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This story has been written by Matthew Keenan.

Start today because tomorrow never comes. It’s an old cliché that can be applied to anything in life, particularly training. You can’t cram for Drops + Hoods, or any ride/race, in the same way you can for a university exam or a work presentation. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work.

Cramming, on the training front, normally leads to falling into a physical heap and getting sick. We need to build a base.

Why base training

At the beginning of the training phase the key focus is building the aerobic base. This is the foundation that your fitness will be built on. Rides of two or more hours, at a steady pace, teach your body to be more efficient in its use oxygen and fat as fuel.

And when you build endurance, eventually you can get more out of higher intensity riding and a heavier training load.

Allow six to eight weeks for this phase.

Intensity

Most rides in this phase will be at a heart rate of between 65 and 75 per cent of your max. The occasional hard effort won’t hurt your base but don’t over do it. Try to keep your pedalling cadence at around 95rpm.

When you’re riding hills try to stay seated. This will help build your strength.

Consistency

Importantly, for building your base, consistency is crucial. Aim for at least four rides per week. You’ll get better fitness outcomes from doing 300km spread across four days per week than doing it in two rides.

Purpose

As cycling is such a time intensive sport, ensure that each ride has a purpose, so you don’t waste any time. Even if the purpose of the ride is a social catch up with friends, always have a purpose. It will help keep you motivated and on track.

The overall purpose of this phase is to build a foundation that will let you get the best out of yourself when we start up the intensity.

A really easy way to build up your base is to ride to work, the long way, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and do at least one three-to-four-hour ride on the weekend.

It’s also vital that you have rest days.