Training Plan Specialization - What next?

Hey all,

I wanted to reach out and get some opinions on the next step in my training plan. I’m finishing up a short power build phase in a few weeks and I’m trying to ascertain the best plan to move forward for the specialty phase.
I live in Kansas and gravel racing is the most common event around here. I’m planning on some shorter gravel races (100k), but would like to focus on XC races that are being held in Oklahoma and the Kansas City area.
My strong point tends to be in the shorter power efforts and not the long, drawn out road racing style of the gravel races. I’d like to focus on the XC style of efforts geared towards shorter 1.5 hour races, but I also don’t want to get my tail kicked in the gravel races either. Should I shoot for Rolling Road, Short Track XC or XC Olympic? Another recommendation? I’d appreciate your thoughts and experiences.
Thank you

  1. When is your first race? If you specialize now you’ll be peaking really early in the season.

  2. Do you have an A race you want to peak towards or just stay race ready during the season?

Generally you would follow Base - Build - Specialty, but if you “Have More Time” it May serve you better to do more Base then a rebuild and Specialize after. For me for example, my season looks like Base - Build - Base - Build - Specialty. Providing you had 40 weeks to train yours could be similar, but that less likely now in January.

I’d work backwards from when you want to be fit or specialize and fit in more Base relative to how much time you have before race season.

Thanks for the response.

  1. First race will be 2/23. XC race format. The first gravel race will be 3/9 in a 50 mile format. It’s the first of a 4 week series, but with the XC schedule I’ll likely have a race every week, sometimes a gravel race on Saturday and an XC race on Sunday.
  2. The A race of the year will be the state championship XC event that is held sometime in early July. Staying race ready and avoiding burnout will be the kicker during the season until that point.

It’ll be pretty difficult to be in perfect form for all of these races throughout a season, and “peak” for them. My advice would be to choose a direction you want to prioritize for, and go that route. For example, if becoming the XC state champion is more important to you than being fully trained for the long gravel races, I would focus your training toward that goal and look at the gravel side as long endurance “training rides” or B races.

Between STXC and XC Olympic for the Specialty plans, that will come down to the length and format of the XC races you’re planning to compete in, but my hunch is you’ll be served best by XC Olympic than to specialize in Short Track or the Rolling Road Race plans.

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awesome info, that was my thinking as well but I appreciate the confirmation that I’m not crazy.
Thank you guys for your help