Start with structured Plans with some Base & Experience

Hi there

I have been riding mainly outdoors (~10k km so far this year), about 5x with a total of 10-15hrs per week. 2-3 times a month I have done serious climbing efforts (5,6hrs, over 3000m of elevation) in the mountains. I have participated in my first few criterium races this year (5-10 that were lasting about an hour). Additionally, I have been doing some intervals with TR, approx. 2 times per week, and mainly Sweet Spot and VO2Max, without a lot of knowledge and mostly a mindset of “some intervals would be beneficial to the situation”. So far I have enjoyed it a lot, gained my first experiences and now I want to continue with a more structured training approach with more hours on the trainer.

What I want to achieve:

  • become faster in crits

  • nail 5 cx races in the upcoming 2 months

  • participate in early year crits

  • be in top shape by next August to ace a local crit


  • investment of 10-15hrs per week on the trainer, additionally 4,5hrs outdoors (living in a cold place)

  • 1-2 times CX sessions for fun and technical practice

  • I assume I have a certain base

Which plans/approach would you recommend me? I am thinking of starting with Build since I have some Base already. Does this all make more or less sense to you or am I completely off track?

Thanks a lot for your help.


Use plan builder and select “experienced”? It’ll skip Sweet Spot Base 1 most likely.


When is your first event/race? Assuming it’s more than 6 weeks out I would still recommend starting with base. Everyone has “some base” already but there is plenty still to be learned by doing TR base including pedaling and efficiency drills, not to mention simply acclimatising oneself to riding in a structured manner indoors.

Sweet spot base is the most common choice, and if I were you I would choose mid volume and then supplement with outdoor workouts. You can then progress to short power build, which will best serve your crit and cyclocross racing, and then finally you can consider a speciality phase based on the particular racing your aimed for.

Of course the other option is simply to use Plan Builder which will do this all for you

“Some base & experience” is a bit of a modest understatement lol! That’s some pretty serious volume you’ve got coming in.

In terms of plans I would do something like:

  • 8 week CX speciality through your upcoming races. Sub in races for hard workouts as necessary
  • Treat the period from your last CX race until the end of the year as off season. No real structure, ride if you feel like it (or run, hike, climb, swim, ski if it’s cold enough!) but nothing too strenuous. Aim is to be totally fresh and motivated for the start of 2021
  • From January do a full 28 week Base-Build-Speciality, which by my reckoning takes you pretty close to your A race in August. Treat the early season crits as B/C races which you don’t taper for other than maybe rejigging your week to have an easy day beforehand, and use them to practice tactics, handling, figure out how local racers/teams operate, etc

Question then is what volume to do. I think even from a background of 15+ hour weeks you might find SSB HV pretty tough. It’s “only” ~10 hours but when it’s all on the trainer, especially in erg mode, it can really tax both the legs and mind. I’d be tempted to either do a MV plan and then add your long outdoor ride and CV sessions (which sound like a great way of staying fresh and motivated by the way) on top. Or else what I often do is cherrypick ~3 workouts/week from the HV plan in order to get the progression, from one week to the next, and then make up the rest of my weekly training with Z2 and/or outdoor rides. E.g. do the Thu/Sat/Sun workouts from the HV plan, add in a Z2 extended cooldown on them if you want to go longer than the scheduled workout, then use the remaining 4 days of the week for your outdoor long ride, your CX sessions, and more Z2 riding.

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Thank you very much. This was exactly the type of recommendation I was hoping for. I think I will do the CX Speciality for 8 weeks, then rest in December a bit and then start with the fully packaged MV plan, especially since I also will start riding outdoors heavily from March.

Thanks again, this was very valuable for me.