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The 12-Week Base Builder

The 12-Week Base Builder

Our 12-Week Base Builder Plan is our most condensed Base Builder Plan option. We’ve found the relative short duration of 12 weeks is just enough time to progress through a complete Strength Base Build in the gym, and run through each of the six primary energy systems we target on the bike in all of our Base Builder plans:

  1. Aerobic Skill
  2. Aerobic Strength
  3. Anaerobic Threshold
  4. Vo2 Max
  5. Anaerobic Power
  6. and Peak Power

In the 12 week version of our proven Base Builder Plans, you get to spend 2 weeks in each of the six energy systems, getting 4 sessions per system to make the necessary gains in base fitness as you begin your build towards your next event season. In the gym, you get three 4-week cycles of strength, building up towards peak strength in week 11. Within the 12-week plan, we find testing once at the beginning the plan to set baselines, once in the middle of the plan to check progress and increase numbers as needed, and a final test at the end to again check progress and set zones for the forth coming Race Prep plan you choose.

Here’s a ‘deeper dive’ into our Base Builder methodology: DEEP DIVE

For Whom is the 12-Week Base Builder Plan?

While we believe the longer your base build can be, the better your peak fitness will be come race day, the shorter 12-Week Base Builder works quite well for a variety of riders. Here are a few of the common rider types that find the 12-Week Base Builder the right choice for them:

  • More Experienced Riders with years of base miles in the their legs. These ‘seasoned’ riders can build fitness more rapidly than less experienced riders. Therefore, a shorter Base Build can work just fine.


  • Cyclocross Racers that extend their season well into Winter before taking a short break to recover. Before you know it, next year’s road or MTB race season is right around the corner! CX’ers have a higher level of season starting fitness (because their season lasts longer) and have less time to build base, so the 12 week option can fit quite well.


  • Similar to the CX’er, the racer that has Two “A” Priority Events that are split by significant time spans (ex. peak for a March event & peak again for a October event) can find doing two complete 12-Week Base Builders & Race Prep plans the best route to build fitness for two seasons within one.


  • The cyclists with Shorter Attention Spans can appreciate the condensed, more rapidly progressing plan. They may find the 12 week version helps keep them engaged and get through a full, albeit shorter, base build.


  • The Oh Sh*t It’s February!” rider. Those folks with busy lives, those that get lazy after their race season, those that like to enjoy other activities like skiing, or the just plain forgetful types, may find that the 12-Week Base Builder can save their season and get them in shape just in time for a summer A race.

Regardless of the rider type, our 12-Week Base Builder is highly effective. The rapidly progressing programming may not yield the highest level of peak fitness compared to the longer 18-Week or 24 -Week Base Builder, but you will gain significant base fitness and be ready to tackle any of our Race Prep Plans to hone your event specific fitness for a peak on race day.

Low-Volume vs. High-Volume

As with all our Base Builder Plans, we offer the 12-Week Base Builder in a Low-Volume option & a High-Volume option. The primary difference between the two is an additional “aerobic set” of intervals on the mid-week structured sessions (trainer or outdoors) and second aerobic ride on the weekends (making it Saturday & Sunday rides on the High-Volume plan vs. Saturday rides with an ‘optional’ Sunday spin as time allows on the Low-Volume plan. The strength training programming in the gym trains the same between both plan versions.

Which plan is right for you? Well, that depends on how much time you have available on a weekly basis to train (4-5 days per week for 1-3 hours on the Low-Volume plan vs. 5-7 days per week 1.5-5 hours per day on the High Volume plan). Also take in to consideration your ability to recover between workouts and week to week. More experienced riders often do better on the High-Volume plan while newer riders do quite well on the Low-Volume plans. Lastly, there is plenty of room to adjust things to meet your own needs on a day to day to week to week basis. You can easily add more aerobic volume to either version of the plan to fit your overall training volume goals.

You can check out the details and descriptions of both 12-Week Base Builder Plans by clicking the links below.

If you have time for and want to build a bigger base, check out our 18 and/or 24 week Base Builder options as well.

Good luck & Happy Base Building!


Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach, and founder of Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Looking for help with your endurance sport training? Check out his Stock Training Plans, Custom Training Plans, and  Personal Coaching options created to fit your needs and budget.




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