The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 8.13.15. “Are you stairing at me?”

Howdy Folks,


How about a little bit of running today?

First of all, go read this post from last week.

Ok. Are we all on the same page?

For the vast majority of people, what I outlined in that piece applies, and what you should be doing today is some variation on the theme of “run down to the end of the block and then back”.

If that’s where you are with your running, don’t try and pretend you’re at some other point and go out and flog yourself. As discussed in the link, if you do that you’re likely to hurt yourself, or at least put yourself on the couch for a few days.

Neither one of these is conducive to building form, or racing well in a couple/few weeks.

Here’s an idea, though…

If you’re doing really short runs, you can pretty much run every day.

I mean, we’re talking maybe ten minutes, right?

Most people can find a way to shoehorn ten minutes into their schedule to literally run down to the end of the block. And back.

Give five minutes to your running today and tomorrow.

Then 6 minutes on the third day.

Then 7 the next.

Then 8.

See the pattern?

Do this for a week or so – stopping before you start to get sore, every time – and then we can throw something a little bit harder into the mix.

What’s that you say?

You’ve already been running a fair bit?

You want to try something harder now?

Okey doke.

How about some some stair work today?

First, figure out where you can do the workout. Since we’re going to be running stairs, you probably need some stairs…




…or a small hill, or a grassy knoll – something you can run up. Stairs are best, but whatever you can come up with will work.

You don’t need NFL stadium stairs or anything crazy like that. Look for something that’s long enough to give you 10 seconds of running at a full sprint; That’ll be plenty long enough. We’re doing speed work, here. Short, sharp efforts.

Got a location?


Get on your bike and warm up for 15 minutes or so. Maybe ride on out to wherever you’re doing these.

Mosey on over to your stairs/knoll/whatever, and get set. Stretch, have a sip of water, turn up the volume on your Ipod.

Jog up the stairs. Walk down.

Get a sense for the spacing and “feel” of the stairs. You’re going to be flying up these things in a full-on lactic acid bath shortly, so you want to get comfortable with the terrain so you don’t have any… problems…



– Repeat x5

– Sprint! up stairs, fast, using whatever stride is most comfortable. Walk down.

– Repeat x5

Rest for 1 minute, walking slowly up and down stairs.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using quick, tiny strides, 1 stairstep at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x5

Rest again, same as before.

– Sprint up stairs, this time using long strides, several stairsteps at a time. Walk down.

– Repeat x 5

Rest again.

– Sprint up stairs, combining the previous two exercises – 1st time up, long strides; next time up, short strides, etc. Walk down.

Rest again, 2-5 minutes.

If this is your first time running stairs this season, that’s it. You’re done. Feel free – heck, feel obligated to stop early if you have any tweaks, twinges, or strange feelings in your legs.*

If you’ve got some running miles in ya’ already, repeat the entire damn thing until you just can’t do it anymore, or until you are going so slowly it’s ridiculous.

Get back on bike, spin out your legs, go home.

Notes –

The idea here is to get good enough at this to go really damn hard. If you do this right, it’s a brutal workout.

Don’t go that hard if it’s your first (or nearly first) time running stairs this season. Keep it under control. You want to build up to the point where you are going up the stairs in a dead sprint, and are completely gassed at the end of each set.

We’re going to do this exercise – or a variation of it – every week for a while, so be patient. You will get better at it, and I will throw in some variations that will keep it fun and challenging, including some agility and lateral stability drills. Stay tuned!

Hey! Go Check out…



Coaching for Cyclocross and all your other bike-related activities!

~ by crosssports on August 13, 2015.

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