Images via Thomas Maheux
A little while ago I returned from an 8-day team training camp in the Tarragona region of Spain.
As expected, it was a challenging week of pushing ourselves a nudge beyond our comfort zones, and beginning to really build on or base foundations with some team time trial efforts and V02 max work.
Throughout the early part of the pre-season, most professionals are doing what are known as ‘base kilometres’ or ‘base miles’ for the imperial-inclined.
Long, hard efforts
The idea behind this is to create a solid foundation where we can re-enter training after some time off the bike, and not put too much strain on the body, but literally rather a slow build. It’s like if you were painting a house, you don’t slap all the paint on at once, although the house might be painted in record time; it is bound to appear messy!
Instead, you layer the paint with precision and patience, just as you ride the base period slowly (slower than you think) to giving your aerobic system time to reacquaint itself, and in turn, avoid injury and burnout.
As the season draws nearer, generally we will reduce the volume and begin to introduce more race-specific efforts. The goal is to start activating the energy systems required for racing at the top level. These sessions are often shorter in duration but much harder, requiring more rest between sessions in order to let those adaptations take place. This is where indoor training really hits the mark.
When riding indoors on FulGaz, it is likely the sessions will be of higher intensity, placing a larger demand on your body. This is great for getting real quality effective training loads in, despite the total time being two hours or less (for me).
You may be someone who is crunched for time, or living where the weather is particularly grim and despite your mates clocking up the hours on the bike outdoors, you can reassure yourself your time on the trainer is effective. It is the single malt whiskey of intensity training. Pure and effective. Not that there’s not a place for sinking light beers all day long, but it’s incomparable.
At training camp, there were days when some of my teammates kept pushing to add extra hours, 15 minutes more out, 15 back, leaving half an hour earlier, or adding a loop at the end to push the totals to ride time to a nice round number.
In previous years, I have also been this person, thinking ‘more is more’ and watching the numbers creep up on my weekly Strava summary. This year, I may have accumulated fewer hours but my coach and I instead sprinkled some HIIT intervals throughout the rides, and use the extra time before or after do some light core work or simply recover properly.
I found I was much less stressed about fitting everything in around training and recovery, as well as able to back up my training day after day with good hard sessions.
It’s during the recovery that the adaptations really take place, and you will never be truly able to hit those high numbers session after if you are constantly in a state of mild fatigue thanks to all the ‘junk’ hours you are putting in.
FulGaz has training sessions available on the app for you to get this quality in, and soon hopefully I will be sharing some of my ‘quality over quantity’ sessions on the app too.
Take confidence in the quality, so when you do head outside for the long summer days, you can enjoy the surroundings and not have to stare at your wattage.
Until next time