Sorry if this is in the wrong subforum, but I'm interested in hearing responses from successful racers, and this is training with the intention of eventually racing at a high level, so I thought it might belong.
A friend and I were discussing what base training should be like for pros, and how that can translate to those of us who can't ride 6 hours a day. I'm completely new to cycling, but I've been a distance runner for a long time, where I could basically do the same volume as a lower-mileage pro. My friend was saying something like how he doesn't believe in base training, because he doesn't understand how so much easy riding could possibly be beneficial. But in my experience from running, at least, the period when you do your base training is one of the most miserable times of the year. The mileage alone makes you tired all the time, on top of whatever workouts you try to do, and you're doing so much that you're generally cranky and irritable (and that's assuming you aren't overtraining). When I was running high mileage, it wasn't like I had to hold back to run slowly -- I just didn't have the exuberance/stupidity to go much faster unless it was for a workout.
So when people talk about base training for cycling, should it feel kind of miserable, or is it really meant to be an easy period of training? And if it's supposed to feel kind of miserable but you don't have the time to ride 6 hours a day, how do people alter their training to take that into account?