Base Building & Cross Training
It’s easy for me to get carried away dreaming about our upcoming Mountains of Misery training schedule. For a gal who loves to climb, it’s like a spring cycling season spent in heaven. So, to keep myself grounded in the reality of the task at hand, I am focusing on my base building and strength training. Since the MoM training schedule begins on March 1, I have only three more weeks to prepare.
Many cyclists follow a very scripted schedule measuring heart rate, VO2 max, power output, calories, weight, miles, speed, episodes of gas, etc… I used to be one of these types. I have a stack of journals that tracked every minute detail of every ride including what I wore with a ranking as to whether I chose the right layers. It served a purpose, but I no longer feel compelled to be so anal about my training.
Still, I see the value and find comfort in a plan. And there are many plans available in Google-land. Someone shared a very interesting article Case for Base Building on Facebook. This article gives some great advice about long slow rides and provides a simple base building training schedule. Check it out to see if it resonates with you. I have been experimenting with the technique of long and slow on the hill climb ride on Wednesdays and plan to continue to use a slower, steady pace on long rides until the training series begins.
For some people, structure is comforting, but if you are like me, you can become a slave to a schedule – expecting only the worst if you don’t do exactly what’s prescribed for today. Remember that work and family commitments are always going to get in the way and give yourself a break. Be flexible. Make your schedule fit your life…not someone else’s idea one size fits all.
For strength training, I take a boot camp class offered by Training Partners. Most of the exercises that we perform use body weight – push-ups, air squats, lunges, jump rope, planks, etc… You could create your own one-hour training plan to carry out at home with minimal equipment required.
I prefer to let my trainer, Mike Page, call the shots because 1) he is good at it, 2) he pushes me and 3) I don’t have to think! I know, you’ve heard it a million times, but core strength is an important component for becoming the best cyclist you can be. Recently, while descending on Route 9, I really felt my abs in action…mainly because they were still sore from boot camp. Not the most pleasant feeling, but perfect for measuring the importance of core strength.
For indoor riding, I take Jen Marsh’s spin classes at Cheshire Fitness. The classes are short (one hour) and intense workouts, but you control the tension so you can keep intensity low if that’s part of your plan. I just received a fantastic, free offer from Youngblood Bicycles – free spin classes lead by a Carmichael Training coach. Bring your own bike and your own trainer (or rent one for $10). Call the shop for more details.
I have a CycleOps trainer, but I really prefer to be on the road. When I do use the trainer, I set up my laptop to watch movies or shows to pass the time. I create my own intervals…a long climb that lasts 15 minutes, speed intervals, ladders that increase intensity as if you are climbing a hill that gets steeper and steeper. You can log lots of time in the saddle and effectively build a base by using a trainer. I highly recommend watching highlights from the Tour de France if you need to boost your enthusiasm.
Wendy Coin lives in a neighborhood that is perfect for hill repeats that don’t require her to be very far from home at any given time. This makes it possible to bail if the weather takes a turn for the worst. Black Mountain offers the same opportunity by using Allen Mountain, Montreat and Ridgecrest, but keep in mind that you don’t have to gain much elevation to find ice on the roads. Be careful out there.
So, enough about me…I would love to hear your ideas and plans for base building and cross training. What works for you may create inspiration for others.