activation, muscular balance, and overall movement health.
Stay strong, stay healthy, and be ready for continued off-season strength building for the next season by maintaining your gym work year round!
RACE PREP PLANS
As mentioned above, the length of your Race Prep plan is event-demands dependent. Simply put, shorter more powerful events require a shorter Race Prep build (and can be repeated several times for multiple events over a period of several weeks); whereas longer endurance based events more time to back out the intensity and build the endurance is required. Here are some general guidelines:
Events UNDER 2 Hours: 3-6 weeks
Events between 2-5 Hours: 4-8 weeks
Events OVER 5 hours: 8-12 weeks
Keep in mind these are training blocks required for your “peak form” for a top-priority event. Other lower-priority events can (and should) be included along the way within the planning. You can race quite well upon completion of our Base Builder Program, and even more so anywhere within the Race Prep programming. While racing every weekend is not recommended, racing every other or third week can be very effective.
Below are some links to our Mountain Bike line of Race Prep Training Plans. Each provides a look into what three progressions of event duration can look like. Each plan follows a 2-week block format and includes a 2-week taper into the target event:
- 8-Week XC Mountain Bike Race Prep Plan
- 10-Week Marathon Mountain Bike Race Prep Plan
- 12-Week Ultra-Marathon Mountain Bike Race Prep Plan
As your target races of your season approach, have your training become more and more race-like: terrain, intensities, climate, and equipment should all be focused on for your best raceday performance.
With an effective Race Prep plan you can make the most of your training time and reach top form for your most important events. Good luck and have fun!
Cody Waite, Professional Off-Road Endurance Athlete & Coach
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