How to Do Base Training the RIGHT Way

is traditional high volume low intensity

base training the best thing to be doing

in the winter or preseason as always

today we're going to be taking a look at

the science to answer this question and

in the second half of the video we'll be

getting into specifics by laying out an

example training plan so you can see

what your training should look like in

the base period so be sure to stick

around for that welcome back to another

video my name is Dylan I'm a cycling

coach at CTS recently some have

suggested that bass training may be dead

or at the very least not the optimal

training strategy for time crunch

cyclists sure if you're a pro and you've

got literally all day to Train it might

work but if you've got less than 10

hours a week is packing on the zone to

rides really the best use of your time

many have the K for a different approach

where high intensity is the main focus

of the winter training what does the

science have to say though the answer

actually isn't super easy to find

because there aren't many studies

tackling this exact question but let's

dig through the available research and

see what we can find this study on the

training characteristics of gold metal

endurance performance looked at the

training of olympic and world champion

endurance cross-country skiers and by

athletes and what they found was that

the training that they did that led to

these incredible performance was right

out of the base training Handbook they

had a high volume and low intensity of

training in the offseason phasing into

higher intensity lower volume right

before the race season on top of this

the frequency of high-intensity sessions

and the intensity of those sessions

increase as they got closer to racing

they stated that high training volume

has emerged as a key commonality and

successful endurance training they

conclude that a very large training load

during the general preparation period

appears to be an important precondition

for exceptional athletic performance

several months later this was echoed in

this review for the best practice for

training intensity and duration

distribution that stated that an

established endurance base built from

high volumes of training may be an

important precondition for tolerating

and responding well to a substantial

increase in training intensity over the

short term so it seems like at least

from these studies traditional base

training may be preferred and there are

a couple studies done on triathletes

that investigate the importance of doing

high volume low intensity

further for example this study on

training intensity distribution of

Ironman triathlete sound an inverse

correlation between total time spent

training as well as time spent training

in zone 1 and race time now in this

study they used a three zone model and

zone 1 would be what we typically

consider zone 2 or endurance training so

basically what they found was that a

higher volume of training and

specifically a higher volume of training

at low intensity produced better race

results they conclude that wall athletes

perform with heart rates mainly in zone

2 during competition better performances

are associated with more training time

spent in zone 1 this was echoed in this

study also on triathletes that say that

performance was only shown to improve

with usual high volume training

summarizing in order to improve running

or cycling performance high volume

training programs are highly recommended

and for what it's worth traditional

based training is still the

tried-and-true method for most of the

world's best cyclists just take a look

at Egan Bernal or most other pros Strava

data from the past couple months

Goodell would just ride he just ride his

own pace he'd go slow up the climbs let

everyone else go do their efforts

whatever whatever and he just ride and

he said well it really takes me a short

amount of time to get really fit and I

can only hold that fitness for a certain

amount of time we're not stopping there

stepping that seal


so why exactly is this the case I mean

there's a mountain of research out there

that suggests that high-intensity

interval training produces superior

results can't I just do that all year

isn't that the best way to maximize the

training time that I do have yeah

everyone knows that to crush races in

July you need to be the fastest one and

drop everyone on the winner group ride

in January the problem is that although

high intensity will improve your fitness

very quickly you'll also see a plateau

from this kind of work relatively

quickly as well which is why you only

want to start focusing on it in the

months before racing the other reason is

that high intensity is extremely taxing

on your body and you're much more likely

to over train by doing too much

intensity as opposed to too much volume

you can do some maintenance intensity

through the offseason but if it's the

focus of your training all year long

that'll put you on the fast track to

burnout or over

I've seen this time and time again and

even experienced it myself were athletes

hit a midseason slump

there in the middle of the race season

and they should be peaking but they're

putting out worse numbers than they were

three months ago if this describes you

it may be due to cumulative fatigue

built up over months of high-intensity

training a review on high intensity

verse high volume training stated that

both high intensity and low intensity

training are important components of the

training program they went on to say

that short-term periods of

high-intensity interval training can

elicit improvements but also that

important adaptations appear to occur

with low intensity continuous training

that are not observed with mix or high

intensity training when training does

not have an appropriate blend of both

high intensity training and high volume

training inserted into the program

performance ability can stagnate these

high volume training periods may elicit

the molecular signals needed to

stimulate mitochondrial protein

synthesis without creating undue

autonomic disturbances that could lead

to overtraining an important thing to

keep in mind is that seeing results from

high volumes of low intensity training

typically done in the base period is

going to take time a lot more time than

doing high-intensity training but doing

it is still important this of course

doesn't mean that intensity isn't

important it definitely is but it needs

to be done strategically this review

sums things up nicely stating that the

available evidence suggests that

combining large volumes of low intensity

training with careful use of high

intensity interval training throughout

the annual training cycle is the best

practice model for development of

endurance performance the key word there

being careful one important concept of

glossed over here is specificity of

training as you get closer to your race

or goal you want your training to become

more specific to that goal going back to

the study on Olympic cross-country

skiers we can see that the volume of

specific work increases as they approach

racing and one of the main takeaways

from the study was the higher

specificity of training before the race

period this usually means that intensity

of training increases because racing is

generally high intensity although this

isn't always the case for example for

those that race ultra endurance events

that last hours specificity requires

that you maintain a high volume of

training I myself am an ultra endurance

racer and my approach is generally to


vol during the base period and then

maintain that volume wall increasing

intensity right before racing someone

doing shorter races would be better off

reducing training volume and increasing

intensity before racing all right

there's the research but now let's get

