We are several weeks away from the 2019 Cyclocross Nationals in Tacoma, Washington and by now you have heard the news. If not, I can sum it up with this quote from one of my local resources who reported, “There is a serious run-up. It’s so gnarly most elites cannot run, they have to walk. The course has substantial running and if it’s muddy there could be even more. The downhill sections are tough and if it is wet and muddy some people may need to run down, too.”
This awesome junior racer posted this course preview:
From what I have learned it sounds like there is about 140 feet of elevation gain per lap and most of it comes in the form of one monster run-up. This looks brutally hard because it comes after a tough slog through a grassy section. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this will likely be the crux section of the course. If you can float up this climb repeatedly, lap after lap, chances are you will do pretty well. But how do you train for this?
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with some hills, go find the steepest one you can. Ideally it would be long and steep enough to leave you completely gassed at the top. Now figure out a way to incorporate some running hill repeats in to your weekly training. This could be in done while training on your cross bike, or it could be a separate workout with running shoes. Either way do it at least once a week and build up the interval intensity and quantity each week as you work towards Tacoma.
If you don’t have hills in your area, well, you’re a bit out of luck. The best thing I can suggest is do repeats at your local high school or college stadium…and do lots of them.
My take home #secrettraining tip is to do your running workout in conjunction with one of your hardest on-the-bike training days. For example, if you do a hard workout on Wednesday then do these suggested running repeats on the same day. I recall back in the day when I was trying to improve my running I would do our Wednesday Worlds group ride in the morning and then later on that day, and generally in the dark, I would head over to a local hill or steep trail. I would jog around a bit to warm up and do 15-20 hill repeats, then cool down a bit.
If you’re unclear what to do or how to incorporate this in to a program, talk to your coach or drop is a note in the Fascat Forum.