Cyclocross Training Schedule

From Simon Burney


September             (3 weeks of training)

Mon       20 min steady running, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm

Tue         20 min steady running, am.  60 min circuit training, pm  

Wed       20 min steady running, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm  

Thu         20 min steady running, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm 

Fri           60 min level 1 recovery ride  

Sat          30 min cross technique, 60 min cross race simulation.

Sun         2-3 hour recovery ride over rolling terrain.


September             (1 week recovery)

Mon, Wed, Fri      60 min level 1 recovery ride  

Tue, Thu                20 min steady running, am

Sat, Sun                 90 min level 2 road ride.


October                  (3 weeks of training)

Mon       60 min level 1 road ride

Tue         20 min run, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm  

Wed       20 min run, am.  30 min warmup, 30 min level 3 road ride,or turbo trainer pm  

Thu         20 min run, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm 

Fri           60 min level 1 recovery ride  

Sat          2 hour level 1 recovery ride  

Sun         Race or race simulation


October                  (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above


November              (3 weeks of training)

Mon       60 min level 1 road ride

Tue         25 min run Level 3+, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm  

Wed       30 min intervals on Turbotrainer, am.  60 min level 1 road ride, pm  

Thu         20 min run Level 2, am.  30 min warmup, 30 min level 3 road ride or turbo trainer, pm 

Fri           rest or 45-60 min level 1 recovery ride  

Sat          Race or race simulation

Sun         Race or race simulation


November              (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above


December              (3 weeks of training)

Mon       60 – 90 min level 1 road ride

Tue         30 min running, am.  60 min level 2 road ride, pm  

Wed       30 min intervals on turbo trainer, am  60 min cross skills, pm  

Thu         25 min running, am.  60 min level 2 road ride with jumps, pm 

Fri           rest or 45 - 60 min level 1 recovery ride  

Sat          Race or race simulation

Sun         Race or race simulation


December              (1 week recovery) Same recovery as above

Preparing for the Cyclo-Cross Season
From  Adam Myerson

I know it's the middle of summer, and many of you might be struggling just to get through the rest of the road or mountain bike season. The thought of racing through the fall and winter might be more than you can bear right now. But for some riders, cyclo-cross has become the focus of their racing, or at least as important as the racing they do the rest of the year. And since July tends to be the time that many riders are feeling run down and over trained, it's a good time for a break. A one- to two-week vacation from riding and racing followed by a build up that starts from square one again can leave you racing strong on the road or mountain bike in the late summer and fall, and peaking in October, November and December when the real action is on.

The first thing you have to pin down are your goals for the 'cross season. Do you want to be going well right out of the blocks in October? Is there a regional or national race series in which you want to do well in over all? Is there one big race locally you want to target, or are all your eggs in the basket for Nationals in December? You might even be planning to venture to Europe in January, or perhaps you live in the Southeast or Texas where they're lucky enough to keep racing 'cross until February.

All these concerns factor in to what level you start your 'cross program from. If you've taken the summer off and are really just getting things rolling now, then you'll have to start from a low level and build up slowly, with perhaps as much as three months of aerobic base training taking you into the heart of the season in November. At the other extreme, if you need to be raging in October for the start of your local series or maybe the string of Northeast UCI races, you'll need a different approach. You might only do one four- to six-week cycle of aerobic work, and have to rely on your fitness from the road or mountain bike season to get back into top shape quickly.

Since your training for 'cross will most likely overlap with some important late-season road or mountain bike races, there are certain 'cross-specific workouts you might have to avoid until as late as September. Running and road racing mix like oil and water, so if you've got a big event late you might decide to put off your uphill running sprints or tempo on the trails until after that point. Even then, you've got to introduce running into your workouts slowly. Ten to fifteen minutes per session to start is enough to let your body begin to adapt to what's to come. If 'cross is your priority, then you can start your running adaptation right from the get-go, leaving you in a good position to be turning the screws on the pure roadies when you hit the run-ups in October.

Your general routine for 'cross shouldn't be that different from what you might do in the road or mountain bike season, with the exception of your workouts on foot:

If you're serious about cyclo-cross, then these suggestions and time-line will help get you on track for a good start to the season. If you've never raced 'cross before and are thinking about giving it a go, now's the time to start looking for a bike and making sure you're ready when the September training races begin.

