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  1. #1
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    How long for base period?

    I've been doing my base miles for a month and a half now, and I'm seeing good results. I've already lost 12 pounds (I had that much to give and more), my resting HR has been lowered a little from 67 to 62, and my average speed has increased from 14 mph to 16 mph as my fitness has improved. Plus, I'm staying out longer. Initially I was riding about twenty miles in 1.5 hours. If the weather holds through next week, I'm going to shoot for some forty mile rides toward the end of the week. I've only cut two rides short: one because I felt weak and the other because of traffic fleeing a Kentucky basketball game (I almost got belted twice).

    While I'm in no hurry to move out of the base period, especially since I'm seeing needed results, I'm wondering how long I should continue riding base miles. When is the right time to move to the preparation period?

  2. #2
    Jazzman Panoramic's Avatar
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    From what I hear on the forums, now would be a good time
    -Panoram Jazzman
    --
    Chris: Dad, what's the blowhole for?
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  3. #3
    On Your Right ZackJones's Avatar
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    gcasillo: It depends. Have you prepared a schedule of events/rides/races that you plan to do this year? If not, I would recommend you do that. Find one that you would consider your "A" event and then plan your schedule backwards from that event. Don't forget to include taper time in your schedule.

  4. #4
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    you can keep doing base miles forever if you want. since it sounds like you're still not ready to give it up and since winter is still here, i would just ride if i were you. you're doing a lot better than most people this winter, i can tell you that. most things i've read say 500-1000 miles makes a good base, then you can start increasing the distance, doing some speed work, and adding intervals slowly as well.

  5. #5
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    I'm planning on racing a couple times around late June through August. Mostly to get my feet wet with racing, and I want to be as well prepared for that experience as I can. So I'm in no rush. I'm doing a century in late May and intend to do some weekend touring throughout the summer and early Fall.

    The focus this year is to get into shape, maintain that shape once I get it, and get some racing experience. I'm hoping to make 2006 a strong year and race as much as possible then.

    I think another 4-6 weeks of base miles should put me on target for a peak somewhere in July. Cool. Just hope the snow and ice keeps away until Spring can get here.

  6. #6
    don d.
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    I would recommend you do base period training until you are at or below 10% body fat. Get it measured by a competent sports physiologist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by don d.
    I would recommend you do base period training until you are at or below 10% body fat. Get it measured by a competent sports physiologist.
    any reason you give that particular metric? i'm just curious; i havn't heard of body fat as a guideline for when training periods begin and end.

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    don d,

    Hell, if I'd waited till I had 10% body fat, I'd have never have done my four marathons or my centuries. I'm only 54 years old, but this little round Choctaw body will never see 10% body fat until my death bed!

    I suggest that if you feel good, get goin'.

    Tyson

  9. #9
    don d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TysonB
    don d,

    Hell, if I'd waited till I had 10% body fat, I'd have never have done my four marathons or my centuries. I'm only 54 years old, but this little round Choctaw body will never see 10% body fat until my death bed!

    I suggest that if you feel good, get goin'.

    Tyson
    Centuries and Marathons are somewhat different than competitive bike races. They are primarily fitness events or fun events. I suspect most people who compete in these don't do alot of "periods" in their training. They just run or ride as much as they can and as often as they can. I'm not saying anyone should refrain from participating in fitness events based on body fat content, within reason.

    If you want to be competitive though, if you want to finish first in the marathon or bike race, you must lose the body fat, and the base period is when you must do it. The long slow/steady rides at 60-75% MHR are what take the weight off and build the aerobic base at the same time.

    At the lower levels of competition, you may be able to finish a flat criterium bike race near the front while you're heavy, but you will not be able to on a hilly course or as you move up in category.

    As long as your body fat is high, I think you should focus training on bringing weight down with smaller emphasis on intervals and tempo. For competition, focus on events that will help you bring the body fat down, like centuries or randonnees.

    By the way, 10% is not that low. I think the avg. american male is ~12%. I think you can be pretty competitive around 8%, but if you want to fly, you'll have to get down to 4-6%.

