MTB Marathon Training

Hi there,

I am just finishing my dial-down plan and about to start the season prep.
In principle, I am starting with a MTB season prep plan and then follow with a MTB race prep plan which at this moment would finish around first weeks of May, I believe. Around those dates I’d start the Sunday’s long and step rides (These are usually 60km to 80km and somewhere between +900m and +1400m). During winter season, just 3h rides with no more than +700/800m.

I am doubting which plan set up to go with taking into account that I’d do an outdoors ride every sunday if weather allows to:

  1. Low volume 3:1
  2. Moderate volume 2:1

What do you think? Would it make any hughe difference in training load?


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@Ricardo_G There are a few threads on this topic. I found an older post from the coaches that said that if you are new to training, returning from a long break or master’s age they suggest that you pick a 2 week on and 1-week recovery cycle. I am masters age and do the 2:1 MTB plans and it works for me.

Some of the links in the below post probably won’t work as they are from the Sufferfest days but if you look on the Wahoo site you should find some similar topics.

Thank you very much @JSampson. I’m definetely going through all the material before building up the plan.

I am a master+35 myself so I guess I’m sticking to 2:1 as well.


Yeah. Last winter I went 3:1. At 69, I found I need more recovery before some of the harder workouts, so I’d add an easy day (or two) before doing the hard workout again. IDK if 2:1 would give me what I need recovery-wise compared to 3:1, but I plan on trying 2:1 at the start of this winter’s training and see how that works out.

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I’m not sure what the definition is of ‘Masters’. In the post that Sir @JSampson shared, I suspect that Masters means 50+, not 35+. Racing here where I live (Oregon, USA) has a Masters 35+ category, but I don’t think that necessarily translates to the same definition used by the coach in that post.

I think you have a couple of options - try the 3:1 and see if you’re getting enough recover, or try the 2:1 and see if you feel like you’re getting too much recovery! Maybe if your Sunday outdoor ride is going to add significant volume and/or intensity, then 2:1 is the place to start.

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It’s not your physical age that matters. If you are a well trained athlete with many sessions of SYSTM under your belt, you may want to stick with a 3:1 plan. Add in Strength and Yoga as well.

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Thanks for your input @way9e0.
I do agree. Actually, looking to my past workouts and sundays rides, normally this rides takes almost the same TSS as the sum of all the workouts during the week so that means doubling the load. Said that, I am quite confident that the best will be to start with a 2:1 + sunday rides and see how my body reacts. There is always time to modify the plan, right?

Thanks all!

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Absolutely! You should always be asking if the plan is working out for you, and adjusting if required.

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There are certainly are other factors to recovery, but age is a huge one. I noticed it getting toward 50, but now, a few months from 70, it’s preponderant, by far.


I just listed to this Knowledge podcast episode today. It’s got some good information about training and aging.