Building Base

The foundations for successful riding

Building Base

Postby vander » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:47 pm

I am currently trying to build a bit of base and was wondering what is the better way of doing it.

Is it better to do 3x4hour riders and 3x1hour rides (15hours) or 6x2.5 hour rides. Is either more effective or is it much of a muchness.

Second question, you want to try and focus Z2 right? Are you mean to just ride Z2 the whole time (or as much as possible) or is it OK to be up and down and to have your average around Z2. At the moment I have been riding tempo/threshold up hills still is this not so good in the base building period?

Last question, how much base? When do you know you have done enough?

I know a lot of these questions will be a bit of it depends, but just looking for general answers.
Last edited by vander on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:05 pm

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Re: Building Base

Postby philip » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:05 pm

vander wrote:Last question, how much base? When do you know you have done enough?


I've never really understood this whole "base" thing. I think the fact you need to ask these questions shows it isn't really defined. I know a lot of people talk about it, but is it actually a thing?

I'd say the 3x4 hour and 3x1 hour would be better because you could mix it up a bit more. E.g. go harder in the 1 hour sessions than you would with always doing the same sort of 2.5 hour sessions. I've always thought that progressive overload (including being able to recover for the next session) is what is important to build fitness, no matter what stage you're at - not "base", whatever that is.
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Re: Building Base

Postby vander » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:21 pm

I agree never really understood it. I am more just trying to increase my time on the bike and decreasing the intensity so that my body can handle it. The 1 hour sessions are my easy sessions no chance I would be able to do any sort of good intervals after 4 hours in the hills. I am mixing it up in that my last block there was lots of intensity and this block is a bit lighter on the intensity but has a lot more volume, in the past I have found doing blocks of volume and blocks of intensity (with lower volume) to be effective. But my high volume blocks are pretty unstructed its kind of just pick a direction and ride.

What you are talking about with the progressive overload is more what I would think of in the build phase. Which all going to plan I should be doing next block.
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Re: Building Base

Postby foo on patrol » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:27 pm

I don't know all the lingo used now in training but my understanding from when I raced was. You do the road Ks as much as you can, mixing up hard easy to get as many Ks and a general or base of fitness or better before concentrating on doing you strength and speed training. :wink:

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Re: Building Base

Postby wardie » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:28 pm

I think it refers mainly to situations where you have a definite off season. So the base period is getting the body used to cycling again after a lay off. But if you're training/racing all year then it may not be appropriate or the best use of your time.

If you're coming back from injury it might be worthwhile.

I believe you try and keep a majority of your ride in the desired zone. Not always easy with hills etc.

I could be totally wrong though.
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Re: Building Base

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:49 pm

They love their base k's here... 3 or 4 hours at 28-29kmph in the small ring at -5C is mind numbingly boring and painful!. But then they hang up the bikes in October and don't touch them till December sometime depending on the weather. So I suppose they need to start somewhere!.
Instead of "Base"... do a steady ramp.
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Re: Building Base

Postby gabrielle260 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:43 pm

Read Maffetone's book or website... An interesting take on what used to be called base training!
I've never ridden as strongly at high intensity as when I was following his guidance!
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Re: Building Base

Postby boss » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:05 pm

The concept of base confuses me too.

After not doing any endurance riding at all (only commuting on a BMX) and purchasing a roadie last October I have ramped up fairly quickly to riding 12-15 hour weeks. I am starting to understand the need for easy and hard rides... I suspect that I've been overtraining, too many hard sessions. But I'm getting my head around it.

But anyway, the idea of riding deliberately slow for an extended number of rides sounds counter intuitive if your 'in form'. I've gotten progressively faster over the last six or so months by engaging in hard efforts, getting my mind used to suffering. And I suppose there have been some physiological changes although I haven't noticed them (except for their effect on my times).

I am not sure if I am a statistical outlier. I have ridden BMX since my early teens, but always in a non-competitive manner at skateparks, dirt jumps, etc.
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Re: Building Base

Postby vander » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:15 pm

boss wrote:The concept of base confuses me too.

After not doing any endurance riding at all (only commuting on a BMX) and purchasing a roadie last October I have ramped up fairly quickly to riding 12-15 hour weeks. I am starting to understand the need for easy and hard rides... I suspect that I've been overtraining, too many hard sessions. But I'm getting my head around it.


You first line and second paragraph dont make sense they contradict each other completely. The whole reason for base is so when you up your hours you dont get overtrained. For me I have ramped back up to 14-16 hours a week and I dont want to end up overtrained as I have before which is why I am doing a block of base training to get my body back to being used to riding this amount of hours a week.

