Strength training late in 12 week program

I’m in the under-60 gravel 12-week program. Been making nice progress to this point (HM at halfway point showed ~10% gains in FTP and MAP). However, now I am at a point where the program is really light in efforts (2 weeks out froma race). Not only that, but it has not had big low cadence efforts in the last week and a half anyway. Now I would swear my muscles feel like they are getting a bit weaker. I was doing barbell squats prior to the 12 week program start. Thinking about doing them 1-2 times in the next few days, not in the last week prior to the race. Feel like I need SOMETHING - otherwise the program is giving me nearly a 2-week taper. I know I am old but sheesh!
Thoughts about adding in some squats?

Well your program is tapering you for what it believes to be your event. If you don’t in fact have an event at the end, you could always start a new plan early and cut off the taper period on your current plan.

What did you choose for your periodization: 3/1 or 2/1? A two week taper doesn’t seem that much off a 12 week plan to me?

1 Like

3/1 and I do have a race at the last day. Just starting to feel weak (normally, high torque efforts over 1 or 2 minute rollers are important around here and are normally a strength for me, relative to steady-state FTP anyway)

@jackriddle2 I would stick with the plan. Are you really getting weaker? It takes a while to lose fitness and rest and recovery before an event can go a long way.

Am I really getting weaker? Hard to say. I’m happy with FTP and MAP gains; however I have not had anything with hard 1-2 minute efforts in prob a week or more, and nothing on the radar until my race. My left knee problems (patella misalignment) is flaring up for the first time in quite a while; the fix for that has always been to strengthen leg muscles. That’s really all I’ve got! Won’t know until I really load it I guess.

If you have not been regularly lifting in the past 10 weeks I would strongly advise against it so close to your event. If you feel like you need some hard efforts in your legs doing 4-5 x 1-2min MAP efforts that Saturday/Sunday before your event would be a better option.


Totally agree. I did what I thought was a modest lifting session with lower weight and fewer reps after about 6 weeks off. I felt fine during the workout, but my legs were screaming at me for 3 days after. It actually hurt to walk. While I don’t think I lost as much strength as a feared (I was active and using my muscles in other ways), my body had become completely unused to the peculiar strain of actually lifting heavy weights.