The start of a new training season means the start of base training – it is an important part of every cyclist’s training because it establishes your foundational fitness, endurance, and aerobic capabilities.
The goal of base training is to accumulate a large volume of work at low intensities to improved aerobic capacity; in other words, stamina. Your body will get better at burning fat and your muscular fitness will increase along with your capillary density. And make moderate efforts easier and improve your efficiency. Basically you are building a foundation and preparing your body for the higher intensities that will come later.
More details into the why...
Increased mitochondrial density and size: More mitochondria meaning greater use of oxygen to produce more ATP and energy.
Increased capillarisation: The increase brings faster exchange of oxygen and fuel between the blood and the working muscle.
Increased stroke volume: More oxygenated blood pumped to working muscle per heartbeat.
Increased fat oxidation: Greater fat burning efficiency resulting in glycogen preservation.
Where to start?
The best part about base training is that you don’t need a high level of fitness and or strength to get started. Typically your base training starts 5 to 6 months before your race season, and the duration is generally 9 to 12 weeks.
What does it look like?
Well it depends on your training history, level of fitness and goal event and the level at which you want to compete at. However you cannot escape the fact that anyone who is any good at cycling either trains a lot, or has been training a lot for a long time.
It is looks like this... repetitive and boring stuff - lower body strength training, core training and flexibility work, and a substantial amount of time in the saddle.
What comes after base training?
Up next is the build phase, which involves a lot more intensity, and for some it is fun stuff and another article altogether. Until then, remember that there are no magical plans or workouts; there is only consistency, commitment, hard work, self-belief and sacrifice that gets you what you want. Don’t believe the hype!
That is it. Thank you for reading. I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Questions, comments and high fives! Drop them here.