Setting up your week of training for the race season is one of the many important aspects in accomplishing your CX goals this year. Too much volume and intensity will result in a tired body on race day (per Rob Nichols – “don’t use up your race legs on Wednesday!”), while too little will undermine your ability to go deep into the season and get better as it goes along.
You need to work on intensity, skills, endurance and recovery in a way that allows you to bring it all together for race day. Keep in mind that going hard on any given day will actually make you slower for the next 24 to 48 hours at least. It is the “supercompensation” that can only come after a tough ride followed by proper recovery that makes you stronger, and more on that from the Master here.
A typical week
Monday – off, or strength maintenance in the gym
Tuesday – easy active recovery ride. 1 – 1.5 hours in zone 1-2 heart rate/power.
Wednesday – tough ride. This is a great day for anaerobic intervals or bandit CX.
Thursday – active recovery and skills. Have a nice easy warm up to give the legs a chance to recover from the Wednesday ride. Hit some turns at speed, do a few short starts, mounting and dismounting….etc. Get the reps in while maintaining an easy to moderate effort.
Friday – off completely
Saturday – Opener. 1-1.5 easy ride with a few short (30 – 60 seconds) and intense efforts. Do a few more short starts and easy barriers as well and get a good long warm down in.
Sunday – Race
If you are racing on Saturday then simply take Thursday off completely and do your opener on Friday. Recovery weeks are also a necessary piece of the puzzle, but more on that later. You may respond better to a hard day on Thursday rather than Wednesday, and the only way to figure that out is to try both. The most agreed upon gap between a hard workout and your best performance is 72 hours, but with at least one race every weekend in this series save Thanksgiving my opinion is that an extra day of easy prior to the weekend is best. It also seems that the younger you are the more likely you’ll be feeling good again after 72 hours of recovery. Bottom line is that not everyone is the same and so it is important to experiment to find what works best for you.
One of the great things about cyclocross is that the preparation doesn’t require too much time on the bike. You can get away with 8-12 hours per week depending on your category and be totally prepared for the effort. The key is in your progression throughout the off-season and race season, and going into each day with a specific goal. That goal can vary from keeping the legs up and doing nothing to help with recovery, to riding at your absolute limit. The art of coaching is in piecing these aspects together properly as they will be the difference between reaching your goals and not.
Game on….see you at LaBagh Woods.
Training Bible athlete Jake Peterson continued his WORS success with more good results, a Cat 1 upgrade and a great race at the Midwest Mountain Bike Championships. Jake finished 2nd in his age group and 14th overall in the Cat 1 Championship Race. He wasn’t done though, and set his mind to racing 100 miles at 10,000 feet.
Going into the mountain bike season Jake and I knew he was going to race the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, and that he was going to have a short gap to properly prepare for it. The shorter mountain bike races were his focus and there wasn’t much room for epic training rides with the Midwest MTB Championships at the end of July. Jake’s goal was to finish Leadville, but here at Training Bible Cycling we all knew conquering the Race Across The Sky wasn’t going to be a problem for Jake.
In the month leading up to the race we found a few opportunities between Jake’s busy work schedule and “A” mountain bike races to fit in cringe-worthy Leadville training rides. The rides were long Z2/Z3 rides with epic FTP intervals throughout to mimic the 12,000 feet of climbing Jake would endure at the race. Some of these training rides didn’t go as planned due to unexpected time constraints and bike issues, but to Jake’s advantage he was able to get out to CO a week before the race to help acclimate. He also had TBC coaches, TBC nutritionists and Leadville-conquering TBC athletes providing race prep and race advice so that he was well prepared.
Most unfortunately, Jake had to break in a new bike during the week leading up to the race due to ongoing bike issues. Yikes! He stayed calm, got it done and got an awesome new bike in the process. Jake ended up tackling his first Leadville race in 9 hours and 45 minutes. After the race I encouraged him to hang up his bike and put riding out of his mind during his time off before the start of his cyclocross training. With only a year of bike racing under his belt Jake couldn’t help but set Leadville goals for next year. Crazy kid.
Colorado grabbed hold of Jake and didn’t let go. After Leadville he settled into Golden, CO and he is now going to school in Denver. He recently lined up for his first CX race alongside Jeremy Powers and didn’t even get lapped!
We are proud to call Jake Peterson a Training Bible athlete, and definitely more to come on this kid.