Sunday, January 9, 2011

The end of the first week of 2011

And thus, my first week of training for 2011 has ended: 1 outdoors short aerobic-paced ride, 2 rides on a trainer, a couple of runs and some weights.    This month will be easy, with a greater focus on running and maybe 2 rides/week outdoors, and 1 spinning session on the trainer.    And I am saying "screw this" to roadie-skinny, and going back to doing weight training for my upper body.    If that means a couple of extra kilos, so be it.

The big question facing me is - what do I really do about base?   Thomas Chappell and Joel Friel both are very keen supporters of a proper base period.   However, Hunter Allen, in his recent e-book on TT Training, actually says that he thinks long slow rides are not really that useful for TT riders who are doing shorter, faster rides.  His argument is, the loss of wattage in base takes a long time to gain back.     And he recommends a month off the bike, with a strong focus on running, as a way to crosstrain and kick off a new season of training.

That makes intuitive sense for me - but so do the arguments for base:  namely, improving aerobic efficiency, which allows for greater  FTP gains later.  

The good thing is, Chappell, Friel and Allen all agree that the first month of a season is best spent cross-training, so that is what I plan to do for the rest of January.  Then we will see what we will see, I suppose.


  1. Never compromise base. Period. Your idea of even 5 months of base training is very good. The idea of base is to develop maximum possible aerobic capacity. Without it there is NO point doing intervals or hard rides. Trust me.
    My aim is to do base rides in first 3-4 months with following goals
    - ride a lot in zone 1,2 concentrating on my spinning (maintaining continuous spinning at 100 avg without any coasting for a 1-2hr ride with HR in zone1)
    - get max speed within zone 2 that i can sustain: my aim is 35-40kmph sustained speeds within zone2 (i.e. all aerobic efforts)
    - climb short hills without going into zone3 and maintaining decent speed and cadence (how decent has to be quantified currently in my plan).

    Once all this is achieved, then i'll concentrate on anaerobic efforts for another 3 months. You can have 1-2 hard rides in base period also but not much.
    Anaerobic efforts will only work best on a sound base. And then tune up the top end speeds. Think that if i can sustain 40kmph always in zone2, what more my heart can do for higher speeds. How much higher can i go. If i dont have sound base, i'll be huffing puffing at 40 only - so no point doing intervals after that

    About cross-training - its good for strength & core conditioning in base period upto max two times a week. But nothing improves cycling than cycling more and tackling each aspect of that.

    Base is boring work and most neglected but is responsible for best results in cycling.

  2. Good point about the (loss of) wattage. I'm a much better conditioned runner than cyclist - could sustain 300+W for over an hour running; sadly much less cycling. But I've not been able to run since June (torn Achilles), and I can really feel the consequences of not having been able to regularly train aerobically at that intensity. Cycling's improving, but at my advanced age it's taking bloody long :)