Novice Cyclocross Training Plan / Non-4DP / Designed for Strength Training
Plan Length: 12 Weeks
By the end of this training plan not only will you be fitter and faster, but your handling skills will be better than ever before. Not all improvements are going to come from the bike though. We’ve programmed some timely yoga sessions to increase your flexibility and core strength, enabling you to put the power down at will. This plan also incorporates The Sufferfest Strength Training Programme to build power and endurance, improve balance, and get you ready to crush those run-ups.
Note: These plans are designed to be used with The Sufferfest Training System. You will need to download and install The Sufferfest for iOS, macOS or Windows to access the workouts associated with these plans. To get started:
- Go to https://thesufferfest.com/pages/get-started and download the app for your device.
- Create your account to start your free 7-day trial.
- Use promo code SURGE30 to get 30 days free or $12.99 off your annual subscription.
For questions about The Sufferfest please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Week of Training
Below is a week of training from this plan which represents the type of workouts you will be doing.
Bike - Butter
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Smooth like butter. Grace under pressure. It's what we're focusing on in this session as you accumulate plenty of time at a high aerobic workload. A good warm-up leads you into two sets of five 90-second intervals with 3-minutes of "recovery" between each. Instead of full gas intervals followed by super low intensity recovery, these efforts are hard, but the real sting (and training benefit) comes from the incomplete recovery you face between intervals. These "recovery" efforts are at the upper end of Z2, meaning you still need quite a bit of oxygen to keep that power churning. By keeping the intervals themselves under your Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) AND not allowing complete recovery, your body will burn through your Anaerobic Capacity (AC) before the end of each set, forcing your body to produce that power aerobically. Your body goes through that same transition near the 3-minute mark of the 5-minute test during Full Frontal, but with this session not only is it less painful, you end up with more total time in that aerobically dependent state. Endurance sports are all about churning through as much oxygen as possible, and few other workouts see you churning this hard and for this long.
Other - Week 2
Bike - Post Strength Spin
Think of this as your cool down from your strength session. Keep your Power well below 50% of FTP, just let the easy pedaling flush out your legs so they can start repairing themselves faster and be ready for tomorrow!
Bike - Recovery Spin
Very easy ride Resist the temptation to go harder or faster. Power should remain under 50% of FTP the entire time, and Heart Rate should never go above Z1
Bike - Who Dares
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Imagine you're out on a group ride where the tempo is high and you're working hard. Suddenly, someone surges. You do a quick sprint to go after them and quickly get their wheel. The stress of the effort, though, catches up with you and even though the pace settles down to where it was before, you struggle to hold the wheels. Who Dares is a workout that teaches your body to recover from those efforts more effectively so you can keep riding hard. The workout is based on three nine-and-a-half-minute sub-FTP intervals that feature three sprints - one at the start, one at the middle and one at the end. These sprints flood your body with metabolites (lactate, etc.) and then the sustained sub-FTP efforts force your body to clear them out while still working hard. To make the session even more effective, Who Dares also asks your body to do this work at different cadences, stimulating the nervous system and forcing your body to become even more effecient.
Bike - Standing Starts **Before Strength**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Standing starts closely simulate a lifting session on the bike because it requires the engagement of your core, upper and lower body. Standing starts will train your ability to generate force through the pedals by forcing you to recruit all of your musculature. No matter your prefered discipline, these efforts are key to teaching your body to recruit all of the muscle fibers in your legs. The saying "Use it or Lose it" actually does apply here. All of the benefit in this session comes from hitting these 20 seconds effort as hard as you possibly can. To do that, you need full recovery between each sprint, and you need to respect that recovery! These efforts should see you start at super low RPMs with very high torque, as the effort continues your cadence will naturally increase. Your goal is to get your cadence as high as possible by the end of each 20 second effort. To maximize your muscle recruitment you want to both push down and pull up on the pedals at the start. Proper core engagement is a must, your legs need a good strong backboard to push against. We understand that not everyone's trainer has the necessary resistance, or the required stability, to perform this workout as described. For stability issues you can get much of the same benefit by doing these efforts seated. If your trainer can't handle the rapid change in speed, or does not have high enough resistance at super a super low cadence then you can start the efforts are a higher cadence and simply treat them as "normal" all out sprints.
This is a session that can be done indoors or outdoors. If done outdoors, come to a slow roll in your largest Chain Ring and your 3rd or 4th smallest cog on your rear cassette. Complete the same set of 4 x 20sec maximal start efforts, with 6-8 minutes of easy spinning between.