  10. #10
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    I've read this too, but it doesn't work for me don d.

    As I increase the miles at slow pace my weight drops slightly, but when I rev up the pace in early spring the pounds come off much more quickly.

  11. #11
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I'm much more concerned _this year_ with general fitness and weight loss. The races are there as a carrot to continue training right. I want to prepare this year like one should prepare for a good racing season.

    I'm 219 right now, and ultimately I'm shooting for 175. Any lower regardless of body fat, and I'm getting to a weight that I haven't touched since high school; problem with this is that my weight fluctuated between 170 down to 150 because of serious illnesses. I honestly don't know what my ideal weight and body fat is until, well, I reach it. In H.S., my body fat was between 5-8%, so I believe something around 7-10% would be about right now.

    The weight is melting off so far. Started at 231 and now 219. Just riding base miles and cooking regularly, so the diet and portions have been right (damn good actually). At this pace, I could break 200 lbs around mid April. I believe I'll be capable of a decent ride in a few races come late June and July.

    I have no delusions of grandeur. I know I'm going OTB in these races. I just want to get a feel for them and use them as a carrot to continue training right. The century in late May is very important to me, as I'd like to carry some good distances as the year progresses, in the neighborhood of 80-100 miles. Long, slow rides would appear to be good for me considering my progress thus far with the base miles.

  12. #12
    Dude who rides bike BikeInMN's Avatar
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    If you're a newer rider who is looking to lose weight, don't worry about "Base" or anything else right now. Getting used to your bike, logging longer miles on it and dropping weight are more than enough for your 1st season riding. If you can work a race in come July, think of it as a bonus.
    If you really have 40+ pounds to lose, don't worry about speed and ride easy enough that you can do it day after day.

    Base may mean something different to each person so you'll be getting answers all over the board.

    If you want my answer to "base period" here it is.
    Base for me starts in November. I take it easy and back way off my miles (hours in my case as I don't track miles in my training calendar) in November. Think of it as time for the body to relax. I cut back to no more than 8 hours a week on the bike and a lot of that will just be unstructured MTBing.
    December & January are more hours but the intensity is also structured.
    Lots of lower Z2 (127-140bpm) with some easy intervals and leg speed drills mixed in. Hours are increased from 8 to 10-12 weekly but I'll still mix in an active recovery week every 4th week with lower total hours.
    February is similar with hours increasing to 14-16 weekly and at least 2 rides of 4+ hours weekly. February also has an active recovery week.
    March hours are equal or less than February but with more intensity mixed in. The intervals are harder and longer. The recovery rides are slower.

    All of this is building to racing which starts in early April. I should really hit my form around the end of May and should be able to hold it through the month of June. Between April and the end of July I'll do somewhere between 35 and 40 races so structured workouts will be few and far between. I'll count on racing 2-3 times a week to keep me in shape.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=don d.]Centuries and Marathons are somewhat different than competitive bike races. They are primarily fitness events or fun events. I suspect most people who compete in these don't do alot of "periods" in their training. They just run or ride as much as they can and as often as they can. I'm not saying anyone should refrain from participating in fitness events based on body fat content, within reason.

    If you want to be competitive though, if you want to finish first in the marathon or bike race, you must lose the body fat, and the base period is when you must do it. The long slow/steady rides at 60-75% MHR are what take the weight off and build the aerobic base at the same time.

    At the lower levels of competition, you may be able to finish a flat criterium bike race near the front while you're heavy, but you will not be able to on a hilly course or as you move up in category.

    As long as your body fat is high, I think you should focus training on bringing weight down with smaller emphasis on intervals and tempo. For competition, focus on events that will help you bring the body fat down, like centuries or randonnees.

    Quote Originally Posted by don d.
    By the way, 10% is not that low. I think the avg. american male is ~12%. I think you can be pretty competitive around 8%, but if you want to fly, you'll have to get down to 4-6%.
    Avg american male is about 12 %, where did you get that figure, I just don't think that is close at all. I'm 6 ft and 160 lbs and I don't think I am below 10%.

  14. #14
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcasillo
    Started at 231 and now 219.
    Outstanding!

