May Training Plan

In Blogs by Steve Neal

Here We Go Again


So a few quick notes before the training plan.


Have a look at your race files from the season if you happen to track this kind of stuff.


If you can look at the events lap by lap, you should see the following things (or pretty darn close to them!)


The highest heart rate should come on the last lap, likely on the biggest climb during the last lap or better still during the last few kilometers when you are really driving for the finish line.


The average heart rate should remain constant, or build by a beat or two over each lap during the race.


The above also goes for max heart rate.


There should be a 9 to 11 beat difference between your average heart rate and max heart rate on each lap.


Quick explanation for why the above should happen. In races where you go out too hard, you feel amazing for a bit, your reach your max heart rate and highest average in the first half of the race somewhere. This is possible because of how much muscular effort you put out early in the race.


When you find in the latter half of the race, your heart rate starts dropping, you will also feel like you just can’t stay in the same gears as you did in the first half, your legs feel full and just can’t ride as fast. If this does happen, slow right down to recovery pace until you start to feel better, then go back to proper pacing you can likely save your race.


It pays off to pace yourself as evenly as possible. This will also give you the feeling that the start of a race is really actually just a medium effort. As the race goes on, and you hold your pace, it will feel harder and harder but you will be able to push and manage this pace until the end.


Work on equal lap times in all your events. Your results will be better and you will be able to recover faster from the event and get back to training for the next one.



Training Intensities:


The workouts this month will be prescribed by either heart rate or feeling.


Workout by Feeling:


When workouts are prescribed by feeling, the goal will always be to go as hard as you feel you can, over the duration of the interval, while keeping the effort and pace of all efforts as close as possible to each other.  In fact, if you can learn to build your pace slightly every interval and finish stronger that you start, this can really help when racing starts.


Completing Workouts by Heart Rate:


Please refer to the previous article on pacing intervals by heart rate.


This same philosophy is also true when looking at how to pace races!


Training Zones


The test to set your training zones was listed last month if you need to refer to it. If you already know your max heart rate the calculations are below;


Recovery                           40%         60%

Endurance                           61%         75%

Tempo                           78%         83%

Threshold                           85%         90%

Vo2 Max                           90%         95%










Training Plan


Monday, May 9 – May 15


Monday         Rest day / A great day for strength or stretching session / nothing if you feel tired


Tuesday                  Session 4


Wednesday         Rest day / A great day for strength or stretching session / nothing if you feel tired


Thursday                  Session 3


Friday                  Rest day – no riding – stretching today would be great


Saturday                  Pre – Ride Ontario Cup 2 – Highlands Nordic




Tempo Session – 3 x 20m Tempo Zone (rpm 10 lower than you would prefer to ride)


Sunday         Race Ontario Cup 2 – Highlands Nordic




3 to 4h mountain bike ride, first 1.5 to 2h flat to rolling and remaining of the ride as hilly as possible depending on where you live. Keep heart rate in Endurance when on flats and rolling terrain, only allow it into Tempo Zone when climbing and even then limit muscular fatigue.








Monday, May 16 – May 22


Monday         Rest day / A great day for strength or stretching session / nothing if you feel tired


Tuesday         If you raced the Ontario Cup Sunday, I would highly recommend a recovery ride, 45 to 90m. During this session you should try and ride until you start to feel better, then stop.


Wednesday         20 to 30m warmup gradually building to top Endurance, rpm 90/95, 5 second sprint every 5m.


Then complete:

3 x 4m Threshold, 1st interval cadence 85/90. Each following interval, drop the cadence by 5 rpm. Focus on pushing this beg gear effort smoothly with a quiet upper body. If you have the ability complete these uphill.


Take 4m rest in Recovery after each interval EXCEPT the last one.


Immediately after the last one complete 20m Tempo at self-selected rpm. This would be best done on single track/double track mix if possible.


Cooldown at least 15m nice and easy by feeling.


Thursday                  30m easy recovery by feeling on flat terrain.


Friday                  Pre–race Prep Day


20m gradual warm-up building to middle Tempo.


3 x 4m Threshold 85/95 rpm (recover 3m really easy between)


3 x 1m max efforts, these need to be well paced and should all be equal (either by power or distance covered) just make sure not to blow up by these. Cadence should be as high as comfortably possible. (recover 3m really easy between each one.



Saturday                  Oh Yeah! Race Day.


This is a great course and don’t forget your Long Socks!!!


Have a great day and see you on the trails!


Sunday         Day off after the race if you are feeling a little wrecked.


If feeling like you recovered well you could get in a long easy session. Would go longer than your longest ride though, but you could match it. Remember to eat really well right from the start of this ride as the race will have taken a lot out of you.


Session 4 – Ultimate Plus


A great workout for punchy single track and working on repeated short-interval work.


Warm Up                  10 to 20m gradually increase HR up to Tempo (90/95 rpm)


Main Set                           9 x 30s max / 30s easy

1m off completely


8 x 25s max / 35s easy

2m off completely


7 x 20s max / 40s easy

3m off completely


6 x 15s max / 45s easy


Cool Down         At least 10m allowing heart rate to get into Recovery zone, (rpm at comfortable selected range)