40 Weeks - what to do?

Is it too early to mention 2020…? :thinking:

Have completed my A race 4 weeks ago, I’m fired up to return to it in 2020 and want to start 2nd week Sept to get ahead of my team mate. This gives me approx 40weeks (allowing for holidays booked and a 3-4 weeks flex)

I guess I have 2 choices. (both will be mid vol)

a) Base 1 - Base 2 - 2 x build (with 1 or 2 week break) - Specialisation
b) Base 2 - Build - Base 2 - Build - Specialisation (note: 1st build short pwr, 2nd build sustained)

I’m 47, but have a 20yr running / cycling history (approx 6-10hrs per week), if it makes any differance the race is a 7 day MTB stage race.

Any experience of which works best? (or any other suggestions)

A great reference:


This is timely as I actually was reading that article a few days ago.

What I found interesting was this part:

(8-12 Weeks) Double Up on Base

When you are doing a complete second Base Phase, you have the option of repeating Sweet Spot Base at a higher FTP, or switching it up and doing both of our Base Plans in the same season.

What this looks like is you will embark on Traditional Base first, and upon its completion, you will jump into the Sweet Spot Base Plan. If you have eight weeks to “spend”, then simply do the first two phases of Traditional Base before jumping into the full 12. If you have the full 12 Weeks, then you can do all three phases. If you have 8-12 Weeks, then you can trim out Week 3 from each phase to reduce the total duration.

Now it’s interesting to see the comment to Trad Base, because I got looking into Trad Base vs. SS Base and came away with the conclusion based on other TR blog postings that unless you have more than 8-10 hours/wk that SS Base was the preferred plan to follow.

This would have me doing SSB1-SSB2-SSB1-SSB2-Build-Spec, with the hope being that

  1. My FTP grows between the first 1/2 combo before repeating the second 1/2 combo, and;
  2. I come away with a big broad aerobic foundation I can then build upon

What I did do in calendar for the first 1/2 combo was swap the Sunday Sweet Spot rides for a long 2-3hr endurance ride just so that I am continuing to grow that capability and can hopefully then carry it through long term. Nothing like watching Sunday morning football doing 200w for 3hrs.

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It’s definitely not too early to start 2020 planning, particularly if you have even a B race in March/April timeframe.

We have similar situations re: time available and I plan to repeat what worked really well for me this past year - extend both the base and build periods (for me it was SSMVI and MVII). However, the approach I use requires that you have more than the typical TR 60-90 mins/session available as the sessions become more challenging.

While growing FTP was important, of equal, if not greater importance was growing fatigue resistance [for short duration it is measured as Time-to-Exhaustion, a measure of how long you can hold your FTP]. I follow Tim Cusick’s (WK0) Progressive Intervals (Time-in-Zone). So, for each of Sweet Spot, Threshold, and Lactate clearing (over/unders), I added more sessions that got longer and harder (SS, for example, reached 4x20; this year I will be targeting 4x30). The results were that each time I achieved a new FTP, my TTE would drop to 30-35mins. However, through progressive interval training, I would consistently get my TTE to 63-65 mins. This formed the foundation of the pyramid (i.e. wide base) for building VO2Max, FRC and Stamina (long duration fatigue resistance).

BTW: I’m a road racer, but I can easily imagine that fatigue resistance is hugely important to a MTB stage race.

SOmeone’s been following some webinar notes :wink:

When you were building your TTE workouts were you (following the Mid Vol Plan for ex) keeping the standard tues/weds/thurs workouts per TR and then adapting the Sat/Sun to be more TTE specific? OR were you building the entire plan custom.

My approach is actually a mixture of TR and custom (Friel, Coggan/Cusick):

I am not time-crunched, so I make hard days really hard with either days off or recovery/endurance rides between them plus weekend long endurance rides (all old school).

I do most TR workouts in progression (not following their days), and modify them to give me the Time-in-Zone I am looking for (I use a spreadsheet to follow/track TC’s progression approach).

Lots of minor mods, but that’s the high level.

Prior to buying a trainer I used basic training principles to do longer and longer intervals, eventually taking them out to almost 70 minutes. I’m thinking of doing the same in TR, more info in this thread.

Great thread!

I am pretty much in a same boat as my ‘A’ event is about 44 weeks away. I should mention I have had a very low volume past year so at the moment I am getting back to it. I have approximately 10-12 hours a week of time available. My plan:

5 week prep (DONE)
16 week base (long endurance and TTE type rides over the weekend & TR workouts during the week)
8 week Build (TR)
6 week Base (volume & TTE)
4 week Build (TR)
8 week Specialty (TR)

This is total of 42 weeks which would give 2 weeks for “life happened and I just couldn’t do it”.

I’d like to break Base in two parts to keep my motivation going and for an appropriate training stimulus. I also feel that extending build too much would be quite taxing. At the same time I am debating whether that 6 week Base in the middle would keep me improving or whether it is just a nice way to pass time to make my Specialty phase align with the ‘A’ race.

You’re correct that unless you have more than 8-10 hours/week then SS Base is the best approach. And even if you have more than 8-10 hours/week then best approach might still be SSB with one ride subbed out for a long (4+ hours) endurance ride. And/or more time spent on sleeping, strength work, etc if those are limiters.

But it’s also true that doing the same thing over and over is a recipe for stagnation, both mentally and physically. 24 weeks is an awful lot of SS work. So you may well find that you respond better to some different stimulus by doing Traditional Base first instead. I find Traditional Base work is the easiest training to improve body composition if that’s something you need to do.

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