Base training



Now that we're almost at the start of a new season, there's some talk about base training ... something I suppose most of already know lots about.

As far as I can gather, there are many advatages of doing base training e.g provide an aerobic base on top of which you can build, push up your lactate threshold, bla bla bla...all to enable you to improve your cycling...and it seems to me this is something you should do regardless of whether you managed to stay fit during the winter months.

So, I've decided to dedicate the month of Aug (and prob. a part of Sept) to base training.

Some questions I have for you experts...

Apparantly, during this phase, one should stick to 60 - 70% of your max HR ... is that right? My 70% should be about 132 (70% of 220 - age 32) ... d*mn, that's boringly low!! Will 65 - 75% be to high?

Obviously you'll try and find a flat route but they are not always around. So, if and when you encounter a nasty hill on your route, if is the end of the world if you exceed you upper limit temporarily?

What does one do when an important race (e.g. Canca Lost City) falls within this period of base training? Do you adapt you training to ensure that you at least finish within a reasonable time without compromising your training to much?

Does anyone have more info/article on this subject?
Not at all. During the 'base' period, it just means that the majority of your training should be dedicated to 'base' training, usually along with other training like resistance and/or x-training. 'Basing' is usually done during the off months, were you can afford to take it easy and do high mileage at a mild pace. Doing an interval or hard ride during this period won't negatively affect your 'base'. Base training usually means long hours in the saddle, which unfortunately does'nt come within a month. If you plan to base during August, you'll have to ride often and far, unfortunately (or fortunately, whichever way you see it).

2LAP, whatya say?
I'm with VO2 on this one, I like to think that during the base phase of training you get all of that training that although very important doesn't make you quick enough for races!

Characteristics of the base phase include:
Low intensity and high volume.
Fun and interesting.
Focus on physical conditioning (particularly aerobic).
Work on mental skills.
Work on technical skills.

Without a good base phase your pre-comp and comp phases where you get ready and start racing wont be as good! If you find base training dull get someone to work with. What makes Base training hard is the high workload, not caused by lots of intensity but by high volumes.

Bradly Wiggins in the UK (Codofis Pro) aged 22 completed 35 hours a week around Christmas. Imagine how low his intensities must have been to allow that level of volume.

Try rides for 2 to 4 hours plus, going at the % of MHR you suggested this might prove quite tough mentaly as well as physicaly. You can ride at between 60 to 80% MHR for this, but vary the intensities at which you ride (one day 65% and another 75%). Also get your MHR tested, you can do this yourself just check out some of the other postings!

Don't worry about efforts up hills etc. but remember every effort will affect the duration you can ride for. Why not include one or two harder rides a week to get this out of your system. However remember you'll net to rest afterwards otherwise volume will suffer.

If you want to do an important race, you cant have it in your base phase. This would be daft as you would be at your slowest! You need to peak for this so should be doing specific training and tapering. Base training is for the off phase.

Why not check some links for periodisation and if you need to peak a couple of times a year 'double or triple periodisation'. Sounds like you want to start training properly, this makes for a good start.

PS. Base phase is when you work on your weeknesses and the in the comp phase prior to your races you develop your strengths.

Also at 80% MHR you'll be lucky to last 2 hours.
At 60% MHR you'll ride all day. Remember to eat well as nutrition is the limiting factor in performance of these types of efforts.
Hey guys, while we're on the subject.

How much training are you currently doing.

I'm doing 1.5 hours every morning (Tuesdays to Fridays) plus an additional hour and a half at Kyalami on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I then do three to four hours on a Saturday and a 3 hour MTB ride on a Sunday.
I'm basing over the weekends (3 hrs + rides), but I'll soon be starting with more serious stuff.
Apart from that, I've been riding along with the guys over the Pyrinees and Alp's these last three weeks. ;D
I'm on a fully periodised program, based around 3 weeks of progressivly higher workload, followed by 1 week at a low workload.

In my hardest week I do abut 15 hours riding but that includes a 10 mile TT and some intervals. Very tough. The periodisation is used so that I can recover.

Doing the same thing week in week out isn't smart, your program needs to get progressivly tougher as you get fitter. If it doesn't you'll get to a level of fitness and get stuck there!
I'm doing indoor training 3-4 times a week and a 40km ride on a sunday.

Indoor training consists of =/- 30 minutes of fartleg training
Thanks for all the valuable info. Yip, 2LAP, after 10 months of "informal" cycling I feel the time has come for proper training.

As far as training at the moment goes:

Tue - Kyalami - +/- 1:20.
Wed - Spinning + circuit.
Thu - Kyalami - +/- 1:20.
Sat - Circuit and/or spinning (1out 3 Saturdays).
Sun - 60km slow ride (skipped a couple the last 2 months).

Sheees, labrat with that kind of training you must be flying!!So, will we see you in the Alps next year this time;)

As far as volume goes, I try and up it from now on by going further on Sundays and also by doing a Sat. ride. The slow rides will also be good way of getting rid of some extra weight I've been carrying around. I guess last night's drinking excursion didn't do the weight good at all.

The other thing I want to do is to join a club to ride with in the mornings / weekends - just waiting for it to get a little bit warmer. The periodised training program is something that I should develop taking major races etc. in account - I've seen one of these before in either the Ride / SA Cycling mag. Will find it and base mine on that.

Dunno about you guys, but the way Lance rode up Mont Ventoux (sp??) the other day, even though he didn't get first place, really inspired me!!
I'm keeping the pace very civilised so I'm not looking for speed at the moment. I'm happy if we average 28 to 30. I'm not trying to push harder yet. (Although on some days when we work harder, we still only ave 30-31 so, no not flying yet. I have another 4 weeks of base training.

