Just finished Sustained Power Build. Considering following this with either the Century Specialty or XC Marathon. Winter race season starts in January, so still have 6 months to go. My endurance and FTP have improved since I first started TR. The Fat Bike races I do are generally 25 mile and longer races, generally flat with some hills thrown in. Conditions can change from fast hard packed snow and ice to light snow on a packed, groomed trail. Generally it is a grind driving a heavy fat bike as fast as you sustainably can, with energy left over to drive up the hills.
Specialty Phase? XC Marathon or Century?
Once I finish the Specialty Phase, I’ll have 5-6 months left before the winter season. What is the preferred method to continue training? Start over at Sweet Spot Base and progress through the phases again over 5 months?
For now, do whatever Specialty plan looks most interesting to you as it doesn’t matter as much since your next race is 6 months away. Specialty is priming and tapering you for an A event and not necessarily about building your fitness and FTP. However, that is not the case for you since you’re not ending with an A event. Now might be a good time to work on a “limiter” in your fitness that’s not directly associated with your main events. For instance a short power plan (XCO or Crit) would be a good change since your training has been all sustained efforts. This is appropriate as you have plenty of time before you’re next race. After whichever Specialty plan you choose, you’ll want a downturn in intensity or you’re likely to burnout come race season. Following the recommendation from TR of Base, Build and Specialty periodization over again will allow that.
I’d look at when you want to peak for fat bike season, typically mid to late race season, and fill your calendar backwards. So fill in Specialty, then General or Sustained Build and lastly SSB 1 & 2. That will show you how much time you have in between the end of your Specialty and the beginning of SSB 1. How you fill the “in between” is up to you as long as it keeps you motivated and consistent. I’d also insert 2-4 weeks of non-structured fun riding before you start Base again to recharge the body and mind. You may not think you need it but 4 months from now you’ll be happy you did.
Thanks a ton. Great advice. This is entirely training for my own personal best challenge. I’ll never be a front runner. Maybe a front runner for my age group, but mostly working to erase my frustration of poor showings previously. Until TR, my training was totally unstructured. In hindsight, I am amazed at how much my fitness has improved with TR. No matter what I do over the next 6 months, my times will show a huge improvement. Thank you for the advice!