In the past many riders just thought of base riding as one big project and really didn’t specify what they were doing each month of the period. It has now been proven that a slow progression of the elements that are included in base, better prepare you for the vigorous road season. While in base one, you may ride 65% endurance workouts, 25% force workouts, 10% speed skills, and cross trained; base two cuts endurance by as much as 10-15%. Speed skills stay the same and your muscular endurance becomes a factor, along with more force workouts, percentage wise. So, hello tempo riding! I mean weren’t you so tired of seeing that same power or heart rate zone for all that time. You can also start to build up your form for sprinting. You still want to avoid the winter warrior bike race, I mean ride that have riders that are in such good condition in January that they could win the tour, but by the time July rolls around and they couldn’t win a stroller race.
Here are a couple of good ways to quantify your first base period into the second phase of training base. First, your long ride day might include a few sprint efforts. You will still want to climb in the saddle still, but you might do a couple repeat efforts at the end of a workout. Over the next month I would increase that number of repeats. If you start with 2, maybe the next week is 3, and two weeks later your total is 4. In that 6 week period you’ve built up to a repeat training day. This in turn takes you into a final third base period or a period of total commitment to being race ready, but not necessarily in “peak” condition.
With all of this being said a good coach just plans all of the geeky physiology stuff for you. He or she sets the progressions for you as your results show improvements and as the specified physiological periods call for. They hold you accountable for those long boring days and help make those days interesting with a drill or two that will slowly progress you to the next period of your training.