Yup, that Mr Armstrong can climb. Can you imagine how demotivating it must be for the fellas that he drops like they're looking for parking. I'm really chuffed for Boogerd though, he deserved that stage win.
For me to ave 30 I have to work quite hard...hopefully that'll change in the future.

Lab_Rat, r u doing the Lost City race? If so, since you'll still be base training what's your plan for preparing/riding it?

If I was Beloki, after Lance's counter attack, I'd pull over and go looking for the nearest pub.
I've decided for the moment on not doing it, (the Cansa Race) as none of my friends are doing it and it seems a bit pointless to drive out there alone. If I find enough people wanting to do it, I'll try and get a substitution entry.

My tack on it would be to go for it. The majority of your base training is at 60% - 70%, so one ride at race pace shouldn't do any harm. I would make sure that I had a recovery period built in after it though, so therefore I would take it very easy for the following week. (Maybe some gym work instead of one of the rides) and keeping it calm, even if you can ride harder. Remember that base training does not totally exclude some hard rides.

On that note, I think I'm going to join Beloki in the bar and watch the end of today's stage.
Good advice here. One thing to remember for base training:

Imagine a 45° triangle. The bigger the base, the higher the peak.
Training is a pizza - By Scott Schnitzspahn (

Two things most endurance athletes love are training and pizza. What most people do not realize is that putting together a training plan and making a pizza are very similar processes.

The most important component to building a good pizza, and a good athlete, is to establish a large and solid base to support all of the more scrumptious components of your masterpiece. The base of a pizza is the crust of course. Without a thick and large diameter crust, a pizza will not be able to hold all of the sauce, cheese, and toppings that are responsible for a truly great tasting creation. Also, should the pizza crust be too small, the amount of toppings that you will want to add might not fit and could simply fall off.

The base of your training program should be aerobic endurance training. Without a large base of endurance training, an athlete will not be able to effectively absorb and recover from higher intensity intervals, anaerobic training or competition. Should you begin adding specific intervals and racing efforts to your training before building a large enough base, you may find that you cannot recover effectively and that your performance, like a pizza without a good crust, is not as good as you expect.

Creating a large and tasty pizza crust is not easy though. Chicago-style pizza is famous around the world for the thick, buttery crust and is many people's favorite. However, even the best dough can result in a bad crust if the dough is cooked too fast or not enough. A burnt or undercooked crust can ruin even the best pizza. Are you seeing where this article is going? If you haven't gone to the phone to order your pizza yet, read on.

Creating a base of aerobic fitness is probably the most crucial step in an endurance athlete's training program. However, like a pizza, building your base too fast or "under-cooking" your aerobic conditioning without enough volume will result in poorer performance later in the season.

To be safe, the base building phase of your training should last between eight and 14 weeks. The less experience you have in endurance training, the longer your base building period should be. Also, the longer and more intense your racing season will be (more toppings), the bigger your aerobic base should be. Workouts that build your base consist of aerobic-paced, low-intensity miles or laps in the pool. Aerobic base building workouts should be at a heart rate approximately eight to 30 beats below your lactate threshold or between 60-80 percent of maximum heart rate. While this training is "easy," it provides the perfect opportunity to focus on your technique with specific drills, fine tune your biomechanics and positioning and experiment with new equipment and nutrition supplements like sports drinks, energy bars or gels. The duration of these workouts should be increased in small increments, usually no more than 10 percent per week. Additionally, you'll benefit from a "regeneration week" every four to six weeks in which training volume is cut back 20 to 50 percent in order to absorb the previous weeks of training and mentally prepare you for the upcoming workouts in the following weeks.

Continue to build your base until about eight weeks from your peak racing period. After your base period, with your aerobic system maximized, you can start to add in threshold intervals, early season training races and high-intensity interval training. These types of workouts and low-priority races serve as the toppings to your aerobic "crust". The more base you have built, the more high intensity training you will be able to perform and the better your racing season performances will be. In other words, the bigger and better your crust, the more toppings you can add and the better your pizza will be.

Scott Schnitzspahn is a CTS/TriathlonGold coach who enjoys base training almost as much as his hometown Chicago-style pizza
i live in a valley ie have to climb out but the climbs dont stop there.. how on earth do i get base miles in with this area being so taxing from the get go? on average my heart rate returns avg's of high 70's and low 80's and i consider myself relativley fit!! :mad:
[quote author=Vo2 link=board=19;threadid=974;start=15#21549 date=1034065101]<br />Swim! ;)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />thanks but i think i'll stick to bombing around on the bike, who knows the hills may make me enjoy the 94.7 :eek: its the legs that i want to make strong anyway as its them that can't keep up with the lungs!! :p
I wished I lived in a valley, I'll ride 'em mountains all day!
Ha Ha, given that I know you live in G'town Bomber might I suggest that you just learn to love hills. And get some nice solid training wheels. With that the cycle to Port Alfred and Back is a classic, hilly but if you want to make it easy..... Go slowly. Even hills can be easy if you go slowly enough. Also the cycle out past the Golf Course along Cradock Road is a useful little ride. Unfortunately I wasn't cycling much while I was there, and that I did was MTB'ing. I couldn't handle the wind most of the time and for my last year (which was when I was getting into MTB'ing) I lived out in Stones Hill, making a nice ride in to varsity (All downhill there so one doesn't get sweaty, uphill back for the training)
I ride around North Wales a lot here in the UK. Are there any pics of your training roads on the web? Make me green with envy!