Include some longer rides in your mid-season program to maintain your aerobic base for late-season success.
Typically off-season and early season training includes plenty of longer endurance based riding in most people’s programs as they begin to build up for the upcoming race season. Then once fully immersed in the race season, the longer endurance based sessions often get put on the back burner as racers focus on shorter high intensity training sessions. As a result your aerobic endurance gradually erodes as your race season progresses. Over the course of a long race season you may find yourself lacking the endurance needed for your end-of-season races. To prevent this loss of endurance from occurring, be sure to include some longer aerobic sessions within your race season training program.
A favorite strategy of mine is to find a weekend where you can get away for 2-3 back to back long rides.
This mini-block of endurance riding can really give you a boost to help maintain, or even improve, your endurance and strength on the bike. Here’s how to implement…
- This works best the week after a race, or toward the end of a ‘recovery week’. Take the first several days of the week to recover and rest from your race effort.
- Map out routes to ride. It works best if the ride is different from your regular riding routes.
- Think BIG! The idea is to really challenge yourself with distance and elevation gain, two or even three days in a row.
- Try planning an ‘overnighter’ where you ride to a far away destination town, stay the night in a hotel, and ride home the next day. This works with a small backpack for extra clothes (or have some meet you at your destination).
- Gather some friends to ride with (for safety and enjoyment).
- Enjoy the ride! With no intervals or specific objectives, other than getting from point A to point B and back again, you can simply ride. Ride a comfortable pace all day just cruise.
Implementing these mini-blocks of big riding in the middle of your race season will help preserve your aerobic endurance as well as give you something fun to look forward to other than racing. If your racing season is really long, you should consider implementing a dedicated endurance training block after a mid-season break (see previous post) to ensure you rebuild your base for the second half of your season.
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