Cross Training - Skill Building
This skills session is designed to mimic a variety of challenging course conditions and scenarios you will encounter on race day. The skills practiced here are done below race pace so you can focus on proper execution. To properly complete this ride you will need to find a field with the following features and bring along some equipment: A set of stairs, ideally with enough area at the top to practice re-mounting your bike. A flat, open area to practice Figure 8s. Use water bottles or cones to mark the corners. A hill to practice off-camber riding. Barriers about shin high, which can be made from PVC pipe or improvised using your imagination (and a few water bottles). Here's how to tackle this session: Warm-up for 10-15 minutes Z1/Z2 spinning, include 2 x 1 minute Z3 efforts to warm up. Stairs. Complete 3-4 sets: Approach the stairs at a decent speed (but don't go over a Z3 effort). Dismount and focus on the technique needed to maintain your momentum up the stairs. Experiment with both the timing of your dismount and how you hold your bike while running up the stairs. You may wish to sling it over your shoulder or pick it up by the top tube and handlebars. At the top remount as smoothly as possible while trying to maintain your forward momentum. Figure 8s. Complete 5-10 minutes: For more info on Figure 8s read "Tips for Figure 8s". Set up two bottles or cones roughly 20m apart and practice your Figure 8s. Focus on maintaining your speed, and try to avoid accelerating or surging out of the "turns". If you're feeling frisky you can break up the Figure 8s with 50-75m Field Runs every couple minutes. Barriers. Complete 4-8 sets: Next, set up some barriers (you can make a portable set from PVC pipe, or you can use some water bottles and your imagination). Hit your barrer section at a decent speed (again trying to avoid going over Z3). Practice and perfect the timing of your dismount and remount. The key here is keeping your leg speed quick and nimble between the barriers! Off-Camber Riding. Complete 5-10 minutes: Ride to the top of the hill and then ride along the length of the crest. Try to hold a straight line while not gaining or losing elevation. Turn around and ride it in the opposite direction. As your off-camber skills develop you can try riding faster and faster to see where your limit is, and sometimes that means going over it! Be safe, but remember that you won't know what you can and can't do until you try! Finish with 5-10 minutes of easy spinning to cool down.
Cross Training - Race Sim Skills
This skills session is designed to develop skills for a variety of challenging course conditions and mimic scenarios you will encounter on race day. The skills practiced here are done at race pace so you can focus on proper execution while under pressure. To properly complete this ride you will need to find a field with the following features and bring along some equipment: A set of stairs, ideally with enough area at the top to practice re-mounting your bike. A flat, open area to practice Figure 8s. Use water bottles or cones to mark the corners. A hill to practice off-camber riding. Barriers about shin high, which can be made from PVC pipe or improvised using your imagination (and a few water bottles). BONUS: an area with sand or deep and loose dirt. Here's how to tackle this session: Warm-up for 10-15 minutes Z1/Z2 spinning, include two 3-5 second hard accelerations. Hole Shot + Stairs. Complete 2 sets: Simulate your race start by lining up 300-400m away from the stairs, in your starting gear and with one foot unclipped. Countdown from 10 and you're OFF! Clip in and complete an all out 15 second effort. Work on shifting up smoothly during the effort as you would in a race. Continue the effort around Z3/Z4 effort for 60 seconds while riding towards the base of the stairs. Dismount and run up the stairs and remount at the top. Between the first and second set, do 50-100m of Field Running. Barriers. Complete 4-6 sets: Set up some barriers (you can make a portable set from PVC pipe, or you can use some water bottles and your imagination). Starting about 100m out from your barriers, speed towards the barriers at race pace. The challenge is to focus on the timing of your dismount and remount and to keep you leg speed high between the barriers in order to maintain the most momentum. Figure 8s. Complete 5-10 minutes: For more info on Figure 8s read "Tips for Figure 8s". Set up 2 bottles about 30m apart and practice your Figure 8s. To simulate a race scenario, drive your first 3-4 pedal strokes super hard coming out of each "turn". Alternate seated efforts and standing efforts and experiment with your gearing to find the best fit for your desired cadence and power. Sand Pit. Complete 5-10 minutes: If you also have access to a sand pit then finish with 4-6 efforts through the sand. See "Tips For Sand" to master this skill. Finish with 5-10 minutes of easy spinning to cool down.