CX In season training plans

Hi all,

I’ve just signed up for Sufferfest.

I’m racing cyclocross this winter, and the way the calendar works out I’ve got a couple of pretty big gaps early in the season (first race was last Sunday, but I don’t have another until 17th October, then nothing until 14th November at which point I’ve got something most weekends except Xmas and New Year until season ends at the end of Jan).

Once I hit 14th November, I think it’s going to be just hanging on to form for dear life, and enjoying the Christmas break, but I feel as though I could make good use of the big gaps early season (having done nothing structured leading up to it).

My 4DP (270/311/424/1129) has MAP as my weakness, so I figured I might do a MAP specific 4 week block prior to the next race.

The problem I have with the training plan is that there doesn’t seem to be any flexibility (e.g. if I can’t ride certain days, doesn’t seem to be a way to factor that in). Equally, I don’t want to ride indoors the whole time, and I have things like bike commutes to build in also.

I am thinking of taking the key MAP sessions from the block and dropping them into the week as I can fit them in, using my commutes as easier rides (taking place of the various ones that involve watching vids, e.g. dogs life), and I also want to keep a longer ride in outdoors at the weekend, which I guess I would need to swap out for one of the intense sessions.

By the time I’ve done all that, the plan is unrecognisable! Also, I can’t find any way to modify this in the calendar either.

Does any of the above make any sense? Given how much I’m picking it apart, have I lost all benefit of the plan in the first place?

The alternative is just picking off a couple of MAP focused sessions a week, and doing a basic ramp up for 3 weeks followed by a lower intensity week ahead of the next race (then similar again, perhaps with a bit of AC/NM thrown in for good measure)

Appreciate any input/ insights you might offer.

Are you referring to the Pre-Season CX Plan or the MAP block?

If I remember right, the pre-season plan is lower volume with a speed workout, a MAP workout, a skills practice, a recovery/endurance ride, a run day and a rest day on the first two weeks and recovery on the third.

Yep. Might be worth talking to a coach. Other than that I’d suggest just trying a 4 week block as is.

Either way it’s not a lot of time to make massive improvements nor would getting it wrong incur massive losses.

If you absolutely must be outside, turn your commutes into map interval training.

The issue is that the plans are designed as a whole. If I do the plan and my commute (even if I bin my outdoor proper rides), I’ll be overloading. I’m not really sure how these plans can be used in anything other than a 100% indoor scenario.

I think I’m just going to need to make my own plan based around my commutes and targeted individual sessions from the library, based on the sort of workouts and progression in the MAP block.

MAP block, not CX pre season

Ah, makes sense. Like @Sir_Brian_M said it might be good to talk with a coach about a custom plan.

Another idea would be to start with the Pre-Season CX plan at Beginner level since you are commuting and doing some cross races. That gives you the workouts you need to enhance strengths and improve weaknesses, while keeping the commutes and using them as additional recovery/endurance rides.

Not necessarily, it’ll depend. I did the Mountainous Gran Fondo plan plus my commute on top (hard trainer session plus 30-70km extra commute x 3 days a week) and I was OK. I spoke to one of the SUF coaches about it at the time. Admittedly I was extremely endurance fit then and training for a horrible 200km, 4000m elevation race. I used to chug a shake straight off the trainer then use the commute to work as “extra volume” and a cool down. Rides home I always rode recovery pace and used it to spin the legs out.
On plan scheduled rest days (I.e… like open60) I’d just ride the commute, I.e. the other 2 days of the week.). Weekends I stuck to the plan. Overall mileage was very high and I had to take rest week VERY seriously, I.e. no getting talked into group rides.

Also worth noting the above wasn’t sustainable at all, but was a means to an end.

I suspect the high volume mileage might not be helpful for CX though?

Sounds fun and fitting for a Dame of Sufferlandria. Chapeau!

Hmmm, perhaps not the DNF part. Turns out my Iron levels were basically zero.

I’m no coach, but I like to keep some base work going all through the season. In the past, I haven’t used indoor workouts, So generally work my training around commutes.

That usually means a 1.5 HR fasted ride first thing in the morning once a week, similar but at a tempo pace another day, and I usually do a shorter ride home (about 1hr or less) with either longer ftp efforts (e.g. 10, 5 , 5) or something like 6x 1, followed by some sprint efforts on the hills (all the above dictated by what works on the route really). Weekend is a race or a longer ride (something between 2m5 and 4hrs, mostly L2).

It’s worked ok for cross, but having made some big initial improvements (going from mid pack to regular top 10), I haven’t improved further since then, which is the motivation behind trying something different this year.

I can make my commutes much shorter (30m) and keep the effort low (although I enjoy my morning rides). “Thanks” to covid, I can work at home a few days a week too, so I can try and make the home days the day for an indoor workout to avoid much doubling up.

I think I’m forming a strategy…!

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Seems like your plan is coming together then!! And yes agree with keeping a good base. My commute to work is either hair raisingly dangerous if I take the short option, or 38km each way if I take the “safe” option. And commute length also has to fit in around what meetings I have at work. Worth having some strategies to adapt on the fly if you can

That sounds awful. Amazed you were still able to handle all the training with an iron deficiency! Still impressed!!

Thanks SirBrian! Getting it sorted now along with a few other issues. Then a long road back to epic fitness.

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