Racing USA Crits during summer

Planning B/B/S to get me to the start of my season with a focus on hitting as many USA CRITS races as possible in 2019. Whats the best plan for racing and recovering during the summer months if i plan to hit races that aren’t equal distance (duration?) from each other? This doesn’t leave time for a build or specialty phase in-between events.


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You can replace the Saturday workouts in the Crit Specialty plan with races. I’d plan to end the crit specialty plan right at my A race for the season (State championships? Nats?) or the last crit race you’re planning to do.

I’m a bit confused as to what you are asking so if I don’t fully answer your question, just let me know. :slight_smile:

Since you will be racing quite a bit, you will have to race during your specialty phase. Coach Chad wrote about how to go about this in his article: How to Coach Yourself to Peak Fitness

Also, if you are trying to peak twice during your season, we recommend finishing your first specialty phase and then going through the last 2-4 weeks of a build phase before re-specializing for your next event.

If you are asking which training plans are best, I would go with Sweet Spot Base 1 and 2, Short Power Build, and then the Criterium Specialty plan.

I hope this helps!

I believe what hes trying to say is the time between the usa crit races isnt always week to week sometimes there are 2-3 weeks between them.
i think hes asking how to maintain fitness after completing B/B/S. with the crit plan ending sometime in april/may.

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Chad talked about this in that same article I linked to above. Here is a direct link to that section of it: Training Plan Guide: How to Coach Yourself to Peak Fitness

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Thanks for the info, Ian. I dont see a second peak being practical with how inconstant the duration between races are (some weeks may have 3 races then 2 weeks without a race). I’m wondering more if its possible to get up to 90-95% of a peak and maintain that for the season rather than a single peak. How would one choose a training plan for that?

Having done this now for two years my n=1 experience.
The season is long and plentiful, albeit a little spread out, so it is important to still pick your true A races and what are B or C races. If you’re racing with a team this gets a little easier as others will have targets as well.

While doing the B/B/S is important and using the info @Nate_Pearson provided given the length of the season you do have to “ride your way” into fitness a little bit if you want to hit the May races AND still have legs come mid-August.

What I found worked well was to target being at about week 4 of speciality for the start of the season in May and then using the races in May as replacement for the weekend workouts and “ride my way” into the remaining form. Weekends where I had a race I substituted the workout, weekends with no racing I just did the workout. I dropped the recovery rides if required just to give me an extra day for the legs to recover, but other than that it worked out fairly well.

I then followed the suggestions previously made by @chad in the blog to double peak and it worked half decently. Certainly needed off-season by the end of it all.

It’s totally possible to maintain your fitness after finishing your specialty phase. @RONDAL has some great information and personal experience on this matter. The good news is, once you finish your specialty phase, maintaining your fitness doesn’t take a ton of work. You can check out how to do this here: How to Recover, Maintain and Build Fitness After Completing a Full Training Cycle

One of the questions for TR folks or others I have is how long can one reasonably HOLD form once they have got it before they see marked deterioration? I appreciate the articles @Ian linked and they are good for maintanence, but at some point you start to deteriorate, FTP starts to drop, and you need to regroup.

Is this 6 weeks post finishing specialty? 8 weeks? 10weeks? It will all be athlete specific but I’m not even clear what the range might be and if there is any articles supporting it.

I can speak to this i roughly followed the B/B/S last year had to jump around due to 2 weeks off and other targets but Tulsa in June was my first target race… once Tulsa was completed i went back to sweet spot base high vol. i had 3 weeks till my next target race ( 2 crits). then it was 8 weeks away from my next target race(4 days of crits). i started sweet spot base over again and for the last 4 weeks i hired a coach which had me doing 1-2 effort workouts 1 recovery ride and 1 endurance ride. i never felt flat though the summer. granted every Thursday we have a weekly crit so i was also getting one v02 “workout” in. and by the time my last target race over labor day came around i was feeling good! going from cat 3 at Tulsa to a cat 2 race over 3 months i felt like i was in good shape and not just mid pack hanging on for dear life. so June to Sept i had form.

the biggest thing for me was having goals. last year i fell flat in Sept due to not having goals after Tulsa and not having as much fun with it. also i do have the luxury of easily transferring the workouts outside due to a couple of options we have in Austin. so that helps being able to ride outside.

Hope this helps!

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@RONDAL this varies a lot from person to person. It is determined by what your work load was this season leading up to your peak, how long you have been riding and training, how your body adapts to the training stress that you are putting on it, etc. Some people are able to recover quickly and maintain fitness for longer and some people lose fitness very fast. There are so many physiological barriers that will eventually make it known that you need to take a break and let your body recover after a peak.

If you do try to keep pushing your body after you have hit that physiological barrier, you will see your FTP drop over time like you said. It is incredibly important to let your body recover some time after a peak and start the B. B. S. Cycle over again. I’m not saying that you can’t maintain a peak but I am saying that you can’t stay at peak fitness for months upon months.

All in all, everybody’s body is different when it comes to how long they can hold peak fitness before their body starts to say no more. Other people can chime in and let us know how long they were able to hold peak fitness but you will really just have to find this for yourself. Signs that you will need to start your recovery are your training starts to decline, your body starts to feel depressed and tired all the time, your motivation to train is decreased, recovery from workouts is taking longer than it usually does, etc. Listen to your body in this situation and go from there.

Some general numbers I would say that relate to maintaining peak fitness:

  • With no maintenance: 8-10 days
  • With proper maintenance: 3-4 weeks

For more information on this, episode 168 talks about peaking and maintaining peak fitness here: Stream episode Peaking, Improving VO2 Max, Supplements vs. Whole Food – Ask a Cycling Coach 168 by TrainerRoad podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

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Not to jump this thread, but love the route options in Austin. Riding the Livestrong this weekend and looking forward to the hills down in Wimberly.

Now back on topic:

I’m 175cm tall and 74kg. My experience was mid volume sweet spot plans, sustained build, and century specialty plans to prepare for aforementioned event. I started training February 1st so i had too much time to prepare for the century ride. Though I had life happen over the summer, I was able to maintain fitness and saw approximate 30% increase in FTP over the course of this year. Before starting the century plan, I added 6 weeks of general build to add in more VO2 work bc I wanted to jump on some tempo rides with my local group rides. Overall, the key components are nutrition and recovery. The body can do amazing things if it’s fuelled and rested properly.