Are you getting bored of cycling posts yet? There are plenty more posts to come! Three weeks ago, I started a more structured training plan and am already beginning to feel some change, psychological or otherwise. I am considered to be in the “Base” phase of cycling training, which includes lots of aerobic (high volume, low intensity) rides. My schedule is off/recovery on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and aerobic rides on all other days. On Saturdays, there are often high intensity team field workouts which include FTP, sprinting, and climbing. I follow up the field workout with an aerobic ride. I also try to work in specific pedal stroke and strengthening drills.
Summary of hours/miles for the past three weeks:
Base 1: 13.0 hours / 192 miles
Base 2: 10.5 hours / 159 miles
Base/Recover 3: 5.0 hours / 78 miles
In retrospect, I may have overdone the hours/miles on week one, but I felt great after the first week. I didn’t feel fatigued and since I worked my riding into my commute, I didn’t even feel like I sacrificed that much time out of the week. During week two, it felt a little harder to squeeze the miles in, but I was still feeling ok. According to Joe Friel, athletes typically do three weeks of training and recover on the fourth, but Clark recommended recovering on the third week, so I duly followed his advice.
After three weeks, it is hard to say whether or not my fitness had improved. After the first week of low intensity riding, I was genuinely impressed at how little fatigue I felt after riding so much. By the third week however, my legs began to feel tight, which meant that I probably needed to stretch more. One thing I can say is that my cadence has improved noticeably. On long stretches of flats, keeping my cadence above 90rpm no longer seems unnatural, but the improvement was even more significant when climbing hills. Spinning uphill at 90rpm was a revelation. I could go faster and longer. For this reason alone, it would seem like I could do say, OLH much faster, but I’m not sure that would say anything conclusive about my fitness. While I can’t say that I convinced of this “going slower to go faster” base training business, I am continuing my training to see how I can improve. After six more weeks of base training, I can do some more testing and move on to the build phase.