Build Plans before CX Specialty Plan

Hi All,

My plan is to start the CX specialty plan in mid August. Just finished SSB2 LV. I’m a mid pack Cat 5 racer, but I’ve seen a tremendous improvement in FTP this year with TR and think I can do much better this year. (219 FTP, 3.3 w/kg). I’m 46 and just started racing 2 years ago.

I’m the fence between general build and short power build. Short power seems to line up better with the demands of cross, but I still think I need to improve my overall fitness / capabilities and I enjoy the occasional fast group ride. I also respond well to sweet spot and threshold work.

What’s been your experience been going into CX season using either the general build or short power build plan? Does the short power build plan provide that much more of an advantage over the general build plan? If you did the general build before CX, did you feel unprepared going into the specialty phase.

Thanks for the feedback/insight.

I’ve just started structure training this year, but my main focus is CX as well. My target is to start the CX specialty plan in august as well. What I’ve been doing was SSB1 and SSB2 and I then moved on to Short Power Build. I finished this a few weeks ago. I had asked the question as what to do when you have ‘too much time.’ I’ll find the link for you. TLDR version: People recommended the SSB1+2, then the short power build. If there is time left over (as there is for me) then alternate base/bulid/base/build until the start time for specialty.

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Here is that thread I started

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Im also a CX rider but a lot more senior in years, 63 this year. Started TR in January and did SSB1MV, then RRMV build and loosly now in the speciality Crit plan with one or two road races or crits a week.
The plan is to go back to SSB1MV in August then Short Power build-LV , speciality CX-LV in November. Im using low volume as there will be a fair amount of skills and outdoor riding.
I’ve not done SSB2 yet, am interested in what others say about this plan. For me the TR workouts are icing on the cake, as the CX rides and group sessions are my basic preparation for racing.

I’m doing short power build LV before CX specialty. In fact I’m kind of scaling back the workouts because my legs just aren’t fully prepared to handle the vo2/anaerobic stress of a full length workout. Hopefully I can be a little more forgiving to myself in the build phase and cut myself some slack so that I can suffer more for specialty

Last year, I kind of jumped straight into specialty and it wasn’t too bad, I had been doing sweet spot and endurance leading up to a gran fondo in July and once I was back from vacation I went into specialty and was able to tolerate it somewhat well, but I think a build cycle would have built up my pain tolerance a bit better.

@hubcyclist, I use the planned workouts as a guide, then trim them using Workout Creator to be more tolerable for my age and make them suitable for youth riders in our group. That way i hope to get to races with sharp but not tired legs.

I was wondering about the build plan before CX specialty too…I was going to do short power build as recommended, but thinking about the amount of time I spend grinding through the mud during a race, I wonder if a bit more of sustained power wouldn’t hurt. When looking at the SPB LV plan, there are nearly no threshold sessions, and while that looks lovely to me, I do wonder if that’s the right way to go?

While it’s always great to work on threshold, it’s just tough to do any type of steady efforts in a race. it’s more about taking corners, accelerating, another corner, repeat. It’s all a series of short bursts followed by brief moments of easing up, so that’s why the microburst workouts are in the plan. I really hate doing these on the trainer, and I’m never really good at them, but in race situations I could definitely tell the training was working because I wasn’t hurting and burning nearly as much as in my first season of racing.

You are likely right, it might just feel like a long time going steady when you’re not going very fast in the mud. But thinking about it, in maybe an 8 minute lap, there are probably about 30?!? (completey guess) changes in speed, and 8 minutes wouldn’t even be long for sitting at threshold.

I did SPBLV last year and I came away thinking it wasn’t a great match for me. There is a focus on 2-3 minutes @ 115-120% and in retrospect that’s just not how I put down power in a cross race. Worse, I find those kinds of efforts especially taxing/demoralizing. I finished like a week before CX started and I just felt woefully under-gunned despite being clearly stronger. I still did much better initially than the prior year, but not as impressive as I would have thought. As the season progressed and I worked through the shorter, high intensity repeats of specialty, I got markedly better results – I think because this more closely matches the race dynamic.

So this year I’m doing general build. Finishing it earlier (a little too early, perhaps, as it turns out). Planning a couple week block of that “sprint” stuff to get used to the intensity, before finally moving on to CX specialty.

Short power - but I don/t really follow it that close. I try to. Short power with weekend road races still for me or mid week crits with long weekend rides still. I’m mid pack cat 3 who gets roasted with two to go. So, take it for what it’s worth.
July and August for me are basically lots of tempo, 40/20s or 30/30s outside or inside, weekday crit, one of the TR short power workouts with 1-3 min v02, weekend crit, lots of sweet spot.

Thanks everyone. I tend to agree that the SPB is likely a better fit just not so sure I’m looking forward to longer V02 max workouts on a trainer, which probably means I need to get out of my “comfort” zone doing threshold work.