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Cyclocross (CX) 12-Week Beginner/Intermediate (Cat 4/3) Training Plan

Author

Joe Bergantine

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Length

12 Weeks

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Plan Description

This 12-week Cat 3/4 (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 averages 12.5 hours per week. The plan includes 4 weeks of Base 3, 4 weeks of Build 1, 4 weeks of Build 2 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 3.5 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.



Stats

Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:59 hrs 3:30 hrs
2:30 hrs 1:00 hrs
—— ——
1:27 hrs 2:45 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:59 hrs 3:30 hrs
2:30 hrs 1:00 hrs
—— ——
1:27 hrs 2:45 hrs

Training Load By Week


This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Power Meter
  • Heart Rate Monitor

All supported devices

Joe Bergantine

Kinsa

IRONMAN Certified Coach, USAC Cycling Coach, RYT200 Yoga Instructor, NSCA CSCS Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Stacy Sims Women are Not Small Men Certified. Full-service remote coaching and training plans for cyclists and triathletes.

Sample Day 1

1:00:00
65TSS
Z4 Intervals: MTB Ride or Road Hill Repeats

MTB: After a 15' warmup, keep pushing to settle into Heart Rate Zone 3; on an undulating course allowing your heart rate to get into Zone 5 on the climbs or on an up-and-down course targeting Zone 4 as you climb (30' max) and recovering as you descend. 

Mix it up, Road Hill Repeats: On a long hill with a grade of 2-4% with a 8-12' ascent, target Power Zone 4. Safely coast or lightly pedal back down striving for the descent to take 1/2 to 1/3 the time of the ascent (e.g. for a 12' ascent, it will likely take 4-6' to descend).

Sample Day 1

1:00:00
Weeks 1-3 A

See attachment from first session.

Sample Day 2

1:30:00
75TSS
Tempo Ride

After a 15' warmup, keep pushing to settle into Zone 3. It's okay to briefly push into Zone 4 on hills.

Sample Day 3

1:05:00
39.4TSS
Spin Ups

On an indoor trainer. Warm up: 6' @ 55% FTP, 1'30" each @ 70/75/80/85/90/95rpm @ 55% FTP (9'). 5x 30" on (100rpm+) / 30" off (80-90rpm) at 45-55% FTP, work up to 60-70% FTP (5'); Spin up to 110-115rpm for 45", shifting or otherwise adjusting to keep power in the desired range, with 5'15" recovery. Repeat 5x (30'). Warm down single leg drill at 45-55% for the remaining time (10'): 2x [1'30" RL, 1'30" LL, 2' both].

Sample Day 3

1:00:00
Weeks 1-3 B

See attachment from first session.

Sample Day 4

1:00:00
60TSS
Tempo Ride

After a 15' warmup, keep pushing to settle into Zone 3. It's okay to briefly push into Zone 4 on hills.

Sample Day 5

1:30:00
100TSS
Z5 Intervals, Low Cadence

Ride on a course with 2-3 hills (or repeat on a single hill) with a grade over 6% and an ascent time of 2-5 minutes. Allow time between to recover of at least the same length as the ascent (up to 4x as long, e.g. for a 2 minute ascent, recover for 2-8 minutes). Stay seated on the ascent and find a gearing that allows you to pedal at around 60rpm. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU FEEL ANY KNEE PAIN; back off the gearing immediately. Allow an adequate warmup of at least 15 minutes. When not ascending, coast down and otherwise keep the power at 45-75%.

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