Running for Cyclo-Cross
From  Adam Myerson

Most of us are bike racers, not runners. And while some of us may have a little more natural talent for it, or even a running or triathlon background, running when you've spent a season racing road or mountain bikes just plain hurts. It takes some specific work to first be able to incorporate adaptive running into your training as the 'cross season approaches, and then actually be able to do some structured training to improve your running fitness. 'Cross is painful enough, but by focusing on running in your training you can turn a weakness into a strength, or further your advantage if that's where you're already strong.

The first step in your running program should be to determine when you think you can begin to include it as part of your workouts. Ideally, you don't want to begin until after your last important road or mountain bike event of the year. A mountain bike racer might be able to handle it a bit sooner, and may even include running as part of their plan already. But for a road rider, nothing will kill your speed worse that running, so wait as long as you can. If 'cross is your specialty and you're using the road or mountain bike events only as training, then you can begin running as soon as you start your base period for the season.

Once they begin, a mistake many riders make is to go for long, extended runs. That's great if you're training for a 10K, but in 'cross you have to be specific. Take a look at the length of time you're typically on foot in a 'cross race. Normally it's for stretches where you're at maximum intensity for about 15 seconds or so, and the longest a run should be in a well-designed 'cross course is 80 meters. Sounds more like a short sprint to me than a 10KS 'Cross races might be lost on the runs, but they're rarely won. It's still mostly about who can pedal their bike the fastest.

Even if you're emphasizing short bursts, you still need to do some adaptive work to be able to handle the training. Start with short, 15-minute jogs at a very low intensity one to two times a week, just to get your body used to the movement. When you can finish 15 minutes of jogging with no soreness the next day, you're ready to go. That might take only a week, or as long as a month. Always wait until the soreness subsides before you undertake another running workout.

When you're ready to introduce some real running work, there are a number of different ways to do it. Again, because you should be emphasizing short bursts, much of your running can take the form of a traditional Tuesday sprint workout. Find a steep hill, ideally off-road, that takes you 10-15 seconds to sprint up. Structure the workout just as I've described here previously for the road: 100% effort, from rest, with the sprints being no closer than one every 2 minutes. How many you do will depend on how many quality efforts you're able to complete. You should consider your average 'cross race: how many laps is normal, and how many runs per lap? If you have 2 decent runs in a race that will be about 10 laps, then you should be prepared to build up to 20 solid sprinting efforts in your workout.

You can do this as its own workout without your bike, where you simply jog at a light intensity to your sprinting spot and jog home. You can also do it as part of a 'cross ride where you do your warm up on the bike, and then include a dismount and mount as part of your sprinting effort. If your technique is good and you want to isolate the specific fitness aspect of the sprint, then chose the former approach. If you feel you still need work on your skills and ability to run well with the bike on your shoulder, choose the latter.

There are courses or regions where you'll find yourself dealing with longer, extended runs, and the 15-second efforts aren't enough to prepare you for all your races. This is where you might try to include more running as part of your training on Wednesday. Wednesday should normally be the day for a 'cross-specific workout on a local course or with a small group session. Here you can try to incorporate a longer, up to a minute-long run as part of your course. You might also decide to do a separate running workout, ideally in the morning, where you designate some of your threshold training work to be done on foot. Up to 15 -minute running intervals at LT is a slightly less race-specific approach, but can be a good way to improve on the longer runs.

Another angle on your running training for 'cross is to use it as a substitute workout on those late fall days where you find yourself stuck at work and getting out after dark. While again, long running days shouldn't be your first choice, if the trainer's lost it's charm and your pressed for time and daylight, converting your intervals for the day to a running workout can help you solve two problems at once. Tuesday and Wednesday are definitely the best days for this. Be sure to focus on the intensity rather than the duration. Get the intervals done, but don't worry about hitting the total time you might have done if you were out on the bike.

There are many different ways to approach running for 'cross. Your training might vary from 3-5 days a week with at least a short jog, to the other extreme of only running during a 'cross workout or race. What you decide should be based on the time you have available to add a running workout, if it's a strength or weakness you want to emphasize, or if the courses you race on require that you improve your skills off the bike. You might find that a little more focus on your running is a small investment that returns big dividends, and turns a place you once suffered into a place you can attack.

Adam Hodges Myerson is a cycling coach, race promoter, team manager, and USCF category 1 racer. In addition to being a cycling coach, he is a former Collegiate National Cyclo-Cross champion and promoter of both the New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series and the Amherst International UCI Cyclo-Cross.  His company is called Cycle-Smart, and he can be reached at He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife, Allison, and their two cats Birdie and Marie.