In my last post, I discussed that most athletes this time of the year are deep into their base training period. This is a time of the season that will play a major factor when you get further into the season and begin to lay down some speedwork. So, what kind of workouts should you be doing in the base period?? For the record, I’ll be focusing these workouts for a long course athlete (half ironman and further). We can discuss short course at a later time.
The key workout in the base period is the Aerobic Threshold (AeT) ride. This workout is done in zone 2 (both HR and power), and it’s commonly mistaken as an “easy ride.” Yes, the intensity is a bit lower, but this training ride should not be easy, unless you plan on racing in the “very easy” category. After a typical warm up, ride steady for 2-3 hours at zone 2 HR or wattage, building up to the edge of that zone. Now the challenge for athletes north of the Mason/Dixon line is that typically the AeT ride will have to be done indoors due to inclement weather. This means you will be spending lots of time in your basement, garage, den, or even family room on your trainer. The trainer presents a problem for many athletes, whether they are scared, bored, unmotivated to ride it. I present a simple solution to those who struggle with maintaining a weekly long ride throughout the winter.
First, decide what type of athlete you want to be……Front of pack, Middle of pack, Back of pack. If you choose a FOP or MOP athlete then spending a significant amount of time on the bike trainer is a must. Unfortunately, not all of us live in California or Florida. Once you find your motivating force, the decision to become one with your trainer is easy. Soon enough you will find that not only are you getting the physical benefit of riding for hours indoors, but you will see how mentally tough you can be, and come race season the 56 or 112 mile bike leg of your race will fly right by!! So next time you want to wait until April to get in your base rides think of this…..there will always be someone, somewhere doing the kinds of training you might be hesitant to do, and if you don’t respond, come race time, you’ll get beat to the line.