CYCLOCROSS: 8 weeks to race-ready

Average Weekly Training Hours 09:43
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 09:43
Training Load By Week

You should have some base miles before beginning this plan. Ideally, you've been on the bike 8+ hours per week for at least 8 weeks. You can start this plan at any time during the season. You may notice more or less improvement depending on what you have done in the few months prior to starting this plan. Nonetheless, this plan will stress and improve all the physiological systems needed for success in cyclocross racing.

The plan also assumes that you are fresh and ready to start hard training. This is best achieved with a week off or easy week before you start the plan. This plan requires 10-12hrs per week with most of the longer rides on the weekend. It is suitable for a rider with a normal work schedule, but may require time on the trainer during the week due to limited daylight. This plan is not limited to any particular level of rider. The time commitment, however, may be a limiter and make it more appropriate for experienced or committed racers. Nonetheless, if this time commitment doesn't represent a large increase over your previous training volume, it may work for you. Finally, if you find yourself deeply fatigued at any point, you can simply take a few easy or rest days and then pick it back up.

Sample Day 2
1:30:00
68TSS
RECOVERY - Easy Endurance (Low Zone 2)

This is a relatively easy ride, but longer and slightly more intense than a recovery ride. Primary training GOAL is fat metabolism and time on the bike. Average Power and Normalized Power should be fairly close and in the lower half of Z2. This means that the rides is steady and most of the time you are in low Z2.

Sample Day 3
1:30:00
90TSS
TESTING: Basline Values

30min progressive warm-up
(as if you were warming up for 10-20km TT)
30min TEST EFFORT (monitor power and heart rate)
15mins at Zone 2 and 85-95 rpm
15min cool down

Sample Day 4
1:30:00
60TSS
SKILLS

This workout is about skills. This can be done as a cyclocross-specific ride involving corning, dismounts/mounts, bunny hops, braking and other handling elements...OR...as a MTB ride focusing on similar skills in a trail setting.

The point is to spend a concentrated 60-90 minutes working directly on skills. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Do not worry too much about effort level. Overall, the workout should not be too physically taxing (except as it relates to the skills)

Sample Day 5
1:00:00
30TSS
RECOVERY - Easy Spin

The goal is to move the legs to support RECOVERY. This is NOT a training session, it is more like an easy walk. Limit duration to 1 hr and keep power and heart rate in Zone 1.

Sample Day 5
0:15:00
Easy Run (optional)

All run workouts are optional. most cyclocross races in the USA are pretty limited on running. As a result, it is usually not a significant element to focus on.

However, if your races do have running it can be a good thing to work on.

Sample Day 6
1:30:00
75TSS
INTERVALS - Anaerobic Capacity

30min progressive warm-up
4 x 2min ON at low-Zone 6, 1min OFF at Zone 1
5min at Zone 2
4 x 1min ON at high-Zone 6, 1min OFF at Zone 1
30min progressive cool-down

Sample Day 7
3:00:00
160TSS
AEROBIC - Mix of efforts

Hour 1:
15min warm-up at Zone 1 and 90rpm
45min at Zone 2 and 85-95rpm
Hour 2:
30mins at Zone 3 and 75 rpm (in drops)
30mins at Zone 2 and 90 rpm
Hour 3:
2 x 10mins ON at Zone 4 and 90rpm (in drops), 10min recovery between efforts
15min cool-down at Zone 1 and 100 rpm

Jeff Winkler
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Winkler Cycling

Over the past 25 years, I have coached athletes to multiple State and National Championship titles in the disciplines of Road, MTB and Cyclocross. I have worked with all levels of individual racers from novice to professional and have coached collegiate, club and amateur teams.