Training for Varied Demands

What would be the best way to train for multi-stage events where the nature of the effort required is varied. If there’s a time trial, road race & crit, looking at the plans they are pretty focused, for Build, I guess general build is the way to go but Specialty is a headache. 40k TT has lots of sustained efforts which will help with the time trial and probably the road race aspect but tends not to give much on the VO2Max and Anaerobic efforts required for the Crit.

So how can I get the most useful improvements across all demands?

You probably can’t at least not in one go. Think you’d either have to play to your strength, and pick one that you want to be really good at, or go for the ‘improve your weaknesses’ strategy, accepting that you probably won’t be going for a podium in any of the races, but might place better overall.

That said, if you know the event and courses, maybe you they won’t be that different. For example if the RR is flat, and the crit doesn’t have that many sharp corners, sustained power is going to give you a good chance. Or if everything is punchy, there might not be that many sustained efforts in it at all.

You don’t have to do a Specialty - the Specialty plans are for fine tuning fitness for a particular event. For a stage race you need a balance across all intensities and also the ability to recover from one day to the next. I’d have thought SSB and General Build would set you up pretty nicely for that. SSB will build the base you need to be able to recover well and get through multiple stages. The General Build plans all include a mix of threshold, VO2, anaerobic and sprint work to give you a good balance across all intensities. Plus the Medium and High plans add in some sweet spot and tempo work to maintain your aerobic base which will be important, so would look at those. Probably also key to have a long (4-5 hour) endurance every week or 2.

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I think is not so problematic as you might think. For me is the same, I focus on CX in winter and TT in summer and I also join some crits and multi stage race with a TT, crit and “long” race.

What is common between those events [is] that they are not so long as for example a marathon. So in all cases, the performance depends much from VO2max and FTP. Only in crits or CX PPO and anaerobic capacity is an issue.

Personally, I address his my intermittent protocols like 30/30 or 30/15. This work good to stress the both V02max and the anaerobic engine.
To peak for TT, I switch to longer intervals and perform them in TT position.

And of course the base of all are the LIT rides. I perform at least once a week 3-4 houes long. In case of shorter LIT rides I add also some sprints between 5-10 seconds.

Because I train polarized, I [do] not use sweetspot, but I think to incorporate this makes no big difference.

If your A event is a stage race I think it is totally appropriate to do a full specialty phase including a taper. While you can race in base or build you will still benefit from the fine tuning you get in the specialty phase, even for a stage race.

If it is a B or C event then I would do as others have suggested and roll straight into your stage race off of a base or build program (General build is likely your best bet).

However, lets talk about this as if it were your A event. What I do for this is look at prior year’s of the stage race and try to figure out where I expect the decisive time gaps to be and compare them to my strengths, weaknesses, and limiters.

Some stage races are almost entirely decided in the TT, others by a brutal and punchy crit that sheds half of the field.

If the finishing order in the GC is usually the same as the finishing order in the TT you need to train to maximize your gains there while still ensuring you will be able to finish the other stages appropriately.

If the finishing order in the GC is decided by who makes the selection in the RR then you need to train to ensure you make that selection

So…research your race and the prior results and figure that out first.

Then, compare that to what you view as your limiters. If you’re a strong bike handler and have no concerns about finishing the crit then you can likely skimp on that portion of your fitness. Whereas if you’re like me and don’t enjoy crits you need to make sure you put enough time into that type of training so that you don’t get dropped and ruin your chances

Thus - compare prior years results with your limiters and your strengths and decide where you want to make up your GC position. If you want - post your thoughts on the race as well as your racing profile and I can tell you what I’d recommend.

As an example - if the road race finishes with a decisive 20-30 minute climb that ultimately sorts out the GC (killington or GMSR here in the US) you should train like you would for long efforts while still ensuring you can finish everything else. Sustained power build into Rolling road race or general build into climbing RR would both be viable options (with plenty of other possibilities)

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