Low Volume Sweet Spot and Crits

I like to attend cross-fit classes in the fall, as I feel it’s a good change of pace for my 50 year old body. I have the time to do the low volume version of the Sweet Spot plan as well. I’m hoping this will give me enough of a base so that I can start my build plan in the new year. I race mainly 60-90 minute crits. Does anyone have any experience with the low volume plans and races of this duration? Does it provide enough of a base?

A bit confused what you are asking. I’m just finishing the SSB Low Vol I+II (and close enough to your age!) but it does not provide the fitness to race crits. It is, however, more than reasonable to use as a base phase.
Caveat – I did add 1 extra Sweet Spot workout and 1 extra Endurance workout to the plan, so…the true plan might be a bit light for your goals.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. I plan to follow the base with mid-volume build and specialty. I’ve always done a mid-volume base in the past. I was hoping to do the low volume base this time, along with cross-fit, then move straight in to mid-volume build. I was wondering if that’s reasonable.

Whilst I’m not your age, I did train SSB Low Vol I last year, then moved into Base and I did pretty well in UK crits.

I was also completing longer outdoor weekend rides but nothing too taxing and certainly no structure.

Based on my experience, your plan will serve you well.

I wouldn’t count on CrossFit to provide much in terms of cycling applicable fitness. Based on my personal experience racing one season while training and using CrossFit, I think your performance will suffer under the stress of CrossFit workouts and TrainerRoad. You won’t train as hard on the bike, and much of what you will do in CrossFit won’t make you faster. That said, CrossFit has a lot of other benefits - social, competition, good overall fitness and strength - so it depends on your priority. If you want to do well in Crits, train to do well in crits.

I dare say that Cross Fit will help develop short explosive power though. Crucial coming out of the corners and getting into the break.

True, I did notice a bump in my burst power from all the explosive movements. That said, the detriment to my sustained power and specifically to my ability to swim, cycle, and run at desired intensities in training was much greater, and my performance in races suffered for it. I believe CrossFit is suitable for off-season strength and some cardio work for cross training. I think perhaps for an untrained or low-trained athlete, a protocol like CrossFit Endurance can improve their long-distance times by providing intensity which they otherwise lack vs. a downloaded generic training plan, etc. For me, it did not work and in fact was detrimental to my racing. That may not apply to all.

I race about 10-15 crits a year and have been relegated to low volume plans due to fatherhood with two young children. My anecdotal evidence is you’ll be just fine. A reasonably fit cyclist with any inkling of decent racecraft will manage just fine in 60-90 min (from a base perspective). Hitting the two hour and above at race pace, I iwould think, would tend to reveal weakness in your base.

For time crunched folks like us, SSB is the way to go.

I’d worry less about your base and make sure your specialization is on point.

Thanks fellas. I should have clarified that I plan to complete the full mid-volume build and specialty plans for crits. I’ve just been hoping that I could get away with doing the low volume base this fall at the same time as my cross-fit, then jump into the mid-volume build in January. I usually don’t start SS base until Dec./Jan and was hoping this would put me ahead of the game a little.

When you get into the specialty phase, were you thinking about doing CrossFit then, too? During base, probably not a bad idea to do CrossFit. Even if only for the social aspect :slight_smile: Within Specialty, harder to say. Even the low-volume Crit Specialty features 3 exceedingly difficult workouts per week! Not saying it’s impossible, just not sure what the best structure for it would be. A CrossFit Endurance protocol was (I say “was” because it no longer exists as a formal organization within CrossFit) 3-4 days per week featuring a CF workout (usually strength + “metcon”) followed by a sport-specific interval workout. Days between were typically rest or easy sessions. I did this for awhile, and found that it got me to be a coherent finisher in Cat4 races, but in order to compete, I had to specialize at some point.

I still lift 2-3x/week. Either working up to a heavy triple in squat/dead followed by more reps at a lower percentage, or 4-6 sets of heavy doubles. Have typically done this year-round, not sure that’s the smartest. During base though? Why not.