Most cyclists will agree that building a solid base fitness is a great idea and important to building overall cycling fitness. Yet, many cyclists fail to dedicate the time and attention to building a solid base, only to struggle to build race fitness when they add higher intensity training to their schedule later in the spring. While the base period isn’t as physically demanding in certain respects as some other parts of the training season, it takes consistent discipline to build a strong base, one that will stand up to the rigors of higher intensity training later in the year.
It used to be common practice for cyclists to complete lots of long, slow distance(LSD) during the base period, mostly focusing on building aerobic endurance. While this is still a major focus of the base training period, there are some other focuses and tips that can really help add diversity to your training, greatly improve your cycling base and make your training more efficient.
Here are 5 cycling base phase tips to help you get the most out of your Base Training Period:
- Pedalling drills can really help to improve pedalling efficiency and are a very important part of the base period. Beyond just building aerobic fitness, pedalling drills help to ensure that your legs can operate at maximum efficiency so that they are not wasting energy needlessly. Drills such as One-legged pedaling, high cadence spinning and form sprints can help to train the muscles and nervous system to more efficiently move the pedals around without wasting precious energy.
- Make use of an indoor trainer. While many people use indoor trainers due to the harsh nature of winter weather, indoor bike trainers provide one of the most efficient ways to get a cycling workout on your own bike. You will spend less time getting dressed and ready to ride, don’t have to worry about traffic or intersections and get the advantage of pedalling 100% of the time that you are on the bike. You can choose the intensity instead of it being pre-selected by the terrain when riding outdoors. It can be easy to get a great, highly efficient workout in less time than would be needed to get the same workload training outdoors.
- Strength training can help you to build muscular strength and muscular endurance that can be harder to specifically target with on-the-bike training. Strength training is also money for building a rock solid core, the foundation for your legs. There are so many great core exercises that you can do at home with minimal or no equipment, without going to the gym.
- Work cross training activities into your schedule. Hiking, swimming, paddling(kayak or paddleboard) are just a few of the types of activities that can be great for building base fitness without a high risk of injury, detracting from your cycling focus or being too high intensity. Cross training can also provide a much needed mental break from long hours of riding your bike.
- Set a workout schedule with a training plan. When you don’t have any challenging goals approaching, it can be easy to stray from having a specific training plan. Having a training plan in place makes it more likely that you’ll train consistently and this will prepare you for the coming season. Without a training plan, it’s easy to skip workouts and not be consistent.
The base period of training should be the foundation of your cycling season. Placing an emphasis on the base period can set you up to have a great cycling season and help you reach your goals.