Coach Jack Plans — How to tweak Jack’s Plans for a perfect build period.

There are 3 core block types in Coach Jack. Base, Build and Peak. These three blocks or periods were popularized by Joe Friel.

While each block serves a purpose, this article is about the build block. If you come into your build period with a solid base and reasonably rested, then the build period is when you will see your biggest gains of the year.

Hours for an example build period


A “perfect” build block sets you up for a perfect season. A great build period is fun but also can be a dangerous and it is easy to get it wrong. Assuming you are consistent in your training, doing too much is likely worse than doing too little. Too much leads to burn out an injury, but slightly too little just means you might want to push a little harder later in your season.

If you go into your build period with a lot of previous hard training or accumulated training stress then you increase the chance that you are burned out before you get to your desired peak period. Most people can only handle about 4–6 months of continuous pushing before becoming over worked.

Jack is well designed for an optimum build period. You can have multiple build periods in the year but the most common time for elite road cyclists tends to be late January through the end of March.

After your build period, you want to do activities that mimic your primary goal as much as possible but during the build period you can follow more of a generic program.

So the point you came here for “Tweaking the knobs.”

The first “knob” is the build block type. Proven with many elite and pro cyclists and our favorite is the Serious Italian but really any of these other than the Base block types make sense for a build block depending on how you like to train and how much time you have. All these build blocks have 3-key workouts.

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Below “Edit Custom” this let you define your own blocks but are still based on logical progressions and Coach Jack’s rules. While we know many pro riders that start out the season on the Serious Italian Intensity level #1, many people coming from other platforms don’t believe that level of intensity is enough for them. We have some other interesting options highlighted below that when combined with the intensity slider, the ramp rate and ride feel can give you seriously hard workouts. They might look ok in the beginning but by the end you might have wish you had chosen a softer plan 🙂 You need progression, so look at the last weeks of the build period to make sure you can handle them.


SFR and Dynamic Force are amazing workouts that most riders don’t do today. They target strength endurance by focusing on high pressure (newton meter) pedal strokes via lower RPM training.

Below is our ramp rate slider. This is both a combination of TSS increases as well as hour increases. We don’t believe people should have fixed hours and high variability in intensity as that changes the whole nature of training and becomes a TSS and intensity focused plan which we do not feel is the optimum way to train.


This 3/1 or 2/1 means 3 hard weeks followed by 1 easy week or 2 hard weeks followed by 1 easy week. People in heavy race seasons need more recovery and might choose 2/1 as well as masters riders also frequently need more recovery. If at the end of 3 weeks you are feeling tired you might want to consider switch to the 2/1 pattern.

You also can see customize daily limits which allows you to put a limit on how long each ride is.

Hours at start of blocks should match what you are currently doing or what you plan on being at when you reach the start of this block. You can move it up or down a little but doing huge jumps up are risky.

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As mentioned above pros start their season at level #1. They start out easy and by the end of the block get to a reasonable level of difficult. You do not need to train at your maximum level or any where close to failure. You can gradually build up so that your build block never feels too hard. Our pro coach advisor and the designer of these plans Andrea Morelli realizes this is not what most people preach. But Tour de France winners have used very similar plans so you can too. It just requires a change in thinking.


You also see ride feel above. If you are a slave to TSS or just love pain, cranking ride feel up, a custom plan as suggested above and the intensity slider up to 10 you can get some hard workouts. We believe this is unnecessary but really if that is what you believe or what you consider fun, have at it 🙂

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