100 Mile MTB Training Program – Training for 100 Mile MTB Race
Long-distance cycling races are growing in popularity and more so on the mountain bike. But the question is how do you train for a 100-mile mtb race ( 100 mile mountain bike race) or century as some may call it.
While picking the right 100-mile mtb training program might seem easy, it is far from that. There is a magnitude of different training programs around, but finding the right one to suit you and your event is challenging. You need to make sure you have the foundation which is built through aerobic fitness, the ability to recover, and a high power-to-weight ratio.
For the more experienced rider, you will also need to look at your recovery from those shorter efforts (at lactate threshold) and the efforts above your lactate threshold. But if you think that is all, you must also remember the altitude and your bike handling skills can all play a major part in your result.
100 Mile MTB Training Program
Your training plan for a 100-mile mountain bike race should begin at least 25 weeks out from the event. This allows you adequate time to effectively integrate the correct structure to your 100 mile mountain bike training plan.
Each phase of training (base, build, and specialty phases) will allow you to improve your endurance, threshold, and anaerobic capacity so that the body can be prepared as much as possible for the event.
So since you already know what phases of training you should add into your 100-mile training plan, how do you put this into context?
Mountain Bike Base Phase
Depending on your current level of fitness, your 100-mile mountain bike plan should start with a mountain bike base training plan. This phase of training should typically last approximately 12 weeks. Although this can be extended dependent on your current training and fitness.
During this base phase of training for a 100-mile event, the focus should be on raising your aerobic base. This means the time spent during this phase is primarily focusing on building a strong aerobic engine so that you are able to complete the event. For the more experienced mountain bikers, you will want to incorporate some longer sub-threshold efforts during this period as well to help increase your aerobic capacity. Such as sweet spot and aerobic threshold intervals.
To begin, start with building mileage into your 100-mile mtb plan and then add some sweet spot and threshold efforts into the phase. But remember to keep the intensity low, as this will come later in the training plan. Just think of the base period as the foundation of the house before you start adding the walls and roof.
Mountain Bike Build Phase
Once you have consistently built your volume during the past 12 weeks, its time now to move into the build phase of your 100-mile mtb training plan. This period of your training is based around 8-10 weeks of increasing your threshold and anaerobic capacity.
This is a point where the training plan starts to take shape and should focus on the profile of the course. Races like Leadville 100 will mean that the threshold efforts should be longer because of the long climbs. This means that the efforts needed during this part of your plan are more towards sustain threshold efforts. If your event doesn’t include long climbs but shorter steeper ones, you want to include shorter max efforts.
But for most athletes in this part of their training phase focusing on raising your sustained power and Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the way to go. Raising your FTP will allow you to power up those long climbs and the sustained power will help drive you along the flat.
Mountain Bike Specific Phase
During the final stages of your 100 mile mtb training program you should be fine-tuning your form. This means spending 8 to 10 weeks focusing on key elements of the course and the effort required on each section or climb
Analyzing the course will give you key insight into how to apply workouts during this phase. Short climbs will require more strength and punch, while longer climbs will require a higher threshold power.
Adding two to three key sessions per week focusing on these parts of the course will not only increase your form but also prepare you adequately for that event. But speak with your mountain bike coach and develop a plan that prepares you for each event.
Remember during this last phase of training for a 100-mile mtb event to spend more time on your mountain bike. This is vital to simulate wear on the body and to dial in the equipment you will use.
This is also a period where bike handling skills should be practiced if a technical course. Knowing your ability and feeling confident as you get more fatigued will help you in the later stages of the race. Also spending more of the long rides on your mountain bike and keeping the key specific sessions specific to the trainer is good advice that will allow you to keep the intensity specific.
Mountain Bike Race Tapering
One last thing to consider before you head off to your event is the tapering. During the tapering process where you wind down the volume, you can consider adding in a tune-up race. Ideally, this would be around 2-4 weeks before your event and be kept well below the 100-mile distance. this race should be off-road and ideally have some of the elements of the 100-mile race you have been training for.
The tapering, in general, should allow your body to be properly rested and prepared for race day. Your Chronic Training Load and Training Stress Balance should see around a 10 percent decrease. Although with your coach you should know the exact figure your CTL and TSB should land on prior to race day.