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  1. #1
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    Purpose of base training?

    I'm wondering about the purpose of returning to base training in the winter. I did some racing at the end of last season and learned lots. No real training -- most of my riding was endurance stuff around 20mph. Just easy and enjoying the spin.

    I know I need to get faster (goal is to pull an average of 23mph by myself on the road -- too much?) and hit the weights for mtbing. Everything says return to base training for the winter. Yet ... my last 2 years have essentially been base training. No speedwork or anything.

    This older thread about offseason training says the return is to give the body (and mind) time to recover. If I'm enjoying the buildup and speedwork, and doing the eating/recovery correctly, is there anything wrong with starting now? Esp since I know I have quite a ways to go?

    So, what exactly is the purpose of returning to base training? Esp when you have never really gotten off the bike?

    Curious.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you ride at a higher intensity for a long period of time ... like all year round ... you run the risk of burning out.

    If you want to work on speedwork, why not do "base training" types of rides to maintain your fitness and possibly increase your endurance for 4 or 5 days a week ... and then ride intervals 1 day a week.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesnaePhoto View Post
    I'm wondering about the purpose of returning to base training in the winter. I did some racing at the end of last season and learned lots. No real training -- most of my riding was endurance stuff around 20mph. Just easy and enjoying the spin.

    I know I need to get faster (goal is to pull an average of 23mph by myself on the road -- too much?) and hit the weights for mtbing. Everything says return to base training for the winter. Yet ... my last 2 years have essentially been base training. No speedwork or anything.

    This older thread about offseason training says the return is to give the body (and mind) time to recover. If I'm enjoying the buildup and speedwork, and doing the eating/recovery correctly, is there anything wrong with starting now? Esp since I know I have quite a ways to go?

    So, what exactly is the purpose of returning to base training? Esp when you have never really gotten off the bike?

    Curious.
    Thanks
    Once you start the training required to get to the next level you won't enjoy it quite so much and won't be able to keep it up all year long. Doing long intervals at or near threshold is physically and mentally taxing. If you go too hard now you won't feel like it later in the season. I was in the same position as you last year around this time and trained too hard through the winter. I was in good form in the spring and early summer but by the end of summer my motivation dropped off and I would start skipping rides because I didn't feel like it. This year I'm trying to take it a little easier in the winter.

  4. #4
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    I think the idea is to aim for a 4 or so week peak. Maybe studying this will help?

    http://www.amazon.com/Base-Building-.../dp/193138293X

  5. #5
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    I did deal with a lack of motivation this year. but it was not due to a training regimen; rather the rest of my life.

    I am getting a bunch of cross training in right now as well. doing spin classes for most my work. I will be getting on the rollers soon. Just to keep the spin smooth.

    I have found, even during my lack of motivation period, that I need to ride every day. For the mental health aspect.

    So, the biggest concern is mental burn-out? (Remember, I am able to get the proper recovery done. Guess there is one advantage to being unemployed. Rather be teaching)

    Thanks everyone. Keep your experience coming.

  6. #6
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    Base training in the off season is important for several reasons:

    1) increase your aerobic capacity. The muscles contain mitochondria, also referred to as the "powerhouse of the cells". It is the ONLY place where aerobic respiration takes place. The more mitochondria you have, and the bigger your mitochondria, the more efficient you are with your aerobic capacity. Don't you want to be able to take more oxygen in so your body can make more ATP, making you faster and stronger in your rides?

    2) You'll also build more capillaries, and base training will do that. Capillaries are the vessels where oxygen is transferred to the working muscles. Of course, if you've got more oxygen, you've got more ATP to work with, which means your muscles will work more efficiently. At the same time, CO2 diffuses from the muscles (that's waste products we don't want!) and out of the body. We want that too!

