Tuesday, December 16, 2014

You Know, It's Not All About The Base

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me "training is like a pyramid...you must build a big solid base..."  Hell, I wish I had a dollar for every time I said it.  But 16 years into my endurance "experience" and I am quite confident that I can flip that analogy upside down.  Literally.

There is no denying one needs a sufficient base to build the engine on.  But like I said...I'm 16 years into this gig, with never a break longer than maybe a week.  If it's base...I've got it.  So how does one approach the off season?  My old school of thought was...well, back to base training.  Build the miles on the run...build time in the saddle on the bike.  More is better and a shit-ton is best.  But why?  What good will a 3 hour winter ride in my garage at a modest effort level do me?  Besides hate my bike?  So a few winters ago I got on board the #WorkWorks approach.  Intervals.  Grueling, bloody intervals.  Increase the power.  Don't count the time...make your time count.  Get WAY out of your comfort zone.  Make it hurt.  And your legs will (someday) thank you.  

Now...once you emerge from the winter garage with new-found power...put that power to the test on 3 hour rides that you used to do in your garage.  See the difference?  I did.  My winter schedule has looked at lot like this:

Monday: Morning yoga & 40 lb ruck (morning walk with the dog), evening workout
Tuesday: Morning workout & easy run, evening bike intervals (longer session)
Wednesday: Morning workout & 40 lb ruck, afternoon quality VO2 max run session
Thursday:  Morning hike, afternoon bike intervals (shorter sessions)
Friday: Morning 40lb ruck workout, afternoon easy run
Saturday: Brick (longer ride with hard intervals) and run, workout
Sunday: Long run, climbing session  
I usually try to work in a complete rest day every 10-14 days.  Notice...no swimming right now.  More on that later...

The winter in Northern Illinois has been...weird.  It's December 16th, and I still haven't had to run in pants/tights yet.