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Race Prep Plans

Race Prep Plans

With Spring around the corner, most athletes are putting the final touches on their off-season Base Builder training. Following one of our Base Builder Programs, athletes have gone through an extensive strength building program in the gym combined with a progression through the six primary aerobic energy systems we utilize on the bike, from lowest intensity to highest intensity:

  1. Aerobic (all day power)
  2. Aerobic Threshold (2-4 hour power)
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (32-64 minute power)
  4. Vo2 Max (8-16 minute power)
  5. Anaerobic Power (1-4 minute power)
  6. Peak Power (5-20 second power)

Depending on when they got started with their Base Builder training and how much time available for building Base, athletes went through a 12, 18 or 24 week progression; in 2, 3 or 4 week blocks dedicated to each energy system mentioned above. Regardless of your exact Base building protocol you may have followed, as you come to the end of your Base phase you may be asking yourself this question:

With my Base now built and general cycling fitness established, what comes next?

Race Preparation Training

Where Base Building is general fitness development; Race Preparation is specific fitness development for your A-priority event(s) of the year.

Your A-priority event is your primary target event for which you are building peak fitness. Learn more about how to prioritize your racing season for a peak performance HERE.

Your Race Preparation training should take into account the specific demands of your race. The key elements that help you choose your Race Prep training plan include:

  • Style of Racing:
    • Road
    • MTB
    • Gravel
    • Cyclocross
  • Energy System Demands:
    • Short, repeated anaerobic efforts
    • Medium to long duration high-intensity efforts
    • Longer, sustained efforts
  • Duration of Event:
    • 1-2 hours
    • 3-6 hours
    • 7+ hours

Race Prep Training Targets

Base training expands your capacity to do work. Much of base training is about developing the aerobic engine while exposing you to relatively small doses of higher intensity work. As you head into Race Prep, you can now build upon this work capacity by adding more high intensity loads that are more and more race specific.

We finish Base Builder at the top of the energy system chain of intensity: Peak Power. From here in Race Prep, we now reverse the intensity order and back our way down the intensity chain through in the following order:

  1. Anaerobic Power  (1-4 minute power)
  2. Vo2 Max  (8-16 minute power)
  3. Anaerobic Threshold  ( 32-64 minute power)
  4. Aerobic Threshold  (2-4 hour power)
  5. Aerobic Endurance  (all day power)

This second time through (ascending the energy system chain with Base being the first) you are now more fit and able to do more work (ie. more intervals and/or more power). Since high intensity training gains are made relatively quickly (as well as lost relatively quickly), our preferred progression is fairly rapid in two-week mini-blocks per energy system focus, going only as far down the energy system chain as required by your A-priority event (style, demands, duration).

  • Examples:
    • 45-90 minute event, requiring repeated high intensity efforts
      • i.e.. criteriums, CX, XCO, might only go down through Anaerobic Power & Vo2 Max systems
    • 3-6 hour event, requiring more steady sustained power
      • ie. fondo/gravel race or marathon MTB might go further down through the Anaerobic Threshold & Aerobic Threshold systems
    • 7+ hour event requiring rock solid aerobic power
      • i.e.. Dirty Kanza or Leadville 100 MTB, would go all the way through the Aerobic Endurance energy system

In a nutshell, the shorter and more anaerobic the event, the shorter the Race Prep progression required with the focus on high power (and more repeatable it can be for multiple events over several weeks/months). Whereas, the longer the event you’re training for, the longer the build must be to work back through the energy systems; this allows time to simultaneously build endurance through increased volume (longer rides) as the intensity lowers with each energy system mini-block you descend through leaving you with both the intensity and endurance required for your event.

Select a Race Prep Plan that works for your A Race.

We have a variety of Race Prep Plans from which to choose that target specific events:

The examples within this post are very basic and simple. Real life and complicated race schedules are not. So as with any training plan, you will likely need to adjust and tweak our Race Prep plans to fit your exact scheduling needs. However, they will provide you with the basic weekly structure you will find effective for building your race specific fitness.



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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