Cyclocross 14 week In Season Race Program (Advanced Level)

Average Weekly Training Hours 09:38
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 09:38
Training Load By Week

If you're an advanced level road(Cat 1,2) or mountain bike racer(Cat 1) looking to do cyclo-cross racing this year then this program is for you.

This is an in season program meaning you most likely are racing or plan to very soon. The entire program is 12 weeks long. In the first week you will establish your LTHR and set up your HR zones. Optional races start the first weekend into this program giving you the freedom to either get a weekend of racing in, or get two back to back hard days of CX specific training in over the weekend.

This program will build and fine tune your high end cyclo-cross fitness and take your performance to the next level with workouts aimed at short/hard efforts combined with cross specific race efforts and light running to build your muscular system for the running involved. The focus is on quality, CX specific, shorter workouts with a maintenance of your longer aerobic rides.

In addition to hard workouts, this program will give you the rest you need coming into the weekend so that your body can perform well when needed. The weekends you don't race, you will be doing some tough cyclocross specific work to get you ready for your next race weekend.

You will need access to a heart rate monitor and will need to know how to use it. You can do the training on a road, CX or mountain bike. However, I do recommend that you get as much training in as possible on your CX bike since you will be racing on that.

With this program you will also receive nutritional information, a detailed description of heart rate zones, and a start-up guide that introduces you to interval training.

Expect the following from this plan:

*8-13 hours of riding per week
*6 days of riding per week(Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
*1 off day per week(Thursday)
*All rides that are longer than 1:45 hours a day will be scheduled on weekends
*Rides during the week range from 1-2 hours a day
*Clear and precise instructions on how to execute each workout

You can also find more info on my coaching services at or at Mountain Bike Radio, "The Dirt with Drew Edsall"

Sample Day 1
Ride 50% Zone 2 Endurance Ride

Ride Zones 1-2 today. Get 50% or more of the time in Zone 2. This is an easy ride. You will establish your training zones tomorrow and know what Zone 2 means.

Sample Day 2
30 minute LT bike test

Warm up well by spinning for 20-30 minutes easy to moderate. Then ride a 30 minute time trial on flat course or up hill course. Punch HR monitor 'lap' button 10 minutes into Time Trial. This course needs to have no interruptions allowing for a ocnsistant hard effort with no stops.

Average heart rate for last 20 minutes predicts Lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). You lactate threshold heart rate can now be used to calculate your training zones by going to your My Settings in Training Peaks, clicking on the Zones button, and putting your LTHR in the threshold box(clicking the down arrow and picking Friels Cycling Zones). You now have your HR zones to use for the entire training program. Please refer to the startup document for training zone details and info.

Finish the workout spinning easy on your way home.

Sample Day 3
CX technical work

Warm up with 20 minutes of easy spinning. Then perform 30 minutes of technical work on a CX like course (grass field if possible): include all the following cross specific work; dismounting, re-mounting, and running with the bike. If you have access to barriers, use them by practicing running with your bike through them. Also, try to find a short/steep hill. Practice dismounting, running up the hill, remounting, and getting back into the rythm on the bike. Become comfortable and smooth with these exercises. Finish the workout with easy spinning zones 1-2 for the rest of the time.

Sample Day 3
Easy run

Run easy Zones 1-2 only.

Sample Day 5

Ride Zones 1-2 mainly including 3-5 x 1-3 minute race pace efforts(zones 3-5) within the workout. Take 2-3 minutes between these. These efforts should be at a pace you think you can sustain for an entire CX race. Get used to your CX bike at race pace. Make tire pressure adjustments, check over gears, and make sure your bike is race ready.

Sample Day 6

Warm up 20-30 minutes including 3-5 x 60-90 second race pace build ups. Take 2 minutes rest between each. Show up to the line 10 minutes before your start. Race smart!

Sample Day 6
CX TT's (alternative workout)

Warm up 30 minutes of zone 1-2 spinning. Then go to a course that is as close to a CX course as possible (should include a field with multiple turns, one forced dismounting area, and some road/fireroad within it). If you don't have a course, do your best to create your own with either mtn bike singletrack and/or cones.
After your warm up, perform the following on the course.

3 x 10 minute TT efforts on the course. Take 5 minutes rest between efforts. Practice your turns, and proper pacing. Look into the turns, brake before (not into) the turns, and accelerate when coming out of the turn. Experiment with different lines and try to get faster and more efficient. This doesn't mean going harder! It means riding/racing smarter! Brake only when needed, and approach the turns with the proper speed. Being efficient on the cross bike is very important, so practice it now.
Finish the workout with easy spinning zones 1-2 for the remainder of time.

Drew Edsall

Mountain Bike Coaching and Training Plans. My name is Drew Edsall, I am a mountain bike head coach with and also a former professional mountain biker. At Mtbfitness we work with all mountain bike athletes and specialize in mountain bike one on one coaching, and mountain bike specific training plans.