The two most important training phases to improve endurance and power output are:
#1 Aerobic Endurance “Base Training”
#2 High Intensity Interval Training
Base training includes zones 2, 3 (tempo) and our favorite sweet spot. To ‘do’ base training you need six weeks, to build a bigger base, set aside 12 to 18 weeks.
Once you’ve built a big base, move onto high intensity intervals (HIT). HIT includes intervals going as hard as you can or ‘full gas’ as we like to say, in zones 4, 5, & 6.
The sooner you get started the faster you can become. The bigger the base you build and the more intervals you perform the faster you will ride.
An example of these two phases paired together for the next 4 and half months would be to spend the next 12 weeks building your base and then ‘switch from base to race‘ with 6 weeks of interval training. Combining the two together adds up to 18 weeks of high quality training that will increase your endurance and FTP anywhere from 3 – 25%**.
**more if you’ve never followed a structured, science based training plan & less if you are already ‘well trained’
If you goal event is coming up in less than 18 weeks you may do one block of base training and one block of interval training. Similarly for 24 weeks to train, you may elect to build base for 18 weeks and then move onto 6 weeks of interval training. Its most important to do both phases!
There are lots and lots of individual possibilities and permutations specific to your physiology, strengths, weakness. Some athletes need to work on their base more than high intensity interval training. Others may benefit from concentrating on less base and more intervals. Certain races dictate more base training (like long distances) while other dictate more intervals (like criteriums and cyclocross). Again, the most important thing is to plan for both phases before your goal event. We’ve written and podcasted about these before:
Don’t Forget Your Nutrition
Weight loss: nearly all of us will benefit. If not, then fueling your workouts and optimizing your recovery are essential. Base training is an OK time to lose weight but not during your interval training. Proper cycling nutrition begins by ‘Winning in the Kitchen‘. Read more about losing weight using MyFitnessPal under our guidance. You can also purchase our Winning in the Kitchen Meal Plan if you want more guidance!
Have more than 24 weeks? You are still in your ‘off season’ :: Read more about Off Season Training HERE.
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