Intermediate Cyclocross Training Plan / General, by The Sufferfest
Plan Length: 10 Weeks
Over the course of the next 10 weeks you will combine high intensity efforts with specific bike skill sessions. These will have you riding faster in a straight line and through the technical sections typical of any enterPAINing CX course. However, this plan is much more than just on the bike Suffering. Weekly yoga sessions will increase your flexibility as well as core strength, which will have you sitting more comfortably on the bike and insure all your power is getting directed to the pedals. At the end of these 70 days you will be a fitter, more agile and tougher version of yourself!
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.
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Sample Week of Training
Below is a week of training from this plan which represents the type of workouts you will be doing.
Rest Day - Day Off!
Bike - The Shovel
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Time to dig deep into the COURAGE mines. Real deep. No other workout runs the full range of 4DP like this one. The consistent inverse relationship between interval length and intensity pushes your AC to the very limit, ensuring that after each micro-interval your body recovers just enough to hit and hold your power target for the next interval...even if you don't think you can. The 5-10 second efforts hit your NM system hard. No holding back for these short efforts. All out means all out. The 15-60 second efforts all require significant anaerobic energy, but with so little rest your cardiovascular system never really gets a break. This not only stresses your AC as you try to recover, but it also pushes your MAP to its limit as your body tries to generate as much aerobic power as possible. Even though there is not a single interval in this workout that is longer than 60 seconds, each full set lasts more than 20 minute. The unrelenting aerobic stress turns this session into a surprisingly good FTP builder.
Cross Training - Breathing More DEEPLY
Beginner Diaphragmatic Breathing is a calming exercise that encourages you to breathe deeply into your abdomen.
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.
Cross Training - Yoga: In Couchlandria: The Office
Beginner If you're spending a lot of time sitting down in an office, stiffness, tension and soreness can creep into your body. That can affect your performance on the bike. This routine will counteract the damage done at the desk and ensure your body is ready to Suffer properly once you get on the bike.
Cross Training - Breathing To CRUSH THEM
Perhaps the only people more Badass than Sufferlandrians are Navy Seals. And this is the breathing exercise that Navy Seals do to calm down and focus themselves before major operations. Learn and use this technique before heading into your own major events and races.
Bike - Standing Starts
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 - 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.
Cross Training - Yoga: Recovery Booster
Beginner Sufferfest sessions tear your body down. It's in the periods between Sufferfest sessions, when you're recovering, that you become more powerful. This session helps boost your recovery time, relaxing you and ensuring you give your body the chance to grow stronger.
Cross Training - Yoga: Balance and Agility I
Advanced Maintaining effective cycling form when you're under pressure requires substantial balance, coordination, agility and core strength. This series will develop those capabilities so you can better Suffer in style
Cross Training - Yoga: Loosen Your Lower Back
Beginner This routine is designed to relieve pain and release tension in the lower back. These poses open up the hips, stretch the hamstrings and strengthen the core. We finish with a diaphragmatic breathing exercise to relax the body and let go of tension around areas of pain.
Bike - ISLAGIATT
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Who needs the alps when you have this abomination of climbing? If you're looking to churn out enough tempo work to make the domestiques at team sky look twice this is the one for you. Believe it or not, packing so much tempo into 2.5 hours gives this session the same endurance building power as a 5 hour "Zone 2" ride. That being said, tempo efforts burn through more carbohydrates than endurance pace, so don't forget to eat during this epic ascent.