The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 7.22.17. “Long days of summer”

Howdy folks,

Sorry this is going up so late! It’s going to take me a bit of time to get back in the groove of posting up new content everyday again. Every year I manage to deceive myself into believing that, in aggregate, this project isn’t going to take just as much of my time as it ultimately does.

But, enough whining, on with the workout!

If you’re part of the road/mtb racing contingent, odds are you still have some races on the calendar, and your plans for the weekend are already pretty concrete. You’re racing, or you’re getting ready to race, or you’re thinking about racing.

As alluded to yesterday, that’s good for us right now. Ish. More on the “ish” soon. Ish.

In general, though? Racing is good, though. Racing or riding hard, getting in some serious miles.

If you aren’t racing this weekend? Get out there and ride.

Put in some serious miles.

Go long.

The next month or so is your opportunity to build up the deep base of fitness that you need to carry you through the long winter of cyclocross.


…in which the short, intense race day efforts and subsequent recovery make it difficult to get in any kind of long miles.

Take advantage of the summer weather and get out there and ride your ass off this month.

What, exactly, should you be doing?
Think long.


Ride a lot.

I mean, it’s nice out, right? It’s fun to ride for 4, 5, even 6 hours when it’s not too hot and  it’s not raining.

So ride that pony while you can.

Long doesn’t mean slow, though.

Traditionally, this is the time of the season when the big-time European cross racers are out on the road clogging up the gruppetto in week long stage races. They aren’t in these races to win them, they’re in them to get pushed to greater levels of fitness by stringing long days of hard effort together in a way that’s always been tough to do riding just by yourself.

“Tough” doesn’t mean impossible.

I mean,  sure…  you aren’t going to go out and get a Tour of Luxembourg level TSS out of your hard weekend of riding, but if you follow the principles that underlie the intent of these week-long training races, you can probably do better than you’re doing now, and set yourself up for success in the fall.

So, what is that intent?

Let’s start with this; It’s  incredibly difficult to make profound physiological improvements in your underlying, base-level fitness during cross season.

Can you  and should you  get faster during the course of a season?

Absolutely.  But…

You race hard every weekend. If you’re doing it right, you’re spending most of the following week recovering from the weekend past & getting opened up for the weekend next.

You can do some small work mid-week to improve deficiencies or hone strengths, but you really can’t do the kind of work that it takes to  bump your FTP  enough to get to the front of the group you raced in last season, to be competitive at the next category level , or to win one of those races you’ve been sooo close in for sooo long.

The kind of work we’re talking about is the sort that if you did it on a Wednesday, you’d be way off the back come the weekend, and that’s assuming you could take a day off to do it mid-week and still be free to race on the weekend.

Sound likely? I didn’t think so.

Now, though? No such problems.

Want to be stronger this cross season? Spend your weekends for the next month or so doing long, hard, fast training rides.

This isn’t long, slow distance eating we’re talking about, this is “Oh crap, how the hell am I going to finish this ride” kinda stuff. These are the rides where you barely manage to drag your ass in the door of your house when you get home. The rides where, when you get home you need to drink a coke to summon the energy needed to order takeout.
4, 5, 6 hours of glorious suffering. That’s what we’re talking about.

Try one this Saturday. Then wake up Sunday, do it again. Give me a few weeks of this, and you’ll be really, really strong.

Then we can start to work on making you fast…


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~ by crosssports on July 22, 2017.

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