The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 8.27.15. “Just Sayin’…”

Howdy folks,

We’ve been doing some running the last couple of Thursdays, and today we’re going to stick with that trend.

Yup, running.

Like it or not, it’s part of cyclocross, so you need to be able to run at least a little bit.

…or at least not fall completely to pieces when it comes time to dismount and get yer ass up and over something you can’t ride.

As I’ve written here in the past, running simply isn’t as important in contemporary, US cyclocross as it has been in the past, and still is in some specific areas.

If you live in Belgium or the Netherlands, and you’re going to have races this season where you spend 1/4 the race off the bike slogging through impassable mud or up and down sand dunes, then you probably need to be a pretty damn good runner to be competitive.

In the US though?

Not so much.

In our races, the amount of time we spend off the bike is so small relative to the amount of time we spend on the bike, it’s rarely worthwhile to devote time and energy to running that could be better spent working on your cycling.

It’s a bike race.

A bike race that requires you to get off your bike occasionally, but it’s still a bike race.

So, ok. Running isn’t priority one.

It’s probably not even priority two.]

But you still need to do it, so we’re going to work on it, and working on it now before the season starts is a good time to do it.

So, what kind of running work should you be doing?

Well, what kind of running are you doing in your races?

For most people, the answer to that question is “really short efforts up steep hills, muddy inclines, and bits of stairs.”

So, as in all things training, think specificity.

Train for what you need to do in the races.

Why go out and do a bunch of 5k runs when what you need to be good at is 5-10 second efforts up the side of a muddy hill?

Makes no sense, right?

That’s why we do…

Stair Work…

First, figure out where you can do this. 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 be comfortable and secure in your footing on whatever you’re running up. I’ve seen some pretty gruesome facial lacerations when people missed a step running up stairs in a fog of fatigue.

Don’t be that guy/gal.

– 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.

Hey, remember when you read that thing I wrote about “specificity” a few minutes ago?

If you live/race in the Seattle area, you may have noticed that the first “big” race of the season is the MFG opener at Lake Sam.

That race takes place largely on a waterfront, and it’s famous for having a (relatively) long running section on the sandy beach.

It might be a good idea to figure out a way to schlep your a** over to one of our many local beaches for a little bit of sand running in the couple of weeks we’ve got before the race.

Just saying…

(Not a Seattle area person? Scope out whatever races you’ll be debuting at this season. Got any notable running features in ’em? if so, replicate ’em in your training.)








Hey! Check out…


~ by crosssports on August 27, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: