The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 11.1.18. “Stairs. Again.”

Howdy folks,

First of all, sorry about yesterday’s post. It didn’t go up until today for some weird reason. Was having some connectivity issues yesterday, and I guess something when haywire when the post of the post was posting. Or some such nonsense. Blecch.

On with today!
We’re going to do some running. If you’ve followed along with this mess in previous years, you’ve heard me talk about how I don’t think running should take the in-season place of importance that it did “back in the day.”

I still, by and large, believe that. But the specific caveats that have always existed to counter this belief are,  in some ways, beginning to outweigh the general truth of it.

To wit, Nationals.

If you’re thinking about attending Nationals the next couple of years – and want to do well –  you’re probably going to want to have some running in your legs.

The general trend of less running in domestic CX races also seems to be headed a little tiny bit in the opposite direction.

So, today we’re…


Stairing – 





– First, figure out where you can do the workout.

We’re going to be running stairs today, so you 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 for this workout. 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.

On with the workout.

– get on your bike and warm up for 15 minutes or so.

(we’re going to warm up for any running efforts we do, all season, with some time on the bike. )

– 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.

– 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 stair steps 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.

– Run up stairs sideways. Yup, you read that right. Sideways. Try it, it’ll make sense. More of an agility drill than anything else, but it’ll be good for you.

– Repeat 2-5 times.

Rest again, 2-5 minutes

– Repeat entire damn thing until you just can’t do it anymore, or you are going so slowly it’s ridiculous.

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

Notes –

If you can, go really damn hard. If you do this right, it’s a brutal workout.

Don’t go that hard if you haven’t got the legs for it yet. 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. That’s going to take a few sessions to build up to, though. Don’t kill yourself the first time out.

As mentioned in the preamble to all this, for quite a while I’ve been saying that I don’t think that most CX racers really need to do much running work. It just hasn’t been that important for most of the races on the domestic US scene. The running that happens organically in the races and in practice is enough to keep the legs moving, and the time needed to add extra running to the schedule is generally better spent doing something more important, like riding yer damn bike.

Having said that, if you are consistently losing ground every time you get off the bike, or if you happen to live in a part of the country where the local races have you running a lot, or you want to do well on a Nationals course that may well feature a fair bit of off-the-bike… things maybe change.


This is exactly the sort of thing that individual coaching is useful for. I’ve got some clients who do running workouts all the way through the CX season, and others who do none at all. One size absolutely don’t fit all.

So, give today’s workout a shot, and see how it works for you. We’ll do this again next week – with an option for people who would rather do something on the bike instead – and you might decide you like it.

Or not.






Hey folks! If you’re interested in that individual coaching thing I mentioned, Go Check out…


~ by crosssports on October 30, 2018.

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