Base Training

If you and I have ever discussed training, you’ve heard me say, probably to the point of boredom, that athletes tend to train too hard. By this, I mean that their work generally falls in Zone 3 (what I sometimes call the junk zone), when really their work should be primarily Zones 1-2 (approximately 80% of training volume) with a dash of Zones 4-6 (approximately 20% of training volume). Training in Zone 3 may feel “hard” or “easy” depending on the day, but it’s not easy enough for recovery and not hard enough to develop top end power–riding hard all of the time is the recipe for burnout.

Less experienced athletes often feel that Zone 1-2 work is a “waste of time,” because the mantra “no pain, no gain” must be true because it’s used in basketball, football, soccer, tennis, track, and everywhere else. The truth is that for an endurance athlete (which nearly all cyclists are), the speed comes by learning to go slow. The bigger the base, the faster the athlete.

Going slow is especially important in the base phase. Here is a series of articles by Joe Friel, one of the most renowned coaches in the sport, discussing base training, which is typically undertaken in the winter:

Frequency / Duration / Intensity / Sample Workouts

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!