This post is part of the Leadville 100 MTB FAQ.
Periodiation is the training philosophy of breaking training into blocks. The 3 basic periods are base, build and peak/race. Some coaches also use transition and preparation periods but I like to just think of them as the off-season. The focus of training in each block changes depending on how close it is to race season or if it is during race season.
Blocks are typically 4-6 weeks in duration. The time and/or intensity increase each week with the last week being a recovery week. I’ve always done 4 week blocks. When I’m doing a lot of intensity or volume, I can be ready for a recovery week by the 3rd week. 6 week blocks though might work during early base training.
A recovery week is needed to allow the body to rebuild and get stronger. Not doing recovery weeks can lead to injuries or illness. Recovery weeks are also called rest weeks but you still do a reduced amount of training.
I record my training weeks from Monday through Sunday. I had a coach that wanted it that way. At first I thought it was strange but then figured out it made a lot of sense. If you have a normal work schedule, you can do your longest rides on the weekends. If you switch your longest ride back and forth between Saturday and Sunday, your weekly totals will be inconsistent if you record Monday through Saturday.
I also keep track of training in time and not miles. I do a fair amount of my training on the road. A mile on the road is much easier than on the mountain bike. A ride with lots of climbing is much tougher than a flat ride. Time gives a more consistent training measure than miles. You can also account easily for cross-training.
During the off-season, it’s important to stay fit but it’s also a good time to do some cross-training. The off-season is also a good time to work on handling skills. Although I don’t consider the Leadville 100 course very technical, lots of new racers are intimated by the long, fast downhills. The steep climbing sections also require excellent balance and weight distribution to keep from spinning out.
Other Training Phases
The other 3 training phases are covered in separate posts.
- Base Training (coming soon)
- Build Phase (coming soon)
- Peak/Race (coming soon)