Starting a TR plan for the 1st time - Having some doubts

Hi. As said in the title I’m starting since yesterday :slight_smile: a TR plan.

I’m an average amateur cyclist used to do about 10.000 km a year. And some XCM and XCO races. Age 43 currently at 63kg with a 234 FTP test made yesterday at the ramp.
Once I have the next big XCO challenge only in September the 15th I have 12 weeks of training to improve myself. It’s a 1h30 minimum up to 2h maximum effort giving it all on a mountain bike.

I usually have been making 2 indoor trainings of about one hour each during the work days following no plan but making some hard efforts ocassionaly and ridding Saturdays and Sundays 3 to 4 hours each morning in a group mainly on my roadbike and sometimes on my mountain bike with some serious efforts also from time to time.

Considering my objective, the available time up to the objective and my personal available time to do a training plan and not being open to stop participating in the weekends group rides I’ve chosen the specialty Phase Cross-Country Olympic MTB plan - Low volume 8 weeks. In short the plan has:

I doubted in choosing between this and middle or high volume plan but once I’m decided to keep on those group rides at weekends I’ll do this 3 trainings per week only from Monday to Wednesday.

So after this introduction I’ll now simply post my questions:

QUESTION 1 - will the making of the 3 trainings of the plan on the working days and the group rides on weekends work or the effectiveness of the plan may be compromised?
Note to this question that I’m waiting for the outdoor plans to be available in wahoo gps so I can eventually in the future choose a middle or high volume plan and execute 2 of the trainings outdoors during the weekend group rides.

QUESTION 2 - I know I missed base and built phase plans from TR but I think I’ve got a decent phisical condition and due to the 12 week distance to my objective I’ve no time to those phases right now but I’ll have time to four more weeks of training after finishing this 8 week plan. What should I do then at those four available weeks?

QUESTION 3 - is it OK to change the order of the trainings inside the same week? I’m asking because the last training of the week is always the longer and having it close to the group rides may not leave me with enough strength to do those rides has I should.

That’s all for now. Hope you understand my writing and give me some clues about this.


  • Yes, this is a very common mix (Low Vol + Outside rides) and people have good success with it.
  • I suggest reading the following article about how to handle training without time for a full progression of Base, Build, Specialty:
  • In summary, Specialty is about fine tuning fitness, not building it. If you already have a very solid base, you may be able to make use of the Specialty phase.
  • But the common recommendation would be to do a Build phase of 8 weeks, and then take the final 4 weeks from the Specialty phase. This gets you more fitness from the Build, some tuning and a full taper from the Specialty phase.
  • Yes, you can swap the days to what works for your schedule. The common warning is to not stack 2 “hard” workouts on following days. It is best to have a day between them to ensure that you can hit the 2nd one fully and get the maximum training effect.

Best of luck with the training plan. I certainly think Low Volume is a good place to start, especially if you want to fit in some outside rides.

I would strongly recommend following the advice that has just been given. I would forget about speciality and start on the Build plan (if you are sure you have a big enough Base).

Enjoy your event!


Start with low volume and add in your own rides if you wish to. Simple.

mcneese.chad and to the other guys that made these quick answers, thanks!

I was getting started speciality 1st training and read your answer. So I’ve immediately changed the plan accordingly to your advice. I chose short power built low volume and already done Pierce. I was not sure what build plan to choose. This one says:

"Even a short-power rider maintains a heavy reliance on longer, sustained power. Accordingly, a toned-down emphasis on strength endurance will still find its way into this Short Power Build plan but greater attention will fall on improving your ability to operate at high percentages of your VO2max power as well as your ability to throw down big watts for very short durations, repeatedly, and often with minimal recovery time.

So riders concentrating on improving their abilities as shorter-course mountain bikers, cyclocross racers, criterium specialists as well as those taking part in weekday world championships will find this Build plan a proper match for their dynamic riding style. This training will further your ability to race aggressively, react quickly and powerfully, and do so again and again with minimal or no decline in performance."

While General and sustained power build programs have different descriptions.

I hope I’ve done well choosing short power built once my objective is a short (up to 2h maximum) XC race giving all out. If not please say so.

Another question… After completing 8 weeks building training and once I have 12 weeks to the race objective, what set of weeks do you advise from speciality phase Short Track Cross-Country to complete my training, the first 4 weeks or the last ones?


You can do the last 4 weeks that gets you some work and 2 taper weeks.

Or do the 1st 2 work weeks and the last 2 taper weeks.


Nothing to add to the top advice of @mcneese.chad above, but welcome to TR and good luck for your event!