Our New back yard. not bad. great trails and great views for running and the cross bike!
Article #2 in my 3 part series:
- Cyclocross as cross training?
Cyclocross is huge. Once participated in as training in the fall and winter months for fun it is now a huge international spectacle. Athletes are now focusing their whole year on cyclocross. Even for us Tri geeks and hard core all road all the time people cyclocorss is luring.
The question is coming up more and more; will racing cyclocross be a good option for training in the fall and early winter?
First lets take a look at your year ahead and behind to answer a few questions.
Have you had enough time TOTALLY off after your last race/ training block? (I prescribe 2-6 weeks)
Will you have enough time to rest after your cross season and the start of Base training? (2 weeks)
How taxing was your summer season of racing and training?
How much other stressors will you encounter? ($$ for bike, race entry, travel, specific training, etc)
If you answer no and/or “pretty taxing to very taxing” I would seriously consider joining the yelling, full drinks in hand spectators on the side lines. Also, the last question, realize there are a lot of other factors that come into play with your race sch. There are only so many times you can go all out in one season. And while a cross race may be short in relation to road races and triathlons you normally train for they are hard. Really hard! One of the most important things to having a good training program that leads to a successful season is being rested, both physically and mentally. Be sure you can achieve enough total down time between your training phases.
If you feel after answering these questions you are in the clear move onto the next set of questions to ask yourself.
Does cyclocross address any of my weaknesses specific to my A race(s)?
Does cyclocross address any of my weaknesses not specific to my A race(s)?
Is you’re A race 7 months away or more after your last cyclocross race?
If cross addresses any of your weak areas it is worth considering. For some, like my self cross is every thing I am bad at on the road wrapped up into 1 hr with a punch in the jaw at the start! For athletes like me cross is a great and extremely fun way to train that weakness. (see my last article) However, and very importantly, the first set of questions are the most important. If you are to be at your best for your BIG event of the year being properly rested, having a good build up of systematic training trumps all. So consider your options carefully.
So now how do you use this “cross thing” to your advantage? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
The big picture: your a race is months and months away! Don’t get too caught up in your “cross training” this should be for fun! Leave the ego at home.
Focus your training on basic skills: You’re racing cyclocross because it is going to address some weak areas but don’t forget to spend time training the basics that got you to where you are now. For example, aerobic base, technique. and efficiency of movement in your primary sports, core strength and flexibility.
Check your mental state: Its early in the game for you. If you find yourself not pumped up for a muddy race or training ride in the cold rain stay home!! Like I said before being mentally rested and ready to go come time for the big day is the most important preparation you can do.
I think this can be best done with a training plan. This “transition training plan” has 2 options one with cross and one without. It also realizes that cyclocross is not our primary focus but the first step in our preparation. See sample Here.