Base Training – Don’t Skip It!

With just over three months to go until RBC GranFondo Whistler, I’ve heard a lot of comments regarding how some cyclists are “feeling behind “in their training – having not yet started or barely logging any hours of saddle time.  If this sounds like you then read on! You are not alone and the good news is that there is still a lot of time to prepare.  However, we need to address how we can make the most out of your next 12 weeks of training.

Jen SeggerWhile it may seem tempting to jump on your bike and start hammering out hill repeats and sprint intervals, you are better to push those high intensity workouts to the side for now and focus on developing your aerobic energy system.

So what does this entail exactly? Well essentially, it means increasing your body’s ability to work aerobically (with oxygen) seeing as this is the state where you will spend majority of your time on race day.  This is also the foundation for which any anaerobic work can be developed.  In other words, don’t even bother trying to jump into high intensity, power workouts if you don’t have the structural system in place to support it!

For the next six weeks, focus on developing a strong aerobic engine!  I suggest that two to three of your weekly rides are done at an intensity in which you can maintain a conversation at.  Focus on time in the saddle, not how big the gears are that you can push or how fast you can get from A to B.  The intensity should be harder then a recovery spin effort yet feel like you are riding that that “go forever” pace.  Focus on smooth pedaling and technique.  You want to ride at a steady pace, no power climbs and no sprint intervals during these workouts.

And so what should you do when you see that big hill in front of you?  Stay seated!  The focus right now should be on developing hip, leg and knee strength.  Use your gears.  Focus on your technique and your body position.  Stay relaxed in the handlebars, take control of your breathing.  Try to include one to two rides a week where there are sustained long climbs because as we know, the RBC GranFondo Whistler route certainly has them!

PackThese aerobic development rides are also the ones where we focus on increasing the amount of time (duration) on the bike. Most cyclists plan these as their weekend rides, often times done in a group with other rides of the same pace!   Start to think about saddle time, increasing by 30-45 minutes of ride time each week WHILE riding at that steady pace.   These longer rides are a great time to teach your body how to in-take calories and fluids while you move!  Figure out how many calories per hour you need and what types of food work for you will be critical to race day success.  Don’t leave this until race week!

Cheers to some great June training rides everyone!



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