So what types of workouts should a road rider do during a base period? As a coach, I like to plan three or four endurance days. Long hard miles focused on staying in an aerobic zone. I would include your weakness. If your weakness if staying in the drops on a flat road, I would plan some flat road and get in those drops. I would plane a few force workouts. Find yourself a nice short route with a few good climbs. These help with power. I would do speed drills or spin up drills. Pedal speed means a lot in those late season crits. I also like to use base as a time to work on breathing, posture, and form. If you live in a cold weather environment I would recommend still going out on the road at least 2 times a week. No one wants to be on a trainer inside, and if it is freezing out side, you must be ready to ride, or forever hold your peace.
The hardest aspects of the base period is having interesting work outs, staying in the power or heart rate zones you need to ride in, and not working hard enough for some of the work outs. Base doesn’t always mean slow and low. For example if a ride is billed as endurance base training and you are in your base period, but your work out for the day is power, than there is no way you should go on that group ride. Other hang ups may be that you generate more power in heart rate zone 3 than your buddy. You may have a bit more speed in the same power some. This is all because watts do not equal speed and heart rates can vary when equated to power and speed. Do they all fall in line with each other? Yes! Low heart rate usually means low power and low speed, or basically not working hard enough. High heart rate, low speed, probably means you aren’t generating much power. All this says is that one man’s base is different than another woman’s.
I hope this helps you get ready for the long cold winter rides ahead of you. I pray you own a good training and a nice library of music and books. Keep your heart rate in that low to medium zone and couple that with a high zone burst every 20 minutes or so as the season progresses make the little burst a bit longer and a bit longer. Finally just enjoy the time before the really hard work outs begin.
The Lead Pack Cycling Group