Training for the Working Cyclist
Cyclocross in August?
It’s only August and we’re already talking about cyclocross. Crazy, right? Yet, if you specialize in cross or if you just want to have a solid cross season, your training should have started a month ago. Here’s some things to help you get ready for the cross season.
Just like the road season, you’re going to want a solid base under you before you start those early season races. Although endurance rides aren’t paramount like in road racing, you don’t want to crack 45min into your 60 min race. Try to build in 1-2 three hour rides in during the week, focusing on keeping a good tempo. Within 2 weeks of the base period, you should start adding in some low threshold (85-90% FTP) efforts. Start with 1 week of 2 x 15’s, one week of 2 x 20’s, and one week of 1 x 40’s. After a month or so you’ll want to start adding in some threshold and low level anaerobic efforts, but we’ll save that for another article.
Skills and Running???
During the base period, you’ll want to devote at least one day a week solely toward developing your cyclocross skills. That means practicing mounts/dismounts, cornering and u-turns, and your “dirt” skills. I try and go to a loacl park and create my own cyclocross course, using tress for u-turns, volleyball pits for sand riding, and stairs for dismounts and running.
You’ll also want to try and get some running in as well. Start off easy (5-10min) and slowly start building up to 20-30min runs. As the season progress, you can start doing some wind sprints and fartleks, but make sure to get in at least a month of running before you attempt that. Remember, for a sixty min race, with 3 dismounts per lap, you’ll be getting on and off the bike running anywhere from 20-30 times.
Now is the time to start looking at your race schedule. If you are doing dry and fast California races, you want to start your anaerobic efforts a little earlier in your training Expect higher speeds and more accelerations. If you are racing in the muddy Northwest, you’ll want to stick with the threshold type effort and start adding in some power workouts (low cadence power).
Late Season Road and CX
For those who want to focus on cross, you’ll want to take a week or so break now (if you haven’t already done so). However, if you plan on racing road well into September, you really have two options. You can extend your training and expect to go well through October, maybe early November. Or you can take a quick break in September (week off) and go well November and December. It’s not impossible to put together a solid road and cyclocross campaign, but it takes some dedicated planning of rest periods.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach is the owner of Switters Coaching. You can check him out at his website http://www.SwittersCoaching.com. Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for workout or questions.