The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…

We wrapped up our 2018 off-season Base Builder Program with Block 6 at the end of April.

Our “in-house” athletes that stuck it out for the full six month program experienced some solid gains in off-bike strength and on-bike power, both on the aerobic end and the anaerobic end. In fact, every single rider saw improvements to the tune of 12-36% at estimated FTP, with a “class average” of 23%. Boom!

You can read the full the run down of our annual off-season Base Builder program by clicking the series of links above. With Spring here and race season is in full effect, what do we do next? With your solid strength and aerobic base established, it’s time to get more race specific and dial your training in with in-season Race Prep training.

 

RACE PREP TRAINING

Through our Base Builder Program we build fitness up. We start at the low end of the energy system chain focused on low-intensity aerobic training combined with technique work on the bike, and the early (lighter) form-focused resistance training in the gym. From here we build our base through gradual progression of intensity through increasing intensity with each successively higher energy system, and gradual increase in resistance training loads.

  1. Aerobic Endurance/Technique, “all day” power (4+ hours)

  2. Aerobic Threshold (AeT), “2 hour” power

  3. Anaerobic Threshold, 32:00-64:00 power

  4. Vo2 Max, 8:00-16:00 power

  5. Anaerobic Power, 1:00-4:00 power

  6. Peak Power, 0:05-0:30 power

Once we reach the top-end on-bike energy system, Peak Power, we also reach peak loads and movement speeds in the gym. This signals the completion of base training, and we’re now ready to get more race specific with our training. Following our Race Prep Programming, we then build fitness outwards towards our goal event(s). From here we take a “reverse periodization” approach to programming by progressively working backwards, back down the energy system chain of intensities (reverse order from Base Build Program).

How far down the energy system chain do we go? It’s event demand dependent…

  1. Anaerobic Power: short criteriums, short track MTB (<45 minutes)

  2. Vo2 Max: cyclocross, longer criteriums, short punchy XC MTB, Enduro MTB, short time trials (30-90 minutes)

  3. Anaerobic Threshold: long time trials, hill climbs, climbing XC MTB, Sprint & Olympic Triathlon, XTERRA, climbing road races (1-3 hours)

  4. Aerobic Threshold: marathon MTB racing, 70.3 Triathlon, long road races, gravel races (3-5 hours)

  5. Aerobic Endurance: ultra-distance events (6+ hours)

Depending on your target race duration and primary energy system demands, we get more specific with the programming by essentially backing out the intensity while simultaneously building the endurance required for longer and longer events as intensity levels decline. Training blocks in Race Prep typically are 2-3 weeks with 3-6 sessions that emphasize the target energy system.

Simultaneously we continue the resistance training within the weekly micro-cycles. However in Race Prep the gym work becomes maintenance based to allow for continued develop of on-bike fitness. However we do not want to drop the off-bike resistance training all together because it gets lost far too quickly. This results in a decrease in muscular activation, muscular balance, and overall movement health.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and be ready for continued off-season strength building for the next season by maintaining your gym work year round!

 

RACE PREP PLANS

As mentioned above, the length of your Race Prep plan is event-demands dependent. Simply put, shorter more powerful events require a shorter Race Prep build (and can be repeated several times for multiple events over a period of several weeks); whereas longer endurance based events more time to back out the intensity and build the endurance is required. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Events UNDER 2 Hours: 3-6 weeks

  • Events between 2-5 Hours: 4-8 weeks

  • Events OVER 5 hours: 8-12 weeks

Keep in mind these are training blocks required for your “peak form” for a top-priority event. Other lower-priority events can (and should) be included along