Planning cyclocross training

First time TR user, first time doing any structured workouts. Obvious biking noob. I got convinced to do cyclocross this year. Have been a casual cyclist for 2 years and wonder how best to structure my training through the cyclocross season. I did see the podcast where coach Chad recommended starting the specialized cyclocross plan at the beginning of the season so peak fitness is at the end of the season. Makes sense to me and I plan to do that with the mid volume plan. This plan has workouts Sat/Sun. Races in cat C where I will be for at least this year I assume will not carry much TSS as they are short (30min). Should I continue to do the Saturday and Sunday workouts during the race season? This seems like it might be too much especially as there is a weekly race on Saturday or Sunday. Do I just drop the workout on race day?
Thanks for the help!

race TSS is not going to be representative of actual stress and recovery required even though the race is short.

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Lots of the previous discussion on this topic indicates that even the low volume plan is too much during race season. As a beginner, I think you would be better off trying to follow the low volume plan. It has three workouts per week, depending on how you recover, you could try to do all three during the week, and add the weekend race, or do two workouts, and substitute the last one with the race. To be honest, depending on your skill level, I’d do two workouts max and use the rest of the time for at least one cross skills session outdoors.

Oh and yes, the races will fry you, even if they’re short. TSS isn’t a good measure of race stress for short races like cross.

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If you are a beginner I would consider starting with either SSB low volume, or if you have been riding a lot this summer maybe a general or short power LV build.

On the podcast, Nate, Jonathan, and coach Chad always recommend the low volume plan. Three works outs per week is perfect, you can always add and adjust as you need fit.

Sounds good. Thanks!

Find a local practice and go to that on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. Skills and starts and surges are critical, especially your first year. I think practice is more important than doing specific workouts in your first season. Racing on the weekends will be enough plus going hard at practice. Grow thick skin and be totally prepared to be humbled. Just keep working at it. I would go into the season with as much fitness as possible. But you are where you are at this point. Good luck with it and have fun!

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The plan is too much in season, as said, - A cross race will bury you, so laying on three HIIT sessions on top every week would be massively optimistic and prob counterproductive. The most important thing when you start is to get as much racing under your belt as possible, as it is a hugely technical discipline, train skills, and to make it fit into the rest of your life.

In season I’ll do something like race, run (short, more like a jog to condition the legs), one TR session, and 2-3 hr CX ride outside (mixed sort of of terrain, steady but some efforts) each week - that plus an hrs commute each day is more than enough for me. Others might do more and can take more intensity, but in general crushing the turbo is not the order of the day once you’re in race season.

Have fun with it - such an absorbing discipline and you’ll always be battling for places no matter where you are in the field.

Thanks everyone! I should have mentioned I have completed the short power build low volume last week with adding out door rides to increase TSS to the mod volume plan amount. Just starting the specialized phase. Sounds like the consensus is to train less than the plans recommend during the season. I think my plan will be to do the low volume plan as I need the structure and then try and mix in skills as I can.

Thanks everyone!

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Like @msanford said, practice is more important than specific workouts.
Last season I raced fixed crits until October and then took two weeks off to recover for cross season. Found I didn’t have much time in the evenings last year, so missed most (read: all but two) of the local CX training sessions and only did indoor rides. First race did not go to plan. I had much better fitness, power, weight last season, but hadn’t worked on the basics. So I had a fantastic start and a great first part of the first lap, but then when the technical section came I went from 6th wheel, straight back to the back (where I started).

The season before I went to most of the CX training sessions and ended up doing much better, as the fitness/power came with the training, but the skills and confidence were there from the gun, as opposed to realising “hmm…I haven’t ridden off-camber yet this season” in a race that has a lot of off-camber.

If you can, commute to work and find some grass/gravel/trail you can fit in on the commute (a 5 min detour is worth it) and practice some simple skills there. Don’t neglect the indoor/interval sessions, but in my experience, for CX you need to rely on your skills more than your fitness.

Best of luck! #crossisboss

So a lot of us are pointing you to CX practice, skills, along with the races being enough . . . ie less TR training in season. Where TR really comes in handy during a CX season for me is 1) on a days you want to do recovery, doing something like Dans or Taku - keeps you honest and not overdoing it. 2) There will likely be a stretch in the season where weekend family obligations interrupt a race or just no races on either Sat/Sun, rain on the night CX practice, etc . . for those stretches or missed practices, that’s where you can supplement with structure and workouts from the CX specific TR rides. Again good luck and ask a lot of questions!

Update, I won my first ever cyclocross race! Cat C so not the big dogs but either way felt great. Definitely felt the increased fitness from trainer road played a huge role. Also did a lot of cornering drills thanks to all the advice from the forum.

On to Cat B and we will see how that goes next week!


Nice! I got lapped by the entire field in my first C category race, so you’re lightyears ahead of me!