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Criterium 8-Week Plan


Val Hopkins

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8 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling road cycling beginner intermediate masters power based tss based

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Plan Description

This 8-week Criterium plan is a power-based plan designed for racers who can devote 8-12 hrs/week to prepare for their A race. The weekly TSS averages 700 with a focus on threshold development, VO2max work and sprints. This race winning combination will enable you to ride away for a solo break as well outsprint the group if your race comes down to a final sprint.

You should have a solid base of at least 6 weeks prior to beginning the plan. The workouts are built with Training Peaks Workout Builder so that they can be downloaded onto Zwift, Garmin, TrainerRoad, and other such devices. The Workout Builder allows you to see your individual training targets in a graphic representation of the workout so that you can quickly glance at it to understand the details without having to manually calculate your FTP and read lots of text. A weekly strength workout is also included.

As the 2018 New England Pro Ladies Criterium Champion, I know not only how to train properly for Crits but how to win them. If I can do that, so can you!


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
9:03 hrs 3:51 hrs
0:39 hrs 0:45 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
9:03 hrs 3:51 hrs
0:39 hrs 0:45 hrs

Val Hopkins

I create personalized training plans for all types of cyclists, for those just getting into the sport by riding their first gravel grinder to seasoned elite riders who specialize in crits and road races. I recognize the differences between how women and men need to train, and how much age really does matter. My plans include strength training workouts that work with the progression of the riding intensity. I also offer indoor alternatives for when you just don't want to ride outside.

Sample Day 1

Z4 4 x 10 min

• 20 min Zone 1-2 with 3 x 1 min fast pedaling 110+ RPMs in the last 5 min

Main Set
• 4 x 10 min Zone 4, 5 min RI

• 10 min Zone 1-2 easy riding

Sample Day 2

Z3 1 x 20 min w/ Microbursts, 2 x 3:30 min Z5

Crisscross Intervals;
After warming up, during one 20-minute crisscross FTP interval; every two minutes do a microburst of 30 seconds at 120%. After each microburst, be mindful about not letting your power drop below 85% of FTP. You are moving from threshold to Anaerobic Capacity and back again several times.

Finish the workout with 2 x 3:30 min Z5.

Sample Day 3

Z7 3 x 10 min of 15" on-offs

Today you will teach your muscles how to change speeds by continuously contracting and relaxing them.

First you will do on-off's for 10 continuous minutes. "On" is 150% FTP, "Off" is 50% FTP.

You will do three sets of them.

Sample Day 4

Recovery Ride 1 hr Zone 1

Ride easy, stay in Zone 1 on mostly flat roads, 60 minutes.

Sample Day 5

Strength Workout - Maintenance

Choose any 6 of the exercises in the page in the link below. Do 6-12 reps, 2 sets, 1-2 min RI.

Do not go to failure; get yourself to an 8 on a scale of 1-10 on the Ratings of Perceived Exertion where 10 is going to failure, 1 is how you feel on the first rep.

Exercises may vary by week to keep things fresh.

Also do 10 min core exercises, such as planks, side-planks, marches, kettle-bell sit-ups.

Total workout time should not exceed 45 min.

Sample Day 6

Z2 w/ 45 min Sweet Spot, 2 x 20 Z4, 3 x 3 min Z5

15 min building from Zone 1 to Zone 2

Main Set
• 45 min Sweet Spot
• 2 x 20 min Zone 4, 10 min RI
• 3 x 3 min Zone 5, 3-5 min RI

easy riding 15 min

***If riding indoors, shorten ride to 90 min and include:
• 40 min Sweet Spot
• 2 x 20 min Zone 4, 5 min RI
• 3 x 3 min Zone 5, 3-5 min RI

easy riding 10 min

Sample Day 7

Z2-Z3 w/ 10 x 8 sec sprints

This is an endurance ride that will give you a solid aerobic boost. The pace should be steady in zones 2-3, with ten 8 second sprints at 80%, otherwise known as "bursts". Get your cadence above 105 rpms to build your neuromuscular capacity.

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