MTB Ultramarathon, sweetspot or tempo pacing?

I’m training for an ultra marathon event at the end of June. I am doing long hill climbs repeats between 20 and 35 minutes to mimic the race.
At the moment I am averaging at the low end of sweet spot about 85% of FTP. In the race I won’t be going much over 70% of FTP. Should I adjust my watts down to mimic the race or keep doing the hills at 85%.
The general theory is to increase stress as the race get nearer to mimic the race, but for ultra’s should I be lowering the stress?

For clarity, which sport (run, bike, etc.)?

It is a mountain bike marathon race…200km

1 Like

I’m training for a similar race at the end of summer.

I would keep doing the hills during training at between 80-85% FTP. I personally wouldn’t ride 88-92% FTP regularly (or at all if you are me) for this type of event. I’m building up my CTL with as much tempo and Z2 as I can. In fact, if you can, I would try to do entire steady rides at 80-85%, not just the hills.

As you get closer to the race, I would gradually start to mimic the demands of the race with simulation rides. As you have suggested, this will mean those simulation rides would be at a lower intensity.

Also, see @chad advice here:

Particularly the part starting: “You could definitely see some return on a bit of Traditional Base in those final 4 weeks,…”. To me he is effectively saying lower intensity and try to increase duration as you get closer.

but you probably don’t mimic the duration of the race in your training? Yes, riding long a low intensity is important but you want to create stress. Either you go as long until you get the stress or you up the intensity. Sure, overall volume is still king but especially now when there is still some time until June I’d say work on some intensity.

1 Like

If you do drop the intensity, you’ll need to increase the duration to keep the same training stress. Do you have the time to do this? If not, probably need to stay at 85% for training.

If you stay at 85%, One thing to be aware of is pacing initially in the race. If you get used to 85%, you’ll need to be very disciplined to stay at 70%.