Increasing base miles in the Winter season, in the hope of being strong for the Summer is likely to leave you lacking and demoralised by race day. The sustainable nature of ‘base miles’, means that it can result in a reduced workload. So ‘training slow, will keep you slow’.
The premise of aerobic base training is to cause adaptation of the capillaries to get a greater transfer of oxygenated blood to the muscles. Also, within the muscles, we are looking for more, and bigger mitochondria cells, as these cells break down carbohydrates and fats into usable energy more quickly.
The Professionals still need fuel in the tank at the end of a 5-hour stage of a grand tour (or Milan San Remo – eurgh) so they can pull off that final sprint to the finish. Their training is, therefore, high volume and high intensity combined. Most of us don’t have the time to train that hard, and realistically, at an amateur level, the duration of a race will be 40 minutes to 3 hours.
Periodization, which we have looked at previously, will make the most of your training time. (Please download your Periodization Calendar for this year.) Combine high and low-intensity workouts in Winter, using your Power Meter to gauge your Training Stress Score, so you don’t overtrain, at the higher intensity levels.
The modern view on training, which has the science to back it up, proves workouts that improve the power at threshold, will in turn, improve the power for endurance. For those of us at a certain age, there are injury preventative aspects too. Cycling is really bad for decreased bone density. Core strength too is not great; I like to think that applies more to the Roadies than us Mountain bikers though!
Going back to the mitochondria, ‘the science’ now proves that high-intensity interval training does improve the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates, and it does it in a fraction of the time. With better tools available like PowerSense, gone are the days of low-intensity cruising, mix-it-up for the best results through Winter.