by Frank Overton, August 1, 2015
Here is an introductory cyclocross interval workout you can perform before the racing starts (in August) that’s just the right amount of cyclocross specificity and volume:
Zone 6, Over / Unders: 5 x 30 seconds ON, 1 minute OFF
Make these 30 second intervals cyclocross specific by ACCELERATING HARD at the beginning of the interval. Practically a sprint pushing wattages > 200% of your FTP. Ideally perform these as a standing start with one foot down to practice your cyclocross starts and hammer! As you accelerate out of the saddle, smoothly shift down until you are up to speed. This should take 10 -15 seconds at which point you should ‘settle’ into the interval by sitting down, pedaling hard > 150% of your FTP. With 5-10 seconds ‘to go’ in the 30 second interval, kill it, by not slowing down and pushing hard out the saddle – as hard as you can go.
Take 1 minute of recovery and repeat.
The total volume of intensity is 2.5 minutes (5 intervals x’s 30 seconds) which is not that much anaerobic volume. I.e. introductory. Perform this interval workout once a week working your way up to two sets (5 minutes) then 3 sets (7.5 minutes) and finally 4 sets (10 minutes) – with a 5 minute set break. For example 2 sets would be:
Zone 6, Over / Unders: 2 sets of 5 x 30 seconds ON, 1 minute OFF; with 5 minutes RECOVERY in-between sets
Make this workout a ‘2 fer’ by also practicing your cyclocross race starts. As mentioned, begin each interval at an imaginary start line with one foot down. Accelerate as hard and as fast as you can simultaneously working on clipping in smoothly. Your first race of the season will thank you.
I recommend performing these on a shallow grade hill so that you can get more raw power out of your legs. See the Strava file from this workout here.
These intervals only take ~ 7 minutes per set so you can still get a fun ride with your peeps and/or some TSS after you’ve completed the structured portion of the interval workout. It’s the preseason after all and depending on where you are at with your training, more training (riding > miles > minutes > kiloJoules and best of all TSS) is encouraged.
Finally, in cyclocross skills pay the bills so consider our Jeremy Powers Cyclocross SKILL Camp, August 25 – 27th, 2017 in sunny Boulder, CO. Good luck (!)and holler back if you have any questions or experiences to share with this interval workout or similar training.
Can’t make it to Camp? Try one of our 6 Weeks Cyclocross Training Plans that includes the Over/Unders workouts described above + all the skills and off the bike training specific to cyclocross, all laid out in a weekly calendar format for optimal recovery and performance.
Copyright 2017 , FasCat Coaching
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Frank is the founder and owner of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. Walking the walk and talking the talk (FasCat Core Value # 7), Frank and the cyclocross athletes he coaches, perform this workout once a month in the Summer before cyclocross season. To begin your cyclocross training and coaching, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation.