Monday, February 1, 2010

Training for 2010: Base, Build, and Beyond

(photo of a bird on Lake Washington, taken from the I-90 bike trail on the way to Mercer Island)

Well it's a new year so that means I've got to tell you how many km's I pedaled last year: in 2009 I rode about 11,000 km (~6,800 mi), for a total of about 460 hours. Seems like a lot for me, but is certainly less than a lot of people too. For reference I did about 12,000 km in 2008, but did less last year on purpose, since I started racing and doing a bit less of those huge rides.

2009 was a lot of fun - a good number of brevets completed (or attempted), and about 25 races for the season - but 2010 will be even better! In my future I'm seeing less of the "why am I out here?" thoughts and more of the "I hope I can hang on!" kind of thoughts. E.g., less long suffering rides in place for more suffering in a shorter time-span, e.g. racing.


And this year (actually the last few months now) I'm doing a 'real' training plan, e.g. the Base/Build/Peak/Race/Rest "periodization" style of training, from the "Cyclist's Training Bible".

So what does this all mean? In summary it's basically a formula that goes like: create an endurance base, then build on that with more intensity, peaking at a specific time (hopefully during race season!). Last year was more like a plateau for me, with no real rest/work cycles and just general "riding."

So here's my training breakdown:

  • Base: not just "ride slow & long" but the endurance zone is actually slightly higher intensity than what I used to think it was. Think just under tempo, but certainly not "active recovery." In this Base period you work on Endurance, Force, Speed skill, and Muscular Endurance. There are three Base blocks in my plan, each consisting of three weeks of work and one rest week. (12 weeks total)
  • Build: time to sprinkle on some intensity, tone down duration, and work on Anaerobic Endurance & some limiters. I'm doing two Build blocks, each three weeks long with one rest week. In fact I'm starting Build 1, Week 1 today! Today calls for some "cruise intervals" - should be fun. (8 weeks total)
  • Peak: work on Anaerobic Endurance, Power, and a limiter. Hours are down from Base/Build but intensity is up.
  • Race: work on Speed Skills, Anaerobic Endurance, and of course race at least once a week or so.
  • Then you normally take a rest week after racing for a while, doing another Build block or two, and Peak again.
(Note: this is just a summary of the phases and also my understanding of them - you'll want to take a look at the training bible in order to get the real scoop on this stuff)

In racing team news the team rides from the shop on Saturdays have been fun, it's been great meeting the team and getting to know the other 4/5's I'll be racing with this year. I got an older RCR (Recycled Cycles Racing) winter jacket, as well as a jersey with the RCR blue & gold! Finally get to fly the colors of the team, and it feels good. Just got to remember not to flip anyone off while riding in it....

In more racing news I'm looking forward to the first Road race of the WA road season, Mason Lake #1 & probably the Sequim race the next day! At only 36 miles the Cat 5 Mason Lake will be relatively short, but sweet. Bring on the wet road races!! Oh and I'll most likely sign up for the Tour of Walla Walla, it will most likely be my first stage race.

About Those Brevets

With the race season approaching, the brevet season is also almost here too. While I'll probably do less brevets this year I do plan on doing a 200k-600k "Super Randonneur" series, as long as I can squeeze them in between life & racing.

And of course PBP is in Aug. 2011 so that's no that far off.. gotta keep the rando legs in order, as I still want to give PBP a shot.

Here's to a great year of riding! See ya on the road.


Anonymous said...

good to hear that your training is moving along. I'll be out for one or two of the Mason/Sequim weekends, it should be good fun.

Have you done any baseline testing for your training & racing? I'm love to hear what levels you are at compared to last year.

Anonymous said...

"Just got to remember not to flip anyone off while riding in it...."

Yeah, it's Recycled, not Rock Racing that you ride for. hehehe. I know the feeling, though. I'm extra careful to be polite when I'm wearing my SIR, RUSA, or company team jersey.

matt m said...

gyenyame - I have done the testing, and some gains are there but it's hard to compare race-stats with training-stats sometimes. I just can't sprint quite the same without 70 people behind me doing 30+mph..

At the 20-minute level power is at the same or up a bit (4.2 w/kg via NP). I need to do another test though now that Build is starting.