How to start training out of "sync" with the year?

So I am just digging into real structured training (I intended to start a couple weeks back, but some races and then subsequent illness delayed it). I know most base plans start in October after some time “off” after the season ends, but I don’t really want to just free ride for a couple months before starting to get fitter. I’m planning on starting the mid-volume sweet spot base. Should I extend the base phase, and then do the normal timing on the build and specialized? (probably trying to finish in march(ish) for the beginning of the season). Or should I add more time in the build/specialized phases? Or perhaps I should just finish the plans early, and then do a second specialized to broaden peaked fitness a bit?

When do you want to have your first fitness peak next year?

All of those questions are more easily answered with that piece of information

Around late march. I don’t know exactly when the first race of the season will be, but i’m also not SUPER worried about peaking as I am just growing fitness. I’ll be doing every race I can for learning purposes, but I know even with PERFECT peaking i’m still behind a ways on experience/power. This is why im leaning on just extending sweet spot base. Maybe do 12 weeks of sweet spot mid 1->2 and then do high volume SS base 6 week to make a super base that also transitions me up to around 10 hr/week, which is my long term time commitment goal?

This data point

and this data point…don’t really agree

If you’re looking to do a season’s worth of racing without a real peak, targeted A race then you should probably be trying to finish a build phase in April 1st and then going into Specialty around April/May

So work backwards from there. Finishing build at the end of March means finishing base at the end of January, which means starting Base in November.

Basically that gives you 12ish weeks until you start that base phase. You could do a full base in the meantime. More base is almost never a bad idea - you just run the risk of mental fatigue from doing the same thing back to back. If that’s a concern for you then you could do 6 weeks of base and then throw in a build or partial build before circling back to your meaningful base starting in November


I guess I do have a race next year that I could call an A race, and it’s in June. I’m guessing I don’t want to make my first peak that late, so I should probably still start a specialization phase earlier in the year, yes?

It’s totally normal for people to plan around their primary event being that late or later. If everything prior to that June race is of secondary importance then by all means build a plan around that being your first (and potentially only) peak of the year.

This doesn’t mean you can’t race prior to and after that point, just means that’s when you’ll be at your sharpest

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good to know! that seems perfect. So if I plan on peaking there, that gives me 20 weeks between next week and late december when I would start the SS base 1 to peak in june. I could fit a SS base 1/2 and a short power build phase, then start that late dec build phase. Assuming I have the mental conviction to sustain that, is there anything else I should consider?

I’d suggest you add a few weeks of cushion in to that timeline so you can adjust if life gets in the way. Vacations, work trips, illness - anything can interrupt you and having some give in your scheduling can help quite a bit

Otherwise I think you’ve got it all settled

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is it typical to add cushion between phases? or is it intended to be straight through?

In a perfect world, straight through with no additional gaps. The plans are meant to run directly back-to-back.

Stating that, we all know ‘perfect’ is a rare achievement. We will commonly deal with sickness, work interruptions, family obligations, injuries, and any number of other influences may lead us to get stuck or miss workouts. Adding an extra week between the phases gives a bit more freedom to handle those issues (when the likely arise), rather than trying to squish the plans when the ‘perfect’ plan falls apart.

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