Chasing Dave Stoller
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Beautiful Western Massachusetts
Bikes: 2010 Salsa Vaya, 2012 Jamis Quest, 2014 Salsa Mukluk
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Heck, I'll toss my hat in. I just finished my first full year of training (in many decades; the previous go-rounds don't count anymore). I'd agree that, no matter what your long-term goals, even if they were to include racing (especially road races, not so much short, fast crits) the first year should focus on building endurance both in your muscles and your cardiovascular system. However, buildilng in *some* intensity and specific workouts (intervals, hill repeats) once you're past your 12-week (or more) base period won't hurt, and neither will weight training.
I would add that skills work -- especially work on smoothing the pedal stroke -- in the first year can really pay off, too. A good thing to work on during long, boring winter roller/trainer sessions, or short winter road rides. Search BF for tons of threads about this, but if you ask me, just buy some inexpensive rollers ($110) and spend a few hours a week on them during the cold months. Good way to start building your base, too!
In your second year, if you want to trim your event times/increase overall speed, power, etc., you can increase the focus on more intense and specific workouts like intervals. I made the mistake of focusing too much on the specific, intense workouts this year, and paid the price of overreaching (burnout). Some is good at first, but in measured doses.
Basically, I think I'm agreeing with you.
Most of all, make sure you enjoy as much of your riding as possible!