Is there enough stimulus in CJ?


Quick background of where I’m at and what goals I’d like to achieve. I’ll try to be brief but detailed.

Wright: 75 kg
Ftp: 285 was 305 peak of summer
Goal: 325+ without being wrecked physically
Years riding: about 6, previously ran 20 mikes/week socially.
Realistic time to train per week: 10-12 hrs with Sat long ride 4-6 hrs of that time.

For 2 years, I primarily race gravel and usually competitive but need more strength to be a winning contender. 2020, I gain a good bit of fitness on the bike with pandemic (at home) and doing trainer road, but got burned out mid season with so much threshold work. 2021 I got a coach and was disappointed in the level of interaction and decided I can make a similar plan myself with help from trainer day workouts. 2022 I did just that and did ok. I did alot of Z2 work through the winter (3 months at 10 hrs per week avg of Z2). Then slow ramped into intervals through the spring. I did loose alot of top end by doing this. Over time, I gain strength back but it seems that when I reach that 300w level, I struggle to keep doing workouts of the same template that got me there and fizzle out.

So, I think I need a program that won’t blow me up mid summer, but offers enough stimulus to keep building me up. Secret sauce, right?

I built a 12 week plan with CJ that’s polarized with 12 hrs that seems ok for base. It’s only one VO2 per week and short intervals in duration and qty. Like 3% of total weekly volume is VO2.

Now, couple questions:

After that block I’m not sure what to do. I built a serious Itialian 8 week block which would put me at beginning of race season, but the workouts didn’t seem that hard and stimulating for the hard days.

So, my concern with CJ is will there enough stimulus on the hard days. I have a better grasp of not going into the red too much, but also understand progressive overload makes gains.



Outside of your values, your situation was much the same as mine.

I leave you this link in case you want to take a look:

From my experience, which is based on experimenting and testing, with some reading about training (I clarify that I am very far from professional coaches) I have found that what really makes you fast is training in Z2. You don’t need hard stimulation all the time, once a week is fine.

Not all people feel good about the same training and I say this because for some reason you didn’t continue with TrainerRoad (just like me :joy:). I realized that it is not necessary to suffer training to improve. In fact, I reached my peak of form (4.33 W/Kg coincidentally the number you want :sweat_smile:) with Coach Jack, which I never could with TR.

I can only tell you that you must try, stick to the plan, be patient and measure your progress. If you notice that it is too soft for you, you can modify the intensity, the advantage of CJ is that it is very dynamic and adaptable.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

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Thanks so much for reaching out. And Andres answer is so much better than mine ever can be. A real live cyclists with results :slight_smile:

It sounds like you have a solid grasp of how to create a plan. You can read through threads here on this forum and see that the Serious Italian is a plan that Andrea Morelli has used to coach many pros and they start at intensity level #1. Cadel Evens used a very similar plan to this to win the TDF in 2011. Andrea designed a lot of Coach Jack. Pros generally do less intensity than the rest of us in training and save their biggest intensity for the races. Jack is all about logical progression without thrashining you. The SFR workout in the Italian plan is amazing if you have never done it.

Now when you get to your peak period this is where you can really put your foot a bit harder into the pedal. You still might want to save your hardest efforts a periodic B race. You likely know this but the build period is a shorter 4-8 week block, that gives you that final top end you need. So up until peak it’s really still a progressive aerobic period that is preparing you for that peak, not burning you out. After you see the value of SFR during build then doing dynamic force is it’s “big brother.”

I know it’s a bit scary at first backing off intensity in a build period but if pros can win races with this strategy my guess the risk is not as big as it seems. Also regarding your base, it sounds really good. I say the main key thing is to make sure you feel really hungry for hard work at the end of it and that hunger will coninue up until almost the end of your build period using CJ plans starting at the lower intensity levels. Remember the goal of each block is just to have you be ready for the next block, not to make you a monster. The peak block is where things come together if you have the right preperation.

For guys that are highly consistent as it sound you are. Andrea really recommends 2-weeks off the bike around Christmas time and focus on strength work or cross training.

Best of luck. I hope you have a story like Andres does to tell at the end of this season :slight_smile: