Cyclocross (CX) Cat 4 Level 4 Week Build / Peak

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 08:47

This 4-week Cat 4 (beginner/intermediate) cyclocross (CX) training plan is designed to tie-on to your summer sportive, road racing, gravel or mountain bike fitness and get you cross-ready. You should aim to coincide the final week of the plan with a weekend "A" race.

This cyclocross training plan is built for a cyclist with an existing aerobic base (8-16+ weeks of base training and the ability to ride for about 3 hours) who is training with heart rate (HR) and optionally power. For training with heart rate and power, it is assumed that you have done a recent functional threshold test and have a threshold value and zones set. Training volume is 10 hours per week. The plan includes 2 weeks of Build 1, a Peak week and a Race week.

This plan uses a combination of VO2 Max interval work, threshold intervals, and sprints to build up the capacity to go hard for 45 minutes to an hour. Skills work is introduced through sprints and aerobic rides intended to be done on a cross bike or mountain bike on a rolling mountain bike trail.

Workouts are designed to mostly be done outdoors with interval workouts structured using power ranges and may easily be adjusted for use with a smart trainer. Weeknight workouts are mostly under 2 hours and the longest weekend ride is 3 hours.

It is important to remember that this is just a guide, to listen to your body and see how you perform. Consultations, customized training plans, and full-service coaching available at http://coaching.bergantine.com.

Questions? Email me at joe.bergantine@gmail.com.

Sample Day 1
1:10:00
60TSS
CX Sprints

On a simulated cross course with the following features: a long straight start that takes about 30" to complete, a steep hill that takes about 15" to run up, a steep but ridable hill that takes about 15" to ascend.

Can be done in blocks (e.g. 5x starting sprint with 3' recovery between efforts, 5x run up hill sprint with 2' recovery between efforts, 5x on-bike hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts) or as a loop (e.g. starting sprint, 3' recovery, run up hill sprint, 2' recovery, on-bike hill sprint, 2' recovery, and repeat the set 5x).

The net will be:

5x 30" starting sprints with 3' recovery between efforts. Perform these from a dead stop mimicking starting stance, clipping in, and aggressively sprinting.

5x 15" run up hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts. Perform these on a hill steep enough to need to dismount to run up. Practice the approach, dismount, shouldering of the bike, running up, and remount.

5x 15" on-bike hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts. Perform these on a hill you can ride up. Practice the approach, standing or max power seated sprint to the top, and transitioning back to riding the descent.

Warm up and warm down for about 15' before and after. Perform the work intervals as hard as possible.

Sample Day 2
2:45:00
165TSS
CX/MTB Aerobic Ride

Target the upper end of Heart Rate Zone 2 / RPE 4-5. Be mindful of heart rate creep towards the end of the ride. You will likely have to dial back power to keep the heart rate down.

Sample Day 3
1:27:00
100.7TSS
CX Tempo Intervals 4x 12'

Warm up: 15' with a few spin ups

Main set: 4x 12' at Power Zone 4 with 3' between efforts, dropping heart rate back down to Zone 1.

Sample Day 4
0:55:00
38.5TSS
High Cadence Spinning

Warm up: 15' building to about 95rpm.

Main set: 5x 45" on, 5'15" off. Keep heart rate under Zone 3. Cadence during efforts should be 110-125rpm.

Sample Day 5
2:36:00
135TSS
Hill Tempo Intervals 4x 12'

Warm up: 45'-60' with a few spin ups

Main set: 4x 12' at Power Zone 4 with 4' between efforts, dropping heart rate back down to Zone 1. Cadence 60-69 during efforts, staying seated with a relaxed upper body.

Warm down: 45'

Sample Day 6
1:10:00
66.5TSS
VO2 Max Intervals 5x 3'

Warm up: 20'

Main set: 5x 3' at Power/Heart Rate Zone 5 with 3' recovery between efforts

Warm down: 20'

Sample Day 8
1:10:00
60TSS
CX Sprints

On a simulated cross course with the following features: a long straight start that takes about 30" to complete, a steep hill that takes about 15" to run up, a steep but ridable hill that takes about 15" to ascend.

Can be done in blocks (e.g. 5x starting sprint with 3' recovery between efforts, 5x run up hill sprint with 2' recovery between efforts, 5x on-bike hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts) or as a loop (e.g. starting sprint, 3' recovery, run up hill sprint, 2' recovery, on-bike hill sprint, 2' recovery, and repeat the set 5x).

The net will be:

5x 30" starting sprints with 3' recovery between efforts. Perform these from a dead stop mimicking starting stance during roll call, clipping in, and aggressively sprinting.

5x 15" run up hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts. Perform these on a hill steep enough to need to dismount to run up. Practice the approach, dismount, shouldering of the bike, running up, and remount.

5x 15" on-bike hill sprints with 2' recovery between efforts. Perform these on a hill you can ride up. Practice the approach, standing or max power seated sprint to the top, and transitioning back to riding the descent.

Warm up and warm down for about 15' before and after. Perform the work intervals as hard as possible.

Joe Bergantine

Joe Bergantine is a USA Cycling Coach, Yoga Teacher, and NSCA certified CSCS Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Experienced in endurance athletics and cycling events from gran fondo and sportive to marathon mountain bike and cyclocross (CX). Providing mentoring, guidance, and structure to help get others into, and succeed at, competitive adult and masters sport participation.