Since starting back on the pedals, I feel like I’ve been at “ground zero” fitness wise and sometimes it is hard to quieten that “mad monkey” in your head that tells you that surely you should be faster than this or you shouldn’t be puffing as hard. However, the path to great fitness levels is not always about smashing it and I’m considering this next block of training, especially on the cycling front as base training.
Base training seems to have a cumulative effect year after year and I’m hoping that the four or so months of base training I did with Liz helps with my efforts this time around. I’m planning a good four to six months of base training, taking into account my recovery from surgery (and that despite my best efforts sometimes Mr T is not going to want to play ball) and hoping that it puts me in a really good position to start training more intensely come the New Year.
Many athletes don’t enjoy base training as the pace is easy to moderate – i.e. highly aerobic. It all seems a bit boring until you begin to reap the benefits. Base training helps develop higher concentrations of aerobic enzymes, which metabolise fats into carbohydrates more effectively delaying the inevitable ‘bonk’ that occurs when carbohydrate stores run out. It also increases mitochrondria concentration (organelles in cells) which promote the utilisation of fat as fuel. In endurance sports, where carbohydrate stores are limited, it makes sense to train the body to preferentially use fat as our stores are unlimited compared to that of carbohydrate.
Base training also helps conditions the joints, muscles and tendons to resist fatigue. I also believe that it helps discipline you mentally as developing endurance on a bicycle is quite time consuming. When I did those couple of 200km efforts in preparation for Three Peaks, it’s amazing what runs through your mind and the peaks and troughs you seem to naturally go through.
Anyway, this past week I achieved five rides (including my comeback teaching classes) and got to test out running for thirty seconds on the spot – harder than it sounds.
Here’s to another good solid week of training. Come back, fitness!