I won’t be racing in 2019 so what is the best way to use the 2019 season to prepare for racing in 2020?

I wondered if anyone can offer any advice regarding how I might go about planning for the next two years of training.

I’ll outline my situation to give some context:

I’ve just finished a season of racing in the UK and I am taking a break before I plan to start structured training again at the end of October. It was a good season thanks to my first time using TR. I got a podium at my first A race, moved up a race category, and won my other A road race (my last race of the year!) in that new category. I’m 24 and have a cat 2 license. My FTP topped out at 324 and I race at 146 pounds - so 4.89 w/kg. I like going up hill, technical circuits, and hard 5-10 minutes efforts, but I really struggle in sprints and dislike one minute power efforts.

I am moving to Barcelona in February 2019 and although I would like to race during my first summer there, I think this might be an unrealistic expectation. Mainly because I am unfamiliar with the racing scene in Spain and I imagine it will take time to settle in, find a team, acquire a license, identify target races etc. All I can really be sure of right now is that the road races are going to be hilly, about 60-80 miles in length, and I should be in position to enter them by 2020.

My 2019 season doesn’t have a specific event or fitness peak to focus on. Therefore, I am unsure what I should do with my time. I know that whatever I do, I want to use 2019 to make me a stronger rider for my races in 2020. So my question is, given that I won’t be racing in 2019, what is the best way to use my 2019 season to become a stronger rider in 2020?

I know I have so many options available to me, so willing to hear people’s thoughts. I have two ideas for 2019 that I could follow.

1: Focus on improving my motor through endurance and sustained power work. Ultimately becoming better at time-trailing, with a big endurance base. I’d be ignoring the need to train short-power/aerobic power because I won’t be racing that year. So for 2019, something like…

Traditional Base I, II, III - Adding an extra week in II & III for improving time-trailling performance (14 weeks)
SSB (12 weeks)
Sustained Power Build (8 Weeks)
40K TT (8 Weeks) OR Sustained Power Build (8 Weeks)

Why repeat Sustained Power Build instead of Specialise with the 40K TT plan? Given that I have nothing to specialise for, I can just focus on trying to gain even more improvements in FTP?

It’s a total 42 Weeks. So after a week or two transition period, it would put me in a good position physically, and in terms of the calendar year, to start training for racing in 2020. 2020 would see me follow a BBS plan for a road racer (SSB>General>Climbing RR) to lead me into peak fitness.

2: Carry on training like I did in 2018, as if I was going to be racing. So for 2019, something like my 2018 plan history…

SSB/Traditional Base I, II, III (12 weeks)
Short/General Power Build (8 Weeks)
Rolling/Climbing Road Race (8 Weeks)
Transition (1 Week)
Short/General Power Build (8 Weeks)
Rolling/Climbing Road Race (8 Weeks)

A total of 45 weeks. Again, leaving me the with the option for a couple of transition weeks before heading into 2020, with a view to follow a typical BBS plan for a road racer (SSB>General>Climbing RR) to lead me into peak fitness.

I am leaning towards option 1 just to change things up and experiment. Also, I know that following a plan full of vo2/aerobic workouts like those in option 2, would be difficult to complete without target races to motivate me to do them.

But would I be doing myself a major dis-disservice by not training my short-power/aerobic power/sprint ability?



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Do you have a goal for 2020? This would really inform the decision I feel.

If you go back to the recent podcast with Pete Morris guesting in where the guys all discussed how they were going to approach their goals next year I think adopting @Jonathan 's approach is basically what you are doing anyway though for slightly different reasons.

My inclination based on where you are would probably be to go for SSB 1&2, followed by general build, and the speciality plan that makes sense (either rolling road or climbing road depending on the terrain of the races you are going to do) and just do this pattern twice.

Im not sure of the value in doing sustained power build and perhaps others could chime in here. My feeling is that you are better served doing the type of work you are going to need to do so unless you are going to be focusing on TT then the sustained possibly isnt right for you.

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Interesting topic. I’m in a similar boat for very different reasons. Suffice to say, I don’t know if I will race at all in 2019, but I’m excited to work with TR and get some cycling gains through the year anyway.

My thought is that I’m going to train as though I were going to race certain events next year, just without specific dates in mind. As a triathlete, generally focusing on sprint up through 70.3, I’m planning to go SSB - Sustained Power - 40K TT. If needed, I will repeat it. If I decide to race an event or an opportunity to do so opens up, I can always shift gears to a tri plan or even a Crit/Road Race plan if I find one of those to do instead. I know TR will show me FTP gains over the course of the season under the TT plans, and it’ll be specific to my currently preferred events whenever I get back into them.

I agree with brenph - why not train for what you think you’re most likely to do next, whether 2019 or 2020? It wouldn’t make sense for me to do a Crit plan as a triathlete unless I was just maxed out at my FTP gains by the sustained power plans. So I pose what I hope is a helpful question:

Have you plateaued your gains on the current TR plans?

If so, shake things up and do Option 1. If not, stick with what you’ve done with Option 2. Shifting stimulus could help break a plateau. But if you’re still achieving gains that are more focused on the style of racing you generally do by training for those events, I wouldn’t mess with it.

Okay so my goals for 2020 are a little vague right now. It is hard to determine because of my unfamiliarity with the Spanish racing scene. As I find out more information it’ll be clearer. But in general, I’d like to see myself being competitive in the lower category races - top tens and podiums would be a great start. With the hope that I attract attention from some of the regions racing teams.

My original thinking for spending a season working on time-trialing is that it will give me a chance to build my FTP to a higher peak than would be possible through the normal road racer plans. And then going into the next season I’d hopefully have a bigger FTP to start with.

I didn’t really plateau last season, I was still seeing FTP gains coming through my second build period. But I’d be interested to see just how I can push it up if that was my only focus.

I think your FTP would continue to grow even under a road plan, and you would hone those skills even more while being better prepared to jump into an event when the time comes. Either way, I’m not sure you have a wrong choice