Increase your power and raise your FTP with a Build Training Phase. Totaling eight weeks, the Build Phase’s are structured to raise your FTP, improve your repeatability, and increase your work capacity. Build is also the first opportunity in a training progression to focus on the specific skills, and power capabilities demanded in your field of racing or riding.   


What is the Build Phase?

Up until this point, your training plan’s primary concern has been to establish your aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, and general base fitness. With this broad foundation in place you can now begin to target key skills and grow your FTP with a Build Training Phase.

The Build Phase is the second phase in the Base, Build, Specialty training progression. With an emphasis on challenging, goal-specific workouts, the Build Phase aims to raise your threshold power, improve repeatability, and increase work capacity for the specific demands of your primary goal, event, or discipline. 

Build achieves these goals with workouts that progressively challenge your aerobic, anaerobic, and neuromuscular energy systems. With more intensity than Base and higher loads of training stress than previous weeks, the Build Phase is considered the most challenging phase in the progression. Because it’s built off of base fitness, you won’t want to begin Build without completing Base first.

Increasing the Specificity of Your Training

Build also offers an opportunity to begin honing in on event-specific fitness. This is done with workouts that pair to particular power demands whether it’s short or sustained. With three different plan options, you can target sustained power capabilities, short power capabilities, or an even combination of the two. Deciding which you’d like to target begins with an assessment of the terrain you’re focusing on and the unique demands of your primary discipline. 

How to Choose a Build Plan

The best way to choose a Build Phase plan is to consider what would compliment your primary event’s terrain and structure. Are you an off-road athlete targeting an Olympic distanced XC race with lots of short steep climbs? Or are you a time trialist specialist aiming to achieve your fastest time on a flat 40k TT course? Regardless of what your focus is, there’s a Build Phase for you.

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It’s important to note that all three Build phases aim to improve your sustainable power output as well as your ability to output high power values for short durations. Two of the Build Phases emphasize one ability over the other. Sustained Power Build hones your steady-state efforts, while Short Power Build focuses on your short but high power outputs. The third plan, General Power Build combines the two for a more well rounded approach.

Sustained Power Build

If you’re planning on racing an event with several long sustained climbs or flats, the Sustained Power Build plan is the perfect plan for you. This plan is designed to develop the sustained power capabilities that steady-state athletes frequently rely on during longer climbs and long consistent outputs of power. Also, it’s well suited for ultra-endurance events.

With an emphasis on Sweet Spot, threshold, and VO2max workouts, this build plan targets your sustained power capabilities. This plan will pursue that outcome in a number of different ways. It’s effective in terms of increasing your strength endurance, fatigue resistance, and that ever-important mental ability to withstand long bouts of relentless discomfort. At the end of this plan, you’ll be able to sustain higher percentages of FTP for increasingly long durations.

Example Workout: Carpathian Peak +1 is an over-under threshold workout found in the mid-volume Sustained Power Build plan.

Traditionally this plan is well suited for multisport athletes, time trial specialists, century and gran fondo riders, and climbing road racers. Riders of any discipline who are facing a course with long sustained efforts can benefit from this plan.

Short Power Build 

The Short Power Build Plan is perfect for athletes preparing to race on courses with variable conditions and short punchy climbs. This phase places a greater emphasis on VO2max and anaerobic power while still increasing FTP.

That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of emphasis on long efforts. Even a short-power rider maintains a heavy reliance on sustained power. A toned-down emphasis on strength endurance will still find its way into this Short Power Build plan, while greater attention will fall on improving your ability to operate at high percentages of your VO2max power over and over again. At the end of this plan you’ll be able to throw down big watts for very short durations, repeatedly, with minimal recovery time. 

Example Workout: Mitchell is a VO2max workout found in the Short Power Build mid-volume plan.

Short Power Build is suited for more than just crit racers. This plan is typically well suited for short-distance off-road athletes, cyclocross racers, and track athletes. Road racers racing on variable courses with lots of punchy climbs may also find this plan is a good fit. 

General Power Build

The General Power Build plan is geared towards athletes whose discipline doesn’t emphasize one type of power output over another. It blends all types of power, intending to build higher forms of conditioning very evenly. If you don’t need to specialize in short or sustained power, then general power build is a good choice. 

The overriding goal of the General Power Build plan is to place a fairly even emphasis on Threshold training, VO2max work, and anaerobic intervals. The combination of this training is aimed to increase your repeatable, near-maximal power outputs, extend your ability to output power near your FTP, and repeat hard efforts in quick succession.

Example Workout: Spanish Needle -1 is an anaerobic workout found in the General Build mid-volume plan that targets your short power capabilities.
Example Workout: Galena +1 is a Threshold workout found in the General Power Build mid-volume plan that targets sustained power capabilities.

This phase’s goals are best suited for all-around racers like stage racers or athletes looking to build multi-faceted abilities because they like to compete in different types of riding or racing.

Build Training is Important for Every Cyclist

The build phase offers necessary skills for every cyclist—even those who don’t race. If you aren’t gearing your skills up for a race or a set challenge you can still benefit from the increased specificity of Build training. Doing a Build Phase now can give you the opportunity to launch into another phase of Base training next. This time, with a higher capacity for work and power. If you aren’t racing, simply choose the Build phase that most closely resembles the type of riding that you plan on doing, and work your way from there.

Build training also prepares cyclists for more specific training ahead. Without the fitness gained in Build, the aim of Specialty will be missed. Build your power now with a Build phase, so that it can be refined for your specific goals in the Specialty phase.



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Meghan Kelley

Meghan Kelley is a writer, XC MTB racer, and an all-around fan of trails, rocks, dirt, and the desert. She's passionate about helping cyclists get faster and finding the best mid-ride snacks.