When to give up the 2020 season and start base for 2021 season

I’m about to give up on any racing for the 2020 season and with nothing to work toward, I find training really difficult to plan and execute. Has anyone done a long plan (> 6 months) to prepare for the 2021 season? Just looking for a framework for how much time to take off from formal training and then what others have done for base training.


Still holding out for 2 fall races. Started Build again Monday toward them. Otherwise I’d be pretty unmotivated to train until fall.

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I’ve just given up on races for this year. I’m continuing through the build and specialty plans because I’ve never gone all the way through them and I could use a different stimulus than base over and over (did base 1 and base 2 twice so far this season). I plan to do some fast group rides when we can gather again, and maybe some organized events later this fall, but racing is out the window as I had planned on Intelligentsia Cup, which has been officially cancelled now.

I’m still hitting new power PRs and repeatability of that power in my workouts so I’m still motivated as I can see myself pushing through a plateau to newer heights. Going to use the rest of the year to work on my weaknesses in VO2 with build and specialty. I also want to learn how to wheelie and track stand, so I’m going to dedicate recovery days to working on those skills, too.


I have one 50+ mile mtb race in October still on the calendar that I’m building for. If I don’t get in or it ends up being cancelled I’ll drop the structure for a couple of months and just ride for fun. On a normal year I start base in December, but may start a bit earlier and try traditional base, then SS base…

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All the plans are 28 weeks which is more than 6 months :wink:

Plan out your season for 2021 with what you know (if anything) and then look at how much time you have between now and the start of your plan and start thinking about filling in the gaps.

I think it’s a bit of a mistake to scrap this year and say that you’ll double down on base for next season for 2 reasons.

  1. If your motivation is so low now that you’re going to scrap your structured season then I ask if you’ll have the motivation to be consistent for 40+ weeks next year, when again the bulk of your training will be without racing and who knows, there may not even be a 2021 race season.

  2. Assuming you’re not a seasoned structured training vet, you’re better off continuing to gain fitness on the base you already have so. Next year when you start up you should be better across the board than this season, as opposed to stopping now, and losing fitness from now until you start up. Your 2021 peak could be lower than your current fitness level.

  3. If motivation from racing is the driving factor, make some races up yourself. Look at your PR’s and try and set new one’s on local courses. Challenge your friends and local riders to a TT. If your a crit racer, setup a weird omnium where you have a course that includes sprints, climbs, flats, and devise a points schedule and have weekly ‘races’.

If all you want is a simple answer to your question, do 2 rounds of base and extend the plan to 40 weeks, traditional base is great if you’ve got time, but boring as heck.


I’m holding out hope for CX season but I’m not sweating it, I like to train for the sake of training, so even if there isn’t an event I find tremendous satisfaction in doing structured workouts

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Hope your race happens. I did one road race in February and some weird Zwift racing and everything has been cancelled since. There are 4-5 events still not cancelled yet and then I have Hincapie Greenville which is not a race but has KOMs assuming that does not get cancelled.
I think the worst part of this season is getting peaked for a race and then it gets cancelled, I restructure, and try to build for the next which has likely made for a little burn out.

I do love riding too. If I knew one way or the other if Master Road Nationals was on or off, I think I could settle with a plan.

I think we may get some tt action in the UK …but even if we don’t nothing has changed - it has been all zone 2 but with massively increased hours since lockdown …if we race I will lack the top end but hey ho I’m not a pro and hopefully it will benefit me for 2021 :grinning:

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My season was supposed to be Feb-June, so it was over before it started. Racing has started back up, but with Covid cases still on the rise, I won’t be jumping into a pack with 50 guys any time soon.

So you train to train.

I went ahead and did Zone 5 intervals in Feb and March, as I would have for my April peak event. Then I did 8 weeks of sub-threshold focus, now I’m midway through another 8 weeks of zone 5 interval work. I’ll take some time off in August, and if I don’t get sick after school starts back up, I’ll use the fall to start laying the base for '21, which will be my last year of racing.

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It’s all a mindset issue. Of course it’s disappointing not to race this season and even if races happen they won’t be the usual experience this year, but I look at it like I have more time, with no pressure, to build up to the start of my training program. Usually we have limited time and show up on race day with less fitness than we could have had, simply b/c we ran out of time. Do some fun stuff for now, but with structure and really improve your fitness until that point.

For me specifically I have always started a training plan in October or so for a May race and I do that with about 10-15 lbs to lose and a mediocre FTP, but this year I’ll start at the same time, and for now until then I will focus on dropping those lbs and building my FTP so my starting point is way higher than usual. It can be an exciting time if you reset that mindset.

I have a buddy who was at his highest FTP and all fitness numbers as he tracks them, as well as lowest weight in years, but with races cancelled he lost motivation, lost a bunch of fitness and put on some weight. Now this isn’t so terrible, but all that hard work went out the window and as we begin to train again together he sees the differences where he used to just crush me on hill climbs and overall times, he has dropped off significantly.

I’d say, plan some of the things that you never have time to accomplish, or things that don’t fit into a normal training plan for your race. For instance, do a heavy block of VO2 max training or more threshold training. This stuff isn’t specific to the kind of races I do so in a focused training plan it doesn’t happen often but now it can, and I see it’s making a bigger difference. Basically just make a plan to show up to the start of your 2021 training plan with higher than normal fitness and sort of taper into it so you’re ready to roll. It’s a longer term approach, but most of this is proven out over years, not weeks or months.

Good luck! Keep us updated!

I’ve been doing well on the training track I’m on, but this fall I anticipate shifting some focus toward other areas. Planning to do a little more running and lifting, see if I can develop some good habits that will become part of my normal routine doing forward.

And give yourself some room to be exhausted, bored, or burned out. All those things are normal and it’s better to try to flow with them than to try to hold back the tide. Try to take a break or make a change on purpose, on your terms, before you are forced to by being totally spent.

I’m kind of thinking the same thing. I’m actually one of the few people who love long, slow distance.

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