October and November are Best for Base-Training, not January!
For many years now I have not really stuck with the concept of ‘base training’, particularly for cyclists like myself who don’t really have loads of time to enjoy this great activity. Those who know me well will be aware I hardly ride the road bike between mid-November and the end of February. So, naturally, the opening sentence might come as a surprise. Is this a change of heart? Nope, not at all.
For endurance athletes, intensity and interval training are still the best uses of limited training time. But being short on time also means you have to be smart; you have to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. October and November are the best opportunities for you to focus your endurance training, and here’s why…
You are Already Fit After a Summer of Cycling
There are probably some athletes with events still coming up, but for many the summer season is over. You have fitness gained through months of hard work. Why let that fitness fade away?
Everything you give up you must work to regain, so minimize your losses between now and the end of the year by taking advantage of your fitness to put high-quality training hours in the bank now. Don’t wait until your fitness has started slipping away to embark on a new exercise and training programme.
You are Probably no Longer Preparing for Events
High-intensity, low-volume training can build fitness in a short period of time so you can perform well in an event that is important to you. But this fitness can be short lived. You’re building power at lactate threshold and VO2 max without a big base of aerobic fitness to support it.
Your fitness is perhaps ‘top heavy’ and collapses under its own weight if you try to continue high-intensity training for too long. That’s why it’s a method that can be used to prepare for events, which when done, you would then need to back off the intensity for a while before starting another build period.
Since you may not be preparing for an event now, you can spend a longer period focused on endurance training. That doesn’t mean you have to dramatically increase your weekly training hours, because you likely can’t anyway, but it does mean you should consider arranging endurance rides into 3- to 5-day blocks…
What Should Those Training Blocks Look Like?
Don’t overdo it on the first day. You’re aiming for consistency, and riding for too long on Day 1 often comes back to haunt you by hurting performance on Day 3 or 4.
Two or three high-quality hours are better than crawling along with a lower power output and speed during hours 4 and 5 as the benefits will drop off in those latter hours.
And don’t forget that you’ll need to take a couple of days off after an endurance block.
4 Hours in January is Going to Feel a Lot Longer Than 4 Hours Now!
There is a lot more suffering involved in a 3-4 hour ride in January compared to October. Put in hours while the weather is better, and be flexible. When you get a warm week of weather, take advantage of it and get out there! This time of year you probably have a lot more flexibility to move training days around to take advantage of the best weather.
Save the Intervals for Indoors, you can be more specific and do them in a safer environment.
Of course, if like me the opportunity to ride outdoors has already rapidly diminished then our longer Wattbike sessions are a great alternative. But why not also consider some cross training to promote a better all-round fitness?
When the clocks go back, it will herald the start of cold, wet and windy days – perfect for training – not!
Accessing the facilities at FiftyTwoTwelve Fitness Studio may well seem a whole lot better of an idea. Planned, structured training sessions, alongside likeminded people, to keep you motivated and build on your fitness ready for the 2020 season.
All you need to do now is plan to come along!
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