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Old 05-08-09, 01:19 PM   #1
davids0507
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How should base training *feel*?

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?

Thanks!
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Old 05-08-09, 01:21 PM   #2
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If you can't put in 20 hours a week, then forget about base training. You're better off doing SST.

My teammates who ride in excess of 27 hours of week don't ever say they feel tired, they just feel bored.
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Old 05-08-09, 01:21 PM   #3
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http://www.biketechreview.com/performance/base.htm
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Old 05-08-09, 02:11 PM   #4
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If you can't put in 20 hours a week, then forget about base training. You're better off doing SST.

My teammates who ride in excess of 27 hours of week don't ever say they feel tired, they just feel bored.
who on evo is riding that much? seriously.
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Old 05-08-09, 02:13 PM   #5
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who on evo is riding that much? seriously.
A couple of our Cat 1/2/3 masters put in something like a 27 or 28 hour week over winter base.

Nobody is riding that much now, I don't think.
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Old 05-08-09, 03:02 PM   #6
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right on. still, that's a huge commitment. 15 hours a week outside of racing is about all I can manage and that's all commuting.
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Old 05-08-09, 03:04 PM   #7
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If you can't put in 20 hours a week, then forget about base training.
Wrong on so many levels.
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Old 05-08-09, 03:26 PM   #8
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cedricbosch, can you elaborate?
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Old 05-08-09, 04:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kirk Willett
Why waste your time and incur these significant costs? Even professional riders do not have time to waste. Time is better spent riding harder, recovering sooner, and avoiding unnecessary fatigue when building your base. There is a proper application for those longer, easier rides which shift adaptations towards glycogen storage in lower powered muscle fiber profiles, but they are not the base of cycling performance. 20MP is this base.

Interesting. My coach has not, until this point, sent me out on epic length rides. All of a sudden he is. Maybe he subscribes to this.
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Old 05-08-09, 04:08 PM   #10
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A couple of our Cat 1/2/3 masters put in something like a 27 or 28 hour week over winter base.

Nobody is riding that much now, I don't think.
Them sho ams a lotta hours.
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Old 05-08-09, 04:31 PM   #11
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http://www.andrewlove.org/_sitepages...gIntervals.doc

Riding in zone 3 does everything better and more efficiently than zone 2 in every aspect. If I were trying to get 'base' miles in on a time budget, I'd stick in zone 3 with a little zone 4. If I had a very small time budget, I'd mix it up between zone 3 & 4 equally.

Zone 5-7 are probably as necessary in the off season as they are in the racing season. Maybe you do them very infrequently for maintenance purposes, but still do them. I've seen pro's doing vo2 intervals and weight training (weight training being equal to zone 6-7) in the winter, why shouldn't we?
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Old 05-08-09, 10:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
If you can't put in 20 hours a week, then forget about base training. You're better off doing SST.

My teammates who ride in excess of 27 hours of week don't ever say they feel tired, they just feel bored.
WRONG!....also any cat 3 riding more than 20 hours a week is wasting their time.....that kind of volume is not needed at that level.
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Old 05-08-09, 10:50 PM   #13
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WRONG!....also any cat 3 riding more than 20 hours a week is wasting their time.....that kind of volume is not needed at that level.
when is that kind of volume needed?
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Old 05-08-09, 11:21 PM   #14
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when is that kind of volume needed?
when you get paid to do it
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Old 05-08-09, 11:52 PM   #15
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cedricbosch, can you elaborate?
Sure, low to mid intensity base training is probably the most important aspect of the training season. The notion that it must also be high-volume is somewhat misleading. It is pretty much a diminishing returns curve, as with most other things in cycling. Base training is helpful, no matter how much time you can dedicate to it.

For more reading, read the Training Bible or Base Training for Cyclists.
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Old 05-09-09, 03:49 AM   #16
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WRONG!....also any cat 3 riding more than 20 hours a week is wasting their time.....that kind of volume is not needed at that level.
Why not? If a guy wants to be a cat2 or beyond, he needs to find another level.

Logging more hours is one proven avenue.
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Old 05-09-09, 04:24 AM   #17
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I'm always tired in base training. My hours per week don't really change from base to build (15-17). What changes is the recovery from intensity. In base I tend to be at a constant level of "semi-fatigue" - that tired that says "man I'm kinda tired" but not so much that I don't want to be on the bike putting in miles. I can't keep that fatigue level when I add intensity, so that L2 day on Wednesdays becomes a 2 hour recovery spin - that way Tuesday and Thursday can be effective workouts.