I dont believe base is about riding around 'deliberately slow' its more about not going super hard.
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Re: Building Base

Postby foo on patrol » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:15 pm

As I have said before = easy hard easy hard. Just because I say easy days, this does not mean you're wasting time on the easy days, these are the days you use for spin, you are just not killing yourself! :wink:

You go out and ride hard every day and you will have more flat spots than a 50 cent piece! :mrgreen:

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Re: Building Base

Postby vander » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:19 pm

foo on patrol wrote:As I have said before = easy hard easy hard. Just because I say easy days, this does not mean you're wasting time on the easy days, these are the days you use for spin, you are just not killing yourself! :wink:

You go out and ride hard every day and you will have more flat spots than a 50 cent piece! :mrgreen:

Foo


But what does riding 4hours at an easyish pace count at with your easy hard theory.
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Re: Building Base

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:44 pm

vander wrote:
foo on patrol wrote:As I have said before = easy hard easy hard. Just because I say easy days, this does not mean you're wasting time on the easy days, these are the days you use for spin, you are just not killing yourself! :wink:

You go out and ride hard every day and you will have more flat spots than a 50 cent piece! :mrgreen:

Foo


But what does riding 4hours at an easyish pace count at with your easy hard theory.

That counts as easy
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Re: Building Base

Postby winstonw » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:31 pm

Base is a concept conceived by those living in a temperate climate, and adopted by those with a defined (professional) season.

It is dependent on age, energy demands from your non-riding life, psychoemotional makeup, current level of fitness and training, variance in ability to handle and adapt to physiological stress.

For those who are older, not living in a temperate climate, or not professional, periodization blocks are more apt. It's just as easy to distress during base as it is during competition.

Though Say What would I know. Do your own research, outside of the cycling literature. You might then have something unique to contribute to it.
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Re: Building Base

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:10 am

Derny Driver wrote:
vander wrote:
foo on patrol wrote:As I have said before = easy hard easy hard. Just because I say easy days, this does not mean you're wasting time on the easy days, these are the days you use for spin, you are just not killing yourself! :wink:

You go out and ride hard every day and you will have more flat spots than a 50 cent piece! :mrgreen:

Foo


But what does riding 4hours at an easyish pace count at with your easy hard theory.

That counts as easy


Thank you! :)

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Re: Building Base

Postby Strawburger » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:55 am

Use z2 in your first block with z4, then add in z3 with z4. As people have stated above, it is building up to more intense workouts like z5-z7 intervals later.

Base is an ideal program to use in your situation when you are rebuilding fitness from the operation.

Personally i am coming off a 5 month base/build period and have never had such good fitness and form.
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Re: Building Base

Postby vander » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:29 pm

foo on patrol wrote:
Derny Driver wrote:
vander wrote:
Foo


But what does riding 4hours at an easyish pace count at with your easy hard theory.

That counts as easy


Thank you! :)

Foo[/quote]

Ok they must be not an easyish pace because they leave me feeling a lot more fatigued then 1 hour hard.

@Strawburger, thats pretty much what I am doing feeling better with every ride pretty much though 3x100km+ rides in the last 5 days is starting to get me a bit tired. Congrats on your result in the Bathurst hill climb.
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Re: Building Base

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:05 pm

vander wrote:Is it better to do 3x4hour riders and 3x1hour rides (15hours) or 6x2.5 hour rides. Is either more effective or is it much of a muchness.

It's a false dichotomy.

vander wrote:Second question, you want to try and focus Z2 right?

You're asking the wrong question. You should be asking what training should I do to best meet my current physiological (and other) development needs.

vander wrote: Are you mean to just ride Z2 the whole time (or as much as possible) or is it OK to be up and down and to have your average around Z2. At the moment I have been riding tempo/threshold up hills still is this not so good in the base building period?

Riding at low-moderate intensities all the time is neither practical (in particular if you live/ride around hills) nor necessarily desirable. But that really depends on what your goals are and what your development needs are.

vander wrote:Last question, how much base? When do you know you have done enough?

Base is a pretty meaningless term, or more to the point there are so many individual interpretations of what it means that until one defines what they mean you'll have discussions at cross purposes.

e.g. base to me is a period of up to a few weeks of general / relatively easy riding after a long break from training, just enough time to make sure the body is used to being on a bike and prepared to begin training. If you have not had such a long break, then there's no real need for base. I have also used the term differently, but usually with a context given to explain.

For someone else, base might mean training designed increase power at threshold, or training one's endurance, or getting one's training loads to a certain level, or any number of possible meanings.

You know you have done enough of something when further gains are not attainable via a particular training intervention and/or you need to change emphasis in your training as development priorities change. And that presumes you therefore know what the gains are that you seek.

