Monday, November 26, 2007

Should I be base training?


Two reasons:

1) No time. Lately things have heated up at work. I've been working 10 hours a day (at least), and there are only 10 hours of light. And my religious beliefs forbid riding a trainer for longer than 21 minutes.

2) No fun. I sold my main road ride on ebay several weeks ago. I still have my first road bike, a 2004 Giant TCR, that will get me through the winter. But as much as I like that bike, I have to admit that the thought of going on a long road ride isn't that thrilling. The thought pinning it at a cross race and frothing at the mouth for 1 hr, however, is quite thrilling. Likewise, the MTBing this fall has been grand. Case in point: yesterday I found myself eating the dust of the likes of Sager, BZ, E. Jones, Jon, and the Bartman -- that was waaay thrilling. I didn't see those guys base training.

Life's just too short to base train. And I like to think I get some fitness benefit by CXing and MTBing.

Maybe I'll pay for it next year. In fact, just a few months ago around July, I swore to myself that I was going to get more structure in my training plan and build a good base this winter. Now that it's winter, I remember the problem with my plan: no time, no fun.

Those of you that know me know that I am deeply committed to training and therefore know that I wouldn't nonchalantly shrug off an important component of training. Inference? I'm not personally convinced that winter base training is essential. . . yet anyway. I'm not saying that it isn't useful. I'm just saying that it's not essential.

My theory on why base training is a ritual amongst serious cyclists: base training is so absolutely miserable that once you base train for 6 months in the dark and cold, you can endure anything that that regular season presents.

Am I wayward? Can anyone convince me why I should be base training?

And you base trainers out there, what kind of miles/time are you putting in?


Piotrek said...

Let me be blunt. Drop your religion and your definition of base training. From now on "base" = threshold power, as opposed to Long Slow Distance = no measurable cycling adaptation (waste of time except if used for recovery). Improve your base by improving your sustained power and starting the season stronger than the year before. Off-season is perfect time for some Sweet Spot training. It's working for me.

Jared said...

Any tips on Sweet Spot training? How often are you doing threshold power workouts? Typically, in these workouts, how long are the intervals at threshold? How many?

StupidBike said...

my tip is to do what works for you, cause what works for me, may not work for you and vice versa, in the end my 'base' training consists of time on the bike, usually in southern Utah having fun on dirt, a little bit of trainer work and a little bit of cold outside riding, hiking, snowshoeing, some do skate skiing, snowboarding etc..

I do not believe there is a set right or wrong way to train, only ways that work for the attached person

StupidBike said...

also people like Bart, Sager, Jones and even BZ have years and years of 'Base' in them, that makes a difference.

Faceless Ghost said...

I've been moving towards 2-hour sessions on the trainer. It sucks.

Now that the snow is falling, I think I'll start making weekly pilgrimages to my grandparents' house in San Jorge. You're welcome to come along, if you ever have the time.

Piotrek said...

Jared, go to and search for SST, 2x20, L4, threshold training. Lots of good info, knowledgeable people. This time of year I generally do threshold centered training 3 times a week without overreaching. It doesn't necessarily mean 100% threshold intensity and nothing over threshold intensity except on team rides. I believe that cross is probably better for base than the traditional "base" training. Like Stupidbike said, different things will work best for different people, but you need to try different approaches first.

old school said...

I agree. Cycling is about having fun. Traditional “base” training is no fun. Maybe I could have more fun during the racing season with a solid base built over the winter. Maybe if I was more serious, I would be faster. Maybe I need more structure. But, then again, I just like to ride. Life is complicated enough as is. So if you feel like going fast, hammer; if you feel mellow, take it easy.

As for our recent ride with the pros, I’d like to say that I was base training by keeping my HR under 140 and that is why I was off the back at times. However, the truth may be that Bart and company were doing exactly that and we were the only ones in the red. Also, just to clarify your post, I don't think you were eating any of my dust, since I was off the back for most of the ride.

As the makers of the Mamasita say, “Ride and Smile,”


Piotrek said...

JC has some cool insights into off-season training.

MK said...

Base training = skiing pow.

Dave Bergart said...

I dont think you should ever train again, just race. ha ha see you in April.