by Hunter Allen, PCG Founder/CEO and Master Coach
I really don’t like the term “base training” because it produces images of long, slow distance training with watts at 60% of your threshold as you putter along. Too many athletes and coaches believe we have to do base training first before any other type of training can be started. Now, I’ll concede that if you’re a pro cyclist training for a huge season in Europe next year, then yes, you should be doing some serious base training this winter; riding your bike four to six hours a day at endurance pace will help continue to develop your aerobic system and prevent you from peaking in January. But everyone else? Forget it. We don’t have the time to put in four to six hours a day at a slow pace, stopping at coffee shops along the way and enjoying the sights.
Most of us have only an hour or two each day to train, and we have to make the most of those hours and optimize our training for the highest ROI. If we spent those few hours riding at endurance pace, what would happen? We’d lose fitness and get slower. There’s a relationship between time and intensity that must be respected; the lower the intensity, the longer you should ride in order to stress that energy system. If you really want to improve your endurance system, riding at endurance pace for four or five hours is what you need to do. A two-hour ride won’t be long enough to create the necessary stress on the body to cause it to adapt and improve endurance.
So what is the correct intensity for your one or two hours of available time? The tempo zone, Level 3 on Dr. Coggan’s power level chart, 76-90% of your functional threshold power (FTP). Click through to find out why… READ MORE ->