That being said, I do SST as part of my base as well.. usually two days per week.
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Old 05-11-09, 05:48 PM   #18
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this is the best thread evar. =)
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Old 05-11-09, 06:21 PM   #19
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WRONG!....also any cat 3 riding more than 20 hours a week is wasting their time.....that kind of volume is not needed at that level.
I agree with YMCA here... train like you're in the category you want to be in, not the one you are in. If you train like a cat 4 forever, guess what you're going to stay a cat 4 forever. Train like a cat 2 does and maybe you'll get there.


I've posted my thoughts on oldskool base vs. SST type base training a number of times on these forums, but I'll put them up again. Essentially, I believe that old school type base work (high volume, low[er] intensity) definitely has its benefits, and if your schedule permits you should seriously consider doing a lot of high volume work early in the season. The highly simplified rational behind this is that if you only ever ride for 2.5 hrs, 2.5 hrs is always going to feel hard. If you ride for 5 hrs on a pretty regular basis, 2.5 seems really friggin easy. There is a much more complex rational, but it essentially states the same thing and I don't feel like typing it all out.

That said, oldskool base is not the only kind of base. It just happens to be the one that works best, in my experience. For someone with limited time using that time efficiently is key. That's where SST-type workouts come in. Essentially, they maximize the fatigue/recovery cycles that make you stronger. If you can only ever ride for 2 hours, and you spend all winter doing those 2 hour rides at low intensity, you are going to come into the season as slow as snot. Take that same intensity but make the ride 5 hrs long and you are getting some benefit, but at 2 hrs you just are not breaking your body down enough for it to build up any stronger. So your 2 hour rides need to be at a higher intensity (SST-like) in order to see the kind of adaptation you are looking for.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:03 PM   #20
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^^^
Well said
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Old 05-12-09, 07:34 AM   #21
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Base training dosent mean you tool around for 20 hours a week. The pros are hitting it hard..... You are building your base not falling back to an easy level.
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Old 05-12-09, 07:52 AM   #22
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If you can't put in 20 hours a week, then forget about base training. You're better off doing SST.

My teammates who ride in excess of 27 hours of week don't ever say they feel tired, they just feel bored.
Citation needed.

SST (Sweet spot training) is still good if your time is limited, but base training certainly doesn't require 20+ hours a week.
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Old 05-12-09, 08:01 AM   #23
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Friel says you should increase your weekly hours every week of base training.

So if you start at 6 hours a week, the next week you might do 9, then 12, then 15 (or whatever increase accompanies your chosen increment). I found that with my limited training time, skipping base and just doing SST was far more beneficial.
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Old 05-12-09, 08:14 AM   #24
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I'm completely new to cycling,

No one here has addressed your situation. There are lenghty debates in multiple threads about the value of long moderately paced miles, versus more intensity during the base phase, with each having their proponents.

However, those debates are in the context of people with years of cycling experience, and training 12 months a year, year after year.

The answer for people in that situation may not be that helpful to someone brand new to the sport.

Being brand new, you will benefit just riding miles, any kind of miles, as your body adapts to the specific movements of cycling.

To avoid injury, I would take a few weeks, and just ride. Mostly at a moderate pace. After a few days, you can push a bit harder for short periods as you feel like it, but don't really push too hard, or anything structured. And make sure you take at least one day a week and do not ride, or ride short at a very easy pace. After 2 weeks, work on doing some low resistence high cadence drills. You can also throw in some one legged drills after you have a few hundred miles in.

Being brand new, you'll benefit from developing some good form, and gradually working your way into things without injury.


When you've got a solid 500 miles in, start adding some actual interval work.

Then come October, read the threads debating LSD vs SST and decide what will work for you in next year's base phase, given your time, goals, and personality.

But for now, you should concentrate on actually building a base, in its most basic sense.
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Old 05-12-09, 12:41 PM   #25
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WRONG!....also any cat 3 riding more than 20 hours a week is wasting their time.....that kind of volume is not needed at that level.
Let me guess. You're 17 and a Cat 4?
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