Switching from Base to Race Part 2: a continuation from our 2019 podcast on moving onto an interval phase of training after building a sweet spot base

In this podcast, Coach Frank goes thru 10 instances Dave Letterman style of when you should switch from aerobic endurance training to high intensity interval training. This is the sweet spot and polarized methodologies referenced in last week’s podcast!

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SHOW NOTES:

2019 Switch from Base to Race Podcast

Timing is Everything

Let’s talk about the criteria for knowing when to stop doing aerobic endurance work and start doing high intensity interval training because as we’ve podcasted  before timing is everything.

How to Know when to Switch from Base to Race – gonna do my best Dave Letterman top 10 list impression:

10. When you are racing* in 3-6 weeks or less

9. When your base is ‘good’ and the returns from doing interval training going forward are going to net greater power increase than if you kept trudging along with base

8. When you’ve been doing base for more than 18 weeks

7. When your Coach tells you to (this would be for the one on one coached athletes)

6. When you’ve been doing some base but want to raise your power even more

5. When you want to do some harder training

4.When your CTL is higher than ever before or within 10-20% of

3.When you can’t ride any more – as in you’ve maxed out 12 hours of riding per week (cant do 13)

2. When you are dog tired from all the sweet spot training and your legs are begging for a break

1. And the #1 reason to switch from base to race is because you are going to be racing soon!  Switch to “Race”

Alright – let’s unpack each one of those.  I don’t have any reasons not to switch to intervals unless your base is under developed. Ie. you have NOT been doing any sweet spot base and aren’t racing soon or if you are those are B races. In this case, doing a 6 or 12 week block of sweet spot training before you switch to interval training.  Build the aerobic foundation of the pyramid an stack the intervals on top of afterwards.

You may hear some old skool racers talk about racing into shape – but they are building base during the week.  And per our long ride podcast last week – if you’ve been racing on Zwift or similar riding hard – that is not base and now that the weather is improving for outside rides you will benefit from back up and doing a block of sweet spot base training.  Resist the temptation to keep riding hard outside – this is the group ride hero we talk about and also a one way ticket to Burn Out Ville. You don’t want to go there when the world is going to come back to life once everyone gets vaccinated and racing + group rides return. But I digress…..

Back to unpacking the Dave LetterMan top ten list to switch from base to race:

10. When you are racing* in 3-6 weeks or less

If you’ve done some base say a 6 – 12 week block but your CTL isn’t quite where you want it to be because of life’s limitations, still switch from base to race. Remember races are generally one from your peak power output – not the size of your CTL. I feel like that line could be in the Movie SpaceBalls – anyone remember the light saber spoof scene?

Its better to work on your power output 3-6 weeks out than your base.  That’s the coaching advice – that’s what I was talking about last week when the coaches are ahead of the science. Experience! AI generated workouts are going to miss that.

9. When your base is ‘good’ and the returns from doing interval training going forward are going to net greater power increase than if you kept trudging along with base

This goes along with #10 I just mentioned – you’ll increase your FTP more than from trying to keep building your base.  Watts win races not CTL.

8. When you’ve been doing base for more than 18 weeks

18 weeks is the point of diminishing returns – you need/want to move on from here to keep progress – your training and progress will plateau out should you keep sweet spot base build. See we advocate both!

7. When your Coach tells you to (this would be for the one on one coached athletes)

For coaches athletes, this is the value of having a coach – an expert with the experience to know when to switch – using the 3 criteria above but also the nuances of your training. This is someone who’s got your back and has the experience to give you this advice. Again AI ain’t gonna do that for you.

6. When you’ve been doing some base but want to raise your power even more

Naturally what’s better than one thing to help you ride faster? Two! In last week’s podcast we articulated tht we advocate both sweet spot training combine with polarized training – I prefer to call it race specific interval training. And future pod on intervals I’ll described the FasCat Way. We’ve touched on it before if you want to go back and listen to our previous episodes on intervals.  But combine base training with interval training and whammo! Lotta watts coming to ya.

5. When you want to do some harder training

If you are like a caged tiger frothing at the mouth to ride fast and ride harder, you should switch from base to race and do some intervals! This would go toward motivation – when you are motivated to do the hard work, do the intervals and make the switch – just make sure you’ve built your base up first. As in for your whacko’s that like to do VO2 Max Intervals all year long.  I jest but I know you are out there…. This is what I call the cross fit crew – who goes berserk every workout.  That can be harnessed .. I am digressing…..

4.When your CTL is higher than ever before or within 10-20% of

I like the historical CTL data because it serves as a point of reference if you’ve got last year’s data and can compare.  If you hit 85 last year and you couldn’t ride any longer and you are close to 85 this year (80-90) and you know it’ll be tough to find more time to ride to keep raising your CTL – that is when you know it is time to Switch from Base to race.

Use the Performance Manager Chart – the PMC the The Shit that will Kill Them – to help you identify and even project (model out) when you’ll make the switch.  Use the PMC chart to model that out and determine if/when/why to make the switch.

3.When you can’t ride any more – as in you’ve maxed out 12 hours of riding per week (can’t do 13)

If you can’t ride anymore than 12 hours per week you wont’ be able to keep increase your CTL , building your base and you would be wise to bank those gains and make more by beginin and interval training phase.

I see this alot with athletes that have done a good build but there CTL hovers flat for long period of time as they run up against a brick wall trying to keep riding long and keep riding more when life simply doesn’t let them.  That’s when to stop sweet spotting and start doing intervals.

Your PMC chart should only track flat when you are ‘in season and doing intervals’ if you are building base it should be increasing and if its not for whatever reason, move onto the next phase of training, which is intervals or rest and/or a taper to peak for a A race.

2. When you are dog tired from all the sweet spot training and your legs are begging for a break

Base training is hard once you really start pushing out the adaptations and it can wear on you.  Rarely does an athlete overtrain from base, but you certainly can overreached.  As I mentioned in # 3 if you are running up a brick wall because your legs are tired and you cant’ make watts like you could when you were fresh – that is your body telling you to rest.  Remember the Greg henderson, Wrestling the Gorrilla analogy – this is when you let the Gorrilla win, your body and your legs – tell you, no mas. Rest , ride less and then switch over to high intensity interval work – especially

If you are about to start racing soon. Which is our # 1 reason to switch from base to race. Soon as in 6 weeks or less and you are hungry like the wolf to steal the Duran Duran song and are motivated to ride harder as referenced in #5 previously.

Thanks for listening! Hit us up in our forum  forum.FasCatCoachig.com to ask us YOUR question about switching from base to race

Don’t just sweet spot all year round – you’re leaving watts on the table if you don’t do your intervals.  It goes right to the core of how we each each episode which I’ll amend for this podcast

Work Hard, Ride Fast, don’t forget to Switch from Base to Race, Have FUN and as ALWAYS FtFP

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