    3) Because you've got a bigger base from training, it'll take longer for lactate to accumulate, and you'll have to work harder in order to produce lactate. More oxygen means less lactate produced. Also, with more oxygen, when you do move into training to increase VO2 max, you'll be able to work harder because you've got more oxygen, which means it'll push your VO2 max higher. We want that too!

    4) With more efficiency at using oxygen, you're using fat as your primary energy source. Fat is only burned in the presence of oxygen, and when you're exercising, you want to burn more fats as your energy source. We want that too!

    Besides all this, base gives you a good mental break from high intensity training. You can't go hard forever. Sometimes, training smarter, not harder, is the best route to go. Base building gives you that option.

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  7. #7
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    outstanding koff.
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

  8. #8
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    Thanks koffee. The biologist in me understands. Base gives the body time to expand and solidify the foundation.

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Faster than yesterday
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    The idea of base training is from periodization methods and from practicality. Periodization helps keep you motivated for cycling. You can't train at continuously higher volumes and intensities forever, and keeping yourself in top shape permanently is taxing. So, you take a sort of breather over the winter, doing the sort of work that will maintain your heart and lungs, and cycling skills. Then, you just have to add the intensity back in, which comes back much more quickly than your endurance "base."

    Doing aerobic base follows the rules related to specificity of training, as well. You start with the most basic thing (just riding the bike) and get that solid, and then progress to more specific skills (time trialing, climbing, bridiging gaps, etc.) As your event grows near, your training becomes more like the event. The problem with being specific all the time is that it would lead you to be deficient in some area. You may spend all your time on intervals, but then you would probably lack simple aerobic endurance. There are also reasons for endurance athletes to do more intense work.

    Also, the roads in many places don't really permit high speeds in the winter, even though it may not be that cold. So, you can still get some rides in, but you are kind of forced to take it easy.

    I do a fair amount of intense riding for work (deliveries) 5 days a week, and have found myself gravitating toward more relaxed, scenic rides in my leisure time. It is better to find different ways to enjoy your favorite activities than to constantly be stuck in one frame of mind.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 11-12-09 at 10:56 PM.

  10. #10
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    After trying the higher intensity base training concept last winter I have to totally agree with Koffee. I turned up at my first race of the year in great shape, but already experiencing intensity fatigue and slight mental burnout. Anyhow, I stormed the race and came 2nd, only to be beaten by a top UK pro, great! However, my performance throughout the rest of the season went downhill from there. At the end of the season I managed to re-kindle some form and place 2nd in a 65mile road race.

    The previous season, I followed traditional training methods, putting in larger volume of lower intensity. I arrived at the first race of the season fresh but lacking speed, placing 4th. Every race following that, I never left the podium (1st/2nds/3rds).

    One thing I will say though is that everyone is different, some people seem to be able to handle the mental aspect of intensity year round. Personally, too much intensity just gets me wound up like a spring, stresses me out and hacks away at my motivation. I like the wellbeing feeling of lower intensity base training, so that is what i'm going back to this winter. It seems to bring better focus towards my goals too. It will be interesting to see how it affects my motivation and results next year.
    Elite XC turned Cat1 Road Cyclist

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  11. #11
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    Base training is so important. It's like laying down the foundation before building the house. Without the foundation, the house won't last too long.

    Think of it that way.

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  12. #12
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    so should I order That chapple guys book on base training? You need to turn on your PM by the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dominae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Heath View Post
    so should I order That chapple guys book on base training? You need to turn on your PM by the way.
    I have the Chappelle book and its very good. However, it is focused on those who own a power meter, although he does touch on using a HRM to monitor your base training.

  14. #14
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    I don't have a power meter and still have gotten a lot out of chapple's book. It is so comprehensive and just has a lot of information and explanation. For me it has given me foundational knowledge to go ahead and make my own training calendar and understand how things fit together. But yes I do have to translate from his power-focused analysis, and of course i miss out on the things that only power can measure (like 10-30 second sprint power, etc..).

  15. #15
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    its on ebay for 12 bux, im gonna snag it
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

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