into specifics what should base training

actually look like over the course of a

month or a week

let's serve in the general structure of

a month and then I'll take you inside

training Peaks to show you how I build

out a training week one of the most

common structures for training month is

to do three weeks on one week off so

basically you build up training load

over three weeks and in the fourth week

you have a recovery week to rig your

body of the fatigue that you've built up

some may also choose to do four weeks on

one week off it doesn't really matter

but make sure you have that recovery

week in there that week this is

extremely important for making sure you

don't tip over the edge of overtraining

recovery week sounds like you're just

soft 'add the recovery week isn't a week

off the bike rather it's a week of

reduced volume and intensity while

maintaining ride frequency because

you'll be relatively fresh this is also

a good time to do an FTP test or a

low-priority race to get some numbers to

see how you're progressing as far as the

other three weeks of the month go you

want to make sure that you're employing

progressive overload or increasing the

training stress this is necessary to

avoid a fitness plateau give your body

the same stimulus that it's already

adapted to and it'll stop making

adaptations you can do this by

increasing volume or intensity or both

but in the base period this is usually

done by increasing volume for example in

week one you might do eight hours then

10 then 11 or 12 and then in the rest

week you might reduce that down to five

or six hours traditionally a base period

lasts about three months but it could go

longer or shorter depending on when

racing starts for you generally you want

about two months after base training to

build intensity before racing starts

with that let's get into what a training

week during the base period should look

like I'll use the example of a 10 hour

training week now this is critical many

riders with tight schedules assume that

because they have less time to Train if

they just bump up the intensity of all

of the rides that should make up for it

this is not the case for example going

back to the study on Ironman triathletes

they found that in a three zone model a


of cycling training in zone 2 may

contribute to poorer overall performance

and from this study on the impact of

training intensity distribution again

using a three zone model accumulating

more time at moderately high intensities

does not necessarily develop a faster

racing pace a take-home message may be

that sport training session should also

attempt to avoid making every session

the same intensity to avoid stagnation

and staleness that's the trap that many

cyclists fall into making every ride

kind of hard but never easy and

certainly not hard enough hmm what

should I do for a ride today I don't

really want to do intervals because

those really hurt but I also don't want

to do an endurance ride because I want

to feel like I'm actually getting in a

workout I've got it I'll just ride kind

of hard the whole time

unless someone passes me on the bike

path in which case I'll sprint to stay

ahead of them nailed it during the base

season you may want to start with only

zone 2 rides but as you start

incorporating intensity you still only

want to do it two or on occasionally

three times a week and that should

mostly be done at threshold or

steady-state intensity since that takes

longer to develop than higher intensity

all right let me show you how I build

out a training week we want to start by

adding in our intensity for the week at

first there won't be very much intensity

at all as your body gets used to the

higher volume of training but after a

couple weeks you want to start

incorporating steady-state or threshold

intensity intervals let's say we decide

our interval days are going to be

Tuesday and Saturday both of which are

going to be steady-state intervals done

at ninety five to a hundred percent of

threshold and we're trying to accumulate

30 minutes to an hour of intense work

depending on your ability level these

intervals don't have to be complicated

in fact it's better if they're not at

this time of year

what's important is accumulating time at

these intensities the next step is to

add in your weight training now if you

haven't seen my weight training video I

highly recommend you go watch it to

understand how important weight training

is for cycling and I'll leave it linked

in the description but basically here

the cliff notes while coaches and

athletes may argue about whether or not

we training is beneficial the research

couldn't be more clear weight training

has a huge impact on cycling performance

and should be a part of any serious

cyclist training program once you get to

the base season hopefully you've already

been doing some lifting in your office

because being a newbie in the gym while

trying to do a high-volume of training

on the bike won't mix well during the

base season you may choose to reduce the

training load of gym work to account for

the increased training load of on the

bike work you want to do this not by

decreasing the weight but by decreasing

the volume of lifting so the total

number of reps you do when you go into

the gym this study on the comparison of

recovery from resistance training tested

high intensity versus high volume

resistance training and found that high

volume resistance exercise results in

greater performance deficits and a

greater extent of muscle damage than

about of high intensity resistance

exercise so how do we put this into

practice basically you want to be doing

the same high weight low rep work but

reduce the total number of sets you do

for example if you worked your way up to

ten total sets in the offseason then you

may want to reduce that down to four to

six total sets during the base season

this of course will depend on how

demanding you're on the bike training is

that week once you get into race season

some may choose to cut weight training

down to once a week or cut it out

completely to allow for adequate

recovery okay so we're in the week do we

place these gym sessions you want to

make sure you do them after the

intervals either the same day or the

next day in this example I've got gym

work on Wednesday after Tuesday's

intervals and then gym work again after

Saturday's workout which will give me

two days to recover from the gym before

doing intervals again the following

Tuesday the rest of the rides should all

be zone two or below and if you can get

in at least one long ride in the week

that'll be extremely helpful for your

endurance for example in this week we've

got an hour endurance on Wednesday an

hour and a half on Thursday and a four

and a half hour long ride on Sunday with

Monday and Friday being rest days and if

you like you can include an hour active

recovery ride on one of those days this

is a pretty good template of what a base

training week should look like if you

got more or less time than this then you

can adjust the length of the endurance

rides you may also choose to up the

difficulty of the intervals as you go

for example you may start with four by

ten minutes it's steady-state so you're

doing forty minutes of intense work and

then work up to four by 15 minutes of

steady-state so you're doing sixty

minutes of intense work the main

takeaway from this video should be this

if you want to maximize

performance don't take shortcuts high

volumes of zone to work will produce

results slowly over time and the base

season or preseason is the perfect time

to focus on that and then as you get

closer to the race season you can

increase the intensity of your workouts

but more important than that make sure

your workouts are becoming more race

specific thanks for watching for weekly

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