    Remember to have fun once in a while.

  15. #15
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    Reference Group Percent Body Fat
    Bodybuilders 5
    Cross-country skiers 7
    Triathletes 7
    Basketball players 9
    Swimmers, soccer players 10
    Distance runners, football defensive backs 11
    Football linebackers 12
    Ideal healthy male 15
    Power lifters, shot putters, discus throwers 17
    Average American male 23

  16. #16
    don d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldspark
    Avg american male is about 12 %, where did you get that figure, I just don't think that is close at all.
    My post should have said ideal healthy male. The chart you posted above shows the ideal healthy male is ~15%. I have always read this number to be 12 %. This is kind of like an ideal weight number on those charts in a doctors office. But still, 12% "isn't close at all" to 15%? OK.



    I'm 6 ft and 160 lbs and I don't think I am below 10%.
    Let us know when you know.

    As I mentioned to Tyson, my 10% point of reference is for COMPETITIVE CYCLISTS and is only a point of reference. Are you a competitive cyclist, coldspark? Are you trying to finish on the podium in your age group at the district competitions? I've read your posts and a year ago you were just getting back into cycling and riding casually on dirt roads around your area, which in and of itself is great, but has little or nothing to do with the original poster's query about competition base periods. How is the body fat content of a recreational/sport cyclist in any way analagous to a competitive cyclist? It always helps to read a post before you decide you need to critique it.
    Last edited by don d.; 02-04-05 at 11:54 AM.

  17. #17
    don d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeInMN
    If you're a newer rider who is looking to lose weight, don't worry about "Base" or anything else right now. Getting used to your bike, logging longer miles on it and dropping weight are more than enough for your 1st season riding. If you can work a race in come July, think of it as a bonus.
    If you really have 40+ pounds to lose, don't worry about speed and ride easy enough that you can do it day after day.
    This is good advice and should be the primary focus of your training. As I posted, focus on events that will allow you to get time on the bike and bring your weight down.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by don d.
    My post should have said ideal healthy male. The chart you posted above shows the ideal healthy male is ~15%. I have always read this number to be 12 %. This is kind of like an ideal weight number on those charts in a doctors office. But still, 12% "isn't close at all" to 15%? OK.




    Let us know when you know.

    As I mentioned to Tyson, my 10% point of reference is for COMPETITIVE CYCLISTS and is only a point of reference. Are you a competitive cyclist, coldspark? Are you trying to finish on the podium in your age group at the district competitions? I've read your posts and a year ago you were just getting back into cycling and riding casually on dirt roads around your area, which in and of itself is great, but has little or nothing to do with the original poster's query about competition base periods. It always helps to read a post before you decide you need to critique it.
    Wow-touchy,you printed avg. American male instead of ideal healthy male so 23 in not that close to 12, I went off of what you wrote not what you ment to write (sorry next time I will read your mind). The origional post is from some one who is just starting out in racing so I guess I am not that for off from his fitness level. I did race at one time but it was not in the tdf so is probably not good enough for you. I was pointing out the avg. male fat % in a nice way I thought. My turn to roll eyes. PS- I did read your post that is why I caught the mistake.

  19. #19
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    Without knowing what your season looks like, what your measurements are for things like lactate threshold and VO2 max, and knowing how your weights are going, it's difficult to say how long your base period should be. I think if you're really willing to compete, you'll at least get a performance test so you can determine just how much more work you'll need on your base.

    In the meantime, if you feel like you're ready, you can move on to endurance training. Endurance training is still relatively lower heart rates (at least in the beginning when you first flip into endurance training), so if you find out from your tests that your base is not sufficient, then you can always move right back into base training without having destroyed your previous results with base training.

    You can train base forever, but you have to move on at a certain point, or you'll compromise the rest of your season. You have to think about developing your endurance, your strength, and your aerobic capacity. Sometimes, you're not going to be able to train to perfection. You have to do what you can and move on in the time frame you've allotted for your race season.

