How to build a training plan for endurance athletes – start with base miles!
I have written about the importance of strength training and core stability training in my previous blogs. And although those are crucial aspects of the training plan of any cyclist who wants to get the most out their own potential, obviously most of the training to become a successful cyclist, has to be done on the bike. I have also written a blog on the technical aspect of bike racing, and although this is very important as well, most of the difference can be made by increasing your fitness level. On the bike, you can roughly make a split in 2 types of training to increase your fitness level. At a higher level, most riders do a lot of interval training. I will come back to that in a later blog, because it’s a very effective way to increase your physical capacity and the maximum pace you can ride. But before you can do those hard interval trainings, you have to do a lot of endurance training to get your base miles.
A training plan is like building a house. You can not keep the roof in place without the walls, and those walls would only collapse without a proper foundation. And obviously, when you’re building the house, you will have to start from the bottom and work your way up to the roof from there. As with a training plan, you will need to build the entire house including foundation, walls and roof before you can start decorating and live there. In a training plan for any endurance athlete, base miles are the foundation of your house and intervals will build the walls and the roof. When this is all finished, you can work on the finishing touches by decorating the house. This is not done by endurance training or interval training, although you will need to continue to do both of those in the entire build up period towards your goal, but you work on the finishing touches inside the house where you are eventually going to live. This means that you have to do this work in races prior to your main goal.
These simple rules are the basics of any successful training plan for endurance athletes. Obviously it takes some more knowledge and experience to get things exactly right, but anybody can use this as general guidelines to build a good training plan for himself when you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a professional trainer. If you only want to compete in local races, this will probably be good enough for you and over the years you will learn to fine tune your training program. But if you do want to reach the top level of national or even international racing, it is recommended that you do find yourself a professional trainer who uses these guidelines based on his or her education and has experience in coaching endurance athletes. Keep in mind that you will have to share a lot of personal information with your trainer if you want them to be able to do their job right. So obviously, you should only work with somebody you feel comfortable sharing this information with, and somebody you fully trust.
As I stated above, you will have to start any training plan with base miles. How many of those you need is hard to tell. Actually, you can never have enough of these. But obviously, you will have to start doing other ways of training at some point in your build up toward your main goals. So how much time you can spend doing base miles depends on a number of factors. First of all, there’s the time you have between starting your training plan and the date of your main goal race. At least half of this time should be spent focusing on base miles, and the base miles period for starting cyclists should be at least 6 weeks. So if you are just getting into cycling, this means you should also pick your target event at least 12 weeks in advance. When you get more experienced in cycling, you will have to do less base miles the next time you build up toward a new target event, because not all of the base miles you have done before have been lost. Still you will need to do a period of base miles over and over again. Another important factor is how much training you can do. For some people, time is the limiting factor here. For other people, the limiting factor is how fast they can recover in between workouts. Generally, the more base miles you have done in your life, the faster you can recover. This gives more experienced riders a bit of an advantage. But obviously there’s a lot of talent involved there as well, and there’s a lot you can do to help your body to recover faster. One of the things you can do is proper nutrition. The entire range of Arkworld products http://goo.gl/QZZzi will help you to recover faster, but only if you get your basic nutrition right as well. This includes eating carbohydrates before a training ride and a mix of carbohydrates and proteins immediately after your training ride, but also eating healthy vegetables with dinner. Always remember that supplements support a healthy diet, but they do not replace it!
Anyway you have to get your base miles in and is a lot easier to tell than how many you really need. Actually it’s really simple. If you can’t talk during the ride, you’re going too fast. If you don’t feel anything, you’re going too slow. If you’re exhausted at the end of your training ride, it was either too fast, too long or both. If you’re not tired at all at the end of your ride, you should go a bit longer and/or faster the next time. Although sometimes it’s a good thing to go out for a ride without getting tired at all. Also, when you are just getting into cycling and you have a day when you do have time to ride, but not very long, it’s better to just ride at endurance pace without getting tired than going either really fast or not going out at all. When you go out for a ride, always take drink bottles and solid food with you. On average, drink 500 ml to 1 litre every hour in parts of 200 to 250 ml, and on rides longer than 90 minutes you should eat every hour. When you have the chance to bring 2 bottles, take 1 bottle with pink drink (Ark1) and 1 with just water, drink about the same amount of them during your ride, taking water the first time you drink, pink drink second time and water again the third time until you run out. If you do run out, don’t hesitate to stop for a refill. Obviously it will be hard to refill with a new pink drink in training, but choose a standard sports drink containing a 6-8% carbohydrates instead. And always refill the water bottle with water again. What you should eat during your training rides depends on what you prefer, but generally it should be small bits that are easy to digest and contain many carbohydrates. Also, endurance rides are a great opportunity to experiment with race nutrition. Try to take a gel in the last hour and see what happens. If you feel bad after taking a gel in endurance training, your body is really not going to accept it in racing either. In that case, look for a different brand or try to find an alternative type of food for your races. Again, try it in your next endurance ride until you find something that seems to work for you. This will avoid many problems during your race.
Using the Arkworld products you will find that your stamina is much improved and also recovery but one of the hidden benefits of such an advanced range of products is it’s ability to help suppress the lactic acid build up and also help prevent cramping during exercise. You can learn more by clicking the Blue link further up the page.
Hope this post helps you with your training, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance.
Team HRTC Lead Cyclist