TR cx plans - opinions

Wondering what people think of these plans? I’m starting to come the view, after several years of racing, that the predominant focus on vo2 may not give you precisely what you (I) need? I appreciate the need to ‘sprint out of corners’ in cx, however in these plans this seems to be at the absence of any broader endurance focus. I’ve observed that when I’m better I’m smoother, on the brakes less and having to do a lot less sprinting out of corners. While the v02 component clearly is necessary I particularly struggle to maintain speed on the flats and drags compared to peers. Is the TR plan’s focus on v02 ( particularly during short power build) at the expense of threshold work an issue here?

Does anyone else feel this, or have you used TR cx plans to success?

I’m thinking of creating a custom plan focussing heavily on sustained power during build with vo2 coming in only at the later end and in specialty.


I used to do the xc olympic plans for CX to maintain a high aerobic workout each week. I think it helped, I’m also only a cat 3 racer so maybe someone with more experience can weigh their opinion on the subject. I felt the same way that I needed to maintain a steady pressure on the pedals type of workout as opposed to VO2 max 3x a week.
That plan still has 2 vo2 sessions every week but I really think doing the one sweet spot a week helped.

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Seems like you know what you need better than TR. Shouldn’t be hard for you to change what you think needs changing, if you’re certain that’s the case.

I usually shoot for 2 days a week of threshold/vo2/anaerobic and 1-1.5hr a day z2 for my weekday indoor stuff. One long z2 ride on the weekend, one “free for all z2-4” group ride on the weekend. All that vo2 is useless if you’re gassed by lap 2. Need the aerobic base just as much as the higher intensity

I wish I could go longer but 8-10hr a week is about all work and family allows. 1, 3 and 5 year old with a 40-60 hr a week job. I’m often not getting on the trainer until 830-9pm so that’s about all I have to give…

But CX plans from TR are speciality plans, to be done just before season. Do not get me wrong - your reasoning and plan seem very good and personally would go that route. But it’s a little bit too late for building base as season is beginning? Now it’s maintenance and intensity should come from racing.

In recent CTS podcast there was focus on CX and they also sre using 2 intensity days/wk (one can be group ride). Vo2 max block couple of weeks before season seems resonable “last push” and short-shorts workout are for specificity.

Sorry I may have misread the first post when I commented. If the base fitness hasn’t been established, the ship has sailed. Again, doesn’t matter if you can throw down 1000w off the start if you’re gassed 10 minutes into a 45 minute race

My reading of the original post is that the build phase of the CX plan is too loaded with Vo2 at the expense of Threshold, so you end up in Speciality with a ton of anaerobic and Vo2, but your sustainable power drops off significantly. I’ve done the CX plan for a few years now and definitely found this to be the case. Too late to change anything this season, but next year I think I will try more XCO focus with the added endurance.


I did the short power build then CX specialty last year. Build was good. I felt that the specialty was a bit too easy on weeks without races and a bit too much later in the season, especially when racing on a Sunday and the following Saturday. This year I’m focusing on recovery, one quality anaerobic workout mid-week, and maybe a short Zwift race for fun/to help gauge fatigue.

Is the TR plan’s focus on v02 ( particularly during short power build) at the expense of threshold work an issue here?

I may be biased as I’m more of a rouleur but I think if you do a good base and build then you should be sorted for threshold and are better off focusing elsewhere. Looking critically at most courses, there aren’t a lot of places where it makes sense to be riding at threshold. FTP is important but repeatable 30s power is important-er.

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Hey there!

Our CX plans are part of our Specialty phase of training, which is meant to sharpen your fitness as much as possible as you approach your A event for the season.

Ideally, by the time you get into CX season, you’ll already have the fitness from your longer intervals “in the bank.”

If you’re feeling like you don’t have enough “oomph” in you for those sustained periods of power, though, it might be a good idea to browse our Workout Library or look into alternate plans that focus on that area of your power curve.

As you said already, I think focusing on sustained power (if that is a consistent limiter) during Base/Build would be the move before getting into the shorter and sharper intervals you’d find in the Specialty phase as you reach peak fitness and begin balancing your training with more frequent racing.