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March is here and your first race may be just around the corner, if you haven’t already toed the line. This is the time of year when intensity must inevitably increase as part of your preparation for the demands of racing. Hard, yet focused, training sessions characterize the build phase of training and mark the end of the base phase.
The well prepared cyclist will have completed at least eight weeks of base training and a few weeks of the build phase before entering the first race of the season. The endurance fitness achieved within the base training phase can be maintained quite easily with intensity and a few well-timed endurance workouts.
You can also consider combining structured intervals to target a specific limiter within a longer ride to not only adapt to race intensity but to also maintain endurance. By reducing total volume, as compared to the base phase, intensity can increase along with the frequency of workouts.
By now you can see it takes quite a bit of planning, well ahead of your important event, if you plan to use a classic periodization model to create peak fitness. The build phase will usually last 6-12 weeks and gradually increase the quantity of race intensity workouts. Consider paying particular attention to your personal limiters as they relate to the most important events on your calendar.
I’ve included a few example build phase workouts below. You should note that each targets a different energy system. What is your limiter, and which workouts will help you prepare for your important event?
These are characterized as longer steady state efforts. This is an intensity which can be maintained for 30 or more minutes. An example includes two 20-minute efforts at your 60-minute time trial pace, with a 5 minute recovery between intervals.
Velocity at VO2max (vVO2max)The watts you can hold at VO2max is approximately the intensity of a 5-6 minute time trial. An example workout includes 4 x 2 minutes at your 6-minute time trial pace with 2-minute recoveries.
Anaerobic Endurance (AE)
The ability to process lactate is a key determinant in road racing. These types of workouts contain short, hard efforts with even shorter recovery periods. Consider doing five sets of intervals which alternate between 40 seconds at 100-percent intensity, with only 20-second recoveries in between.
Power is force plus speed and is an important ability to train for sprinting and short climbs. An example power workout includes 5 x 10 second sprints on a 3- to 5-percent grade, with 3-minute recoveries.
Speed (or Skills)
Efficiency of movement (development of neuromuscular pathways) for short periods of time is essential for racing. Speed workouts include high cadence rides, leg speed drills, one-legged drills and short maximum sprints with high cadence.
Here is a good example of a professional workout, in this case by Silence Lotto Professional Bert Roesems.
Roesems has provided an incredibly good example of a build period workout he recently completed at a training camp in Spain.
Roesems’ first big challenge of the year was Saturday’s Het Volk Classic. After that, he’s hoping to make the team’s Paris-Roubaix squad. What is interesting about Roesems is that he fractured his pelvic and pubic bones in a crash in the 2007 Vuelta a España. He is, therefore, still trying to build his strength and cycling economy back to where it was a year ago.
Roesems’ training ride on February 6th can be viewed and downloaded here. This was a lengthy 77-mile ride which combined several types of intervals designed to prepare him for the upcoming European spring classics.
Bert’s workout progression is below and keep in mind he weighs 178lbs and can maintain a minimum of 350watts for an hour.
Total ride time 4:40 with four sets of intervals including:
For an interview with Bert Roesems and more click here.
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