Again, the question should be about what the current development needs/priorities are, and then you can answer the question about what training one should do to best aid that development.
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Re: Building Base

Postby vander » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:58 pm

Ok, so I went about this the wrong way. I have had a long break (6months off due to injury). On my return I was making outstanding gains. I had built back up to about 10-12 hours over 9 weeks of that I had about 6 hours of pretty high intensity stuff. I have gotten back to about 10% below the level I was at before my break but the longer rides I was really struggling with. I found that with the intensity work I was developing little niggles, it was only during the high threshold or VO2+ work that I was developing these 'niggles'. Given this and my schedule freeing right up I thought I might take advantage of my time off to do lots of hours and get my body more used to the rigors of cycling.

Over the last 2.5 weeks I have increased my hours to about 15 hours a week and plan on doing it for another 1.5 weeks, possibly more. I dropped my trainer 2x20 and 5x5min session and on the hills I am trying to ride Tempo-Threshold rather than threshold-VO2 level and between the hills riding relatively easy.

My goals are to regain my fitness and my ability to ride without picking up little injuries (and despite the extra hours I have had no problems in the last couple of weeks). Later on in the year I want to do a couple of road races but my main aims will be on the track in the Omnium specifically. My first races will be in Sept and then track stuff will be in Nov. Also contemplating getting a coach mid-june to help me achieve my goals at these events and I want to be able to perform an adequate training program they would possibly provide me without getting injured or sick as my body would not be ready for it.

Given my current situation and my future goals would you say after these extra 1.5weeks of increased volume would you do more of the lower intensity higher volume stuff or should I scale it back a few hours 13-14 hours and add back in my trainer more high intensity sessions.

On a side note: today after 3x100s an 86, 36km and 1 hour on the trainer in the past week I have hit a STS of 140 and LTS of 75 so I am possibly doing these long rides a bit harder then I should.
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Re: Building Base

Postby boss » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:29 pm

vander wrote:
boss wrote:The concept of base confuses me too.

After not doing any endurance riding at all (only commuting on a BMX) and purchasing a roadie last October I have ramped up fairly quickly to riding 12-15 hour weeks. I am starting to understand the need for easy and hard rides... I suspect that I've been overtraining, too many hard sessions. But I'm getting my head around it.


You first line and second paragraph dont make sense they contradict each other completely. The whole reason for base is so when you up your hours you dont get overtrained. For me I have ramped back up to 14-16 hours a week and I dont want to end up overtrained as I have before which is why I am doing a block of base training to get my body back to being used to riding this amount of hours a week.

I dont believe base is about riding around 'deliberately slow' its more about not going super hard.


I probably could have been more clear. My overtraining stems from too many hard sessions too close together - hard 60km before work, hard 20km at lunch, break day, then repeat that, then a big tough weekend ride. I think the lunch sessions, in particular, are my issue.

I agree that I can benefit from mixing up the intensity - easy hard easy hard - but that isn't really what I understand the base concept to be. Base seems to be more like what Alex said - extended periods of low(er) intensity work.

Over training / under recovery seems a different issue to 'not having sufficient base'.
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Re: Building Base

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:01 pm

People also forget that after a break away from normal training, you have a freshness level that will be good for short rides but will show your weakness over longer and more intense rides. :wink:

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Re: Building Base

Postby ft_critical » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:36 pm

Base for me is building the right load and routine. Once I can maintain that load, I will bring in intensity.

A couple of related things. Vander you have been injured. I found that after smashing my shoulder my position was changed and I made all these biomechanical compensations for the resulting weaknesses. I have had many niggles that became issues. Second, last year I blew myself up in May, I had increased the load added intensity and bang. I think it was that adding intensity made me reduce the distance. To maintain distance I did more medium distance rides. No recovery, over trained. I took a month off and then did short intense rides. I had great power, speed etc. Especially for races of around 50km. When I did the Masters 90km races I was long on power and speed, short on endurance. So, I think like Philip says, you need both.

As everyone says though, you need to state your target races for anyone to be able to provide information. If you are planning on a serious stage race, few here would be able to provide advice - get a coach dude.
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Re: Building Base

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:05 pm

vander wrote:Ok, so I went about this the wrong way. I have had a long break (6months off due to injury). On my return I was making outstanding gains. I had built back up to about 10-12 hours over 9 weeks of that I had about 6 hours of pretty high intensity stuff. I have gotten back to about 10% below the level I was at before my break but the longer rides I was really struggling with. I found that with the intensity work I was developing little niggles, it was only during the high threshold or VO2+ work that I was developing these 'niggles'. Given this and my schedule freeing right up I thought I might take advantage of my time off to do lots of hours and get my body more used to the rigors of cycling.

