How to Plan Modification: A-Races -> MTB Marathon with Long Sustained Climbs PLUS Short Steep Climbs

Hi there!

I am currently analyzing my A Races this year and find it hard to fit training with the event requirements.

So my A Races will be:

  • MTB Marathons
  • 3+ hours duration
  • with long sustained climbs (duration >20min up to 1h)
  • but also with a lot of short steep climbs (around 1min, I guess - certainly some shorter and a few longer ones)

The races will be won on the long sustained climbs but loosed on the short steep climbs by loosing viable time due to walking or cooked legs etc :).

Currently I am on the Sustained Build Mid Vol, which seems to be the perfect plan for MTB Marathons. However, its often said in the podcast / blogs that the training must be event specific, so I am wondering how to cover these short steep climbs which definitely will be anaerobic. Sustained Build does not contain such workouts. So what are the options?

Mix Sustained Build Plan with Anaerobic workouts?

This leads to following questions:

  • which Sustained Build Plan workouts should be skipped? There are two types of Threshold Workouts each week, one so ever-lovely Over/Under and on more steady one
  • I was also thinking about double-day workouts with a quite short (30min, e.g. Bashful-3) anaerobic workout but this blog entry here strictly recommends to do double days with short and easy workouts only. So double-daying with anaerobic workout seems to lead directly into misery …

Technical aspects (increase gearing on the low end to pedal with lower watts and/or adjust cadence training) were already taken care of but it will not help for the key steep climbs (very steep or quite technical so I will probably be geared out etc).

Any ideas from you guys on this topic? Thanks!

1 Like

Just one note as I re-read above.

I am just thinking how to cope better with the short steep climbs while not sacrificing the key sustained component for the climbs I will face. Do not intend to be Jack-of-all-Trades but simply survive the short steep challenges better and shine on the sustained climbs :slightly_smiling_face:

I’d stick with the Sustained Build as is and then swap in some of the Saturday MTB Olympic rides, like Bear and Hawks Bill into your Marathon training. The pointy end VO2 work can be sharpened quickly but the strong muscle endurance for a 1 hr climb takes longer to develop.

Happy training and good luck in the races.

Agree above if you don’t want to move over to General Build which blends Short Power Build and Sustained Power plans, making you more of and all rounder. Id probably swap out every Saturday of the Short Power Build plans and keep the rest of Sustained Build the same. The other option would be swapping out the Wednesday’s.

Thanks, guys, and sorry for late reply :no_mouth:

Swapping Saturday maybe an option, good point. However, moving over to General Build is not. As TR mentions this tends more to XCO Events (so <120m duration) and my Marathons will be much longer, so Sustained Build is preferred.

Was also thinking abou swapping Wednesday (the usual Easy/Moderarte-Ride) for an Anerobic Ride but I think this might only be an option if I can tolerate High Volume Plan TSS. Currently I am in my 2nd year with Mid Vol and putting in another hard ride on wednesday seems not a good idea. Maybe when switching to a 9d-week with one additional day of recovery. Not sure, eventually I will give it a try during Build-II-Phase and see how my body reacts.

Considering Anaerobic Efforts as an limiter I might also apply the “Too much time” concept next season.

So many ideas, so less experience :slight_smile:

There is benefit to easy rides in terms of building durability and they are designed in as part of the HV plans. Also anaerobic efforts are very stressful and may actually undermine your training progression.

Base endurance supports all aspects of your riding and as you build it over the years you will be able to add in more of these sharp end training sessions and drive adaptation but for this season I’d stick to your current selection of TR plans with the small modifications mentioned in the other posts.

Again good luck and also practice your fueling strategies!