    Weight will come off. We're always heaviest in the winter when we're forced inside, but when spring comes and the mileage picks up, and the intensity increases, you'll see that your weight will come down a bit more. I am sitting here about 8 or 9% bodyfat heavier than the warm seasons. I'm not worried, because my riding will go up about twice what it is in the spring. Then I know I'll be pleasantly surprised when all the fat melts off and my bodyfat comes down.

    Here's your progression for your training season: base=>endurance=>strength=>intervals=>power=>I'M RACING!!!

    By the time you get to power, you should be entering your first racing season or already early in your racing season. So use this information to kind of estimate out how much time you will be able to afford to spend on base training. You'll have to know when your races are so you can figure out exactly where you need to be in your training schedule.

    Good luck.

    Koffee

  20. #20
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Gawd, who can lose weight riding base? Not me, that's for sure.

    The old school formula for serious racers was 1000 miles of base (about 1 month), which begins following 2 or 3 months virtually off the bike. People don't take months off the bike any more. It's probably almost as important to spend time in base to minimize risk of burn-out, like, mid-summer. But, IMO, after 6 weeks, you're probably going to plateau and not gain much from additional base work.

    I'll probably get slammed for this (what the hey, bring it on. Discussion is good), but it may be a better time of year to work on strength, and do the endurance work later*, when days are longer and temps warmer. It's awfully hard to work on endurance this time of year, unless you live in the deep south or don't have a daytime job.

    *Both strength and endurance work will slow down your racing speed. But, if you're going to be doing any srength work with weights, lifting heavy, you definitely want to have that phase well behind you before trying to be competitive. You need time to translate gym strength to bike strength, and re-develop speed. Endurance work will just slow you down 'til you recover. And all this assumes you're in pretty good shape to begin with.

  21. #21
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    You'll get slammed.

    That's the nature of the beast: base, endurance, strength, intervals, power. It has to do with PROGRESSION of intensity too. Going straight from base to strength is like destroying the base you just built. It's a lot more sensible and easier on the cardiovascular to move into endurance after base, gradually building up the heart rate and intensity until you move into strength training, where you may end up taking the heart rate into higher heart rates.

    The old school stuff is outdated. Sure, you could go into strength training first, but then why bother spending time base training? It doesn't make sense.

    Also, just because you move into strength, doesn't mean the endurance training ends either. It's just good that the weather gets warmer, so that you can continue to work on lengthening your rides and still do your strength work too.

    Koffee

  22. #22
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    Oh, and P.S.: You can lose weight during base training. You'll just have to do really long rides, that's all. If you were doing base rides of like 30 minutes (or something along those lines), then there's no weight loss. But consider a 1.5 hour base ride would be like the equivalent of a 45 minute, high intensity ride. The difference between each ride is where your energy is coming from: mainly fat breakdown or mainly carbohydrate breakdown.

    Koffee

  23. #23
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    roadbuzz's point about the difficulty of getting endurance work in during shorter winter days is well taken. That's why I shelled out a lot of $ for a HID with a 4-6 run time. I ride very early in the morning (4-6am) or shortly after I get home from work and have dinner (6-10pm). The only daytime rides I get in are on weekends, but I haven't let that deter me yet.

    As for losing weight during base training, I shed weight easily if I'm active and eating well. No fast food & nothing but what I've cooked myself the last 3 1/2 months. Hence, the 2 lbs/week loss. Compare that to the last two winters where I ate almost nothing but fast food and got zero exercise. I gained 25 pounds that stuck to me until recently. I promised myself that I would be active and eat right this winter. So far so good.

    I've never been an endurance/distance type of athlete, always a sprinter. Strength and speed come easier to me. Proof: I've never jogged longer than 2 miles at once. So I'm committed to building a solid base before I move on to strength.

    I do fear plateauing though. I've experienced that once before and it sucked. Hopefully this time around, I'll recognize it and find a way out of it.

  24. #24
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    gcasilla,

    How old are you? It makes a heck of a difference in some fundamental ways regarding my advice. It also affects the results you should expect. Getting in "race shape" at 27 is a different goal than getting in "race shape" at 57 starting from the same weight, etc.

    Tyson

  25. #25
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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