Over the last 2.5 weeks I have increased my hours to about 15 hours a week and plan on doing it for another 1.5 weeks, possibly more. I dropped my trainer 2x20 and 5x5min session and on the hills I am trying to ride Tempo-Threshold rather than threshold-VO2 level and between the hills riding relatively easy.

My goals are to regain my fitness and my ability to ride without picking up little injuries (and despite the extra hours I have had no problems in the last couple of weeks). Later on in the year I want to do a couple of road races but my main aims will be on the track in the Omnium specifically. My first races will be in Sept and then track stuff will be in Nov. Also contemplating getting a coach mid-june to help me achieve my goals at these events and I want to be able to perform an adequate training program they would possibly provide me without getting injured or sick as my body would not be ready for it.

Given my current situation and my future goals would you say after these extra 1.5weeks of increased volume would you do more of the lower intensity higher volume stuff or should I scale it back a few hours 13-14 hours and add back in my trainer more high intensity sessions.

On a side note: today after 3x100s an 86, 36km and 1 hour on the trainer in the past week I have hit a STS of 140 and LTS of 75 so I am possibly doing these long rides a bit harder then I should.

Vander ... you are overthinking everything. Training is a relatively simple thing, you are making it complicated.

Look, last year my club had several riders named as "NSW Cyclist of the Year". Let me take one as an example. He doesn't own a powermeter. He doesn't have a coach. Married with 2 young kids. He works 2 jobs. He doesn't train anywhere like 15 hours a week. He doesn't have training plans. He doesn't own an ergo bike or an indoor trainer. He mostly just rides with a mate, easy with occasionally hard stuff. Before big events he does specific training for that event, mostly short sharp track efforts or fast motorpaced sessions. Some sessions on the rollers (old no resistance ones). Just basic simple stuff that he knows works for him. Last year he won the State road Crit championship and all 6 State track titles, pursuit, TT, kilo, sprint, Points and scratch. He also won the Teams Pursuit at state and national level.

I could give you another 20 examples of how just doing the simple things right is all you need. Don't ride hard every ride. Make sure you have good recovery. Get plenty of sleep. Make your high intensity sessions specific for what you are aiming to achieve. ... the stuff foo and others say on here over and over.

Mate Im pleased to hear about the omnium plans. Young DD is doing his HSC and unable to do long road stuff, so we plan on having a lash at the pursuit in November. If you do the track titles, me and all my crew will be there too. Love to say gidday. But remember, Track racing is VERY specific stuff. Think about it. You mentioned you are training on hills. Does riding hills make you good at doing anything apart from riding hills? How many races have big killer hills in them? ? Hill training will be counterproductive for track racing. Ok for general fitness, but later in the year you want to avoid them. Do standing starts and specific track work in preparation for the omnium.
As I said track racing is very very specific. You probably do need a mentor or a coach who knows about track training. As you are in Sydney, Alex is your man. In fact he is really your best and only option.
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Re: Building Base

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:17 pm

ft_critical wrote:
If you are planning on a serious stage race, few here would be able to provide advice .....

I take teams to serious international stage races /tours every year (as manager). The same simple training principles apply. Its not magic snakeoil stuff. You just need to work a bit harder on the endurance so you can back up and race 10- 14 stages back to back (2 a day sometimes).
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Re: Building Base

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:48 pm

My "base" this year started off really well ( bottom graph )except my legs never felt very strong... then Morocco got in the way and totally blew it, now I am struggling to play catch up... big time, my legs are not feeling the best.
Last years ( top graph... doh ) started off really slowly due to horrible weather but once I finally started riding and got 12 weeks solid in I was flying. By this time in the year I was starting to come into good form.
There was plenty of cruising and super hard ( 1 hour CX races ) over winter ... whatever I could find to stay motivated!. Now the sun is finally out and my power sucks! ... doh.
Sometimes things work and sometimes they dont :| ... better to stay consistent.
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Re: Building Base

Postby trailgumby » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:08 pm

boss wrote:After not doing any endurance riding at all (only commuting on a BMX) and purchasing a roadie last October I have ramped up fairly quickly to riding 12-15 hour weeks. I am starting to understand the need for easy and hard rides... I suspect that I've been overtraining, too many hard sessions. But I'm getting my head around it.

That was my mistake when I first started too. I definitely got into overtraining. Would be consistenlty smashed by the end of the week, didn't want to look at the bike on the weekend.

Base miles at lower intensity improves your efficiency, I believe. I am now faster at less perceived effort, without redlining everywhere. Getting nutrition on the bike right has been a help, too.
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