Here is an introductory cyclocross interval workout you can perform before the racing starts that’s just the right amount of cyclocross specificity and volume:
Zone 6, Over / Unders: 4 x 2.5 min On 2.5 min OFF with 1st 15 seconds b/w 125 – 150% FTP then ‘settling’ into your VO2 watts and/or heart rates for the next 2 minutes then the final 15 seconds FULL GAS between 150 – 200% of your FTP.
Make these over unders intervals cyclocross specific by ACCELERATING HARD from an imaginary start line at the beginning of the interval for the first 15 seconds. Perform these 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 15 seconds at which point you should ‘settle’ into the interval by sitting down, pedaling hard between 110-120% of your FTP. With 15 seconds ‘to go’ for the entire interval, kill it, by not slowing down and pushing hard out the saddle – as hard as you can go, full gas for 15 seconds between 150 – 200% of your FTP. Whew, recover for 2.5 minutes to catch your breath
Take 2.5 minutes of recovery (1:1 work to rest ratio) and repeat. Like this:
The total volume of intensity is 10 minutes (4 intervals x’s 2.5 minutes) which is a pre- season amount of mixed VO2 and anaerobic interval work. I.e. introductory. Perform this interval workout once a week working your way up to two sets (20 minutes) then 3 sets but only if you wanna ‘go pro’.
Zone 6, Over / Unders: 2 sets of 4 x 2.5 minutes ON, 2.5 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 ~ 17.5 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.
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.
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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 email@example.com or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation.