you need to build a big base to reach high
In a previous post I mentioned stepping up and hiring a coach. If you are serious about the sport you compete in hiring a coach is one of the best performance improvements you can make and its money well spent. There are many benefits to hiring a coach, accountability, experience, motivation to name a few. Anyone can read a book or pay for a training plan but nothing can replace the the personal interaction, experience and motivation that a coach can provide. For me its more about the accountability. While I believe myself to be at the higher end of the self motivation scale, having someone to answer to is the kick in the tail I need as an athlete. So what does hiring a coach have to do with BASICS? When I first sat down with my Total Cyclist coach, Jackie Crowell and analyzed my data there was a huge glaring component missing form my training, BASE miles. I had none! all my riding was done at Tempo, Lactate Threshold, VO2 Max, Anaerobic Capacity and Neuromuscular Power…huh? in layman's terms too hard! BASE miles are done in Zone 2 or Endurance. The above terminology is used when training with a power meter. a power meter measures in watts (energy) the effort it takes you to propel the bike, it is a more accurate calculation than using heart rate. The training zones (in the chart below) are based off of LT or FTP otherwise known as Lactate Threshold. LT is determined with a power test.
• Level 1 Active Recovery = < 55% of LT
• Level 2 Endurance = 56-75% of LT
• Level 3 Tempo = 76-90% of LT
• Level 4 Lactate Threshold = 91-105% of LT
• Level 5 VO2 Max = 106-120% of LT
• Level 6 Anaerobic Capacity = 121-150% of LT
• Level 7 Neuromuscular Power = maximum effort
Going into this off season I knew there would be a lot of BASE miles. So what is BASE. “Base training is the foundation upon which everything else rests,” says Danny Suter, USA Cycling Level 2 coach and founder of the Boulder Performance Network. When you build endurance, eventually you can get more out of higher-intensity riding and a heavier training load. “Riders who go straight into speed work can get fast on the bike,” says Hunter Allen, coauthor of Training and Racing with a Power Meter. “But they won’t have aerobic endurance, so their fitness lasts just a few weeks before they slow down.”
When you ride for two or more hours (or less for new riders) at a steady pace—a typical base ride—your body responds with changes that allow you to use more oxygen and burn more fat as fuel, says coach Joe Friel, author of The Cyclist’s Training Bible. For starters, these rides build more capillaries, the tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. Your mitochondria—the parts of your cells that produce energy—also multiply and enlarge. And you churn out more enzymes that help turn stored fuel into energy. The result: You can ride faster and longer.