Off-Season Cyclocross Phase 3: Preparing for the Races! (8-weeks)

Average Weekly Training Hours 07:26
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 07:26
Training Load By Week

A Cyclocross Specific 8 week Training Program with a focus on building the race speed engine you need for the season!

The plan focuses on building power with high end anaerobic efforts and threshold work so you can last the duration. Additionally Cyclocross specific drills, and technique exercises are included.

This plan is perfect for the cyclocross racer to begin in late Summer and into Fall (like July - September) to prepare for the Cyclocross Season in September.

Sample Day 2
1:15:00
CX Skills and Speed: Starts, Sprints, and Cornering

Today is a hard workout, but the focus is on CX specific skills:

3x30 sec starts, make these identical to how you'd want to start a race, foot clipped, proper gear selection, take off hard and hold on! 2 min easy spinning between each start

3x15-30sec hill or stair sprints, come in to the obstacle on your bike at speed, smooth dismount, shoulder the bike, sprint up as hard as you can, put the bike down smooth, remount and be on your way. 2-3 min easy spinning between each effort

After you've done these exercises, take some time riding around on trails, a grass park, anything and work on your cornering, taking different lines, coming in at speed, accelerating out hard, etc.

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
ZC: Over-Unders (LT) 4 x 5

Over unders are performed with the first part of the interval at FULL GAS, then settling in to the prescribed wattage, then finishing again with a FULL GAS effort. Teaching you to clear the lactic acid from the system and respond to hard efforts at the beginning of a tough section in a ride or race 4 x 5 minutes. First 30 seconds of interval is 125% of FTP, then settle into zone 4. Finish with last 30 seconds, Full Gas 5 minutes off

Sample Day 4
1:30:00
EN: Zone 2: Endurance

Wattages should be 60 - 75% of your Functional Threshold Power; Heart rates should be in 70-85% of your threshold heart rate. Choose Flat or Flat-ish Terrain

Sample Day 6
2:00:00
EN: Weekend Group Ride

Weekend Group Ride-Don't worry about intervals, etc today. Work on sticking wheels for the duration. Climbing hills strongly, pacelining together in a group and even launching attacks or trying for sprints. Overall this should be 'moderately hard' effort and also a bit of fun

Sample Day 7
2:00:00
2hr trail day w/ LT blocks (3)

Hit the trails today. Pick out a loop or section of trail that takes 10-15min, and ride it quick. Make it a hard effort, but not all out. Ride at a pace that you perceive would be your maximum for 60mins (i.e. CX race pace) Do 3 repetitions of 10-15min. Focus not just on pedaling hard, but on riding smooth technically. The parts where you're not pedaling are just as important as the parts where you are pedaling.

Space the reps as you like, but keep a minimum of 7 minutes between each effort.

Sample Day 9
1:15:00
CX Skills and Speed: Starts, Sprints, and Cornering

Today is a hard workout, but the focus is on CX specific skills:

4x30 sec starts, make these identical to how you'd want to start a race, foot clipped, proper gear selection, take off hard and hold on! 2 min easy spinning between each start

4x15-30sec hill or stair sprints, come in to the obstacle on your bike at speed, smooth dismount, shoulder the bike, sprint up as hard as you can, put the bike down smooth, remount and be on your way. 2-3 min easy spinning between each effort

After you've done these exercises, take some time riding around on trails, a grass park, anything and work on your cornering, taking different lines, coming in at speed, accelerating out hard, etc.

Sample Day 10
1:30:00
3x10min efforts (varied)

after warming up do 3x10min efforts that differ as follows:

1st- 10min straight z3 tempo

2nd- 10min w/ base effort in tempo w/ a 15sec surge every 2min

3rd- 10min at z4 threshold (20-30min TT pace)

rest 8 min between each effort

Nate Wilson
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Catalyst Coaching

My personal experience is primarily with road cycling, but I got my start as a coach with mountain bikers. At this point I've worked with a wide range of athletes from people chasing a PR in their local century, to MTB racers, to road riders racing full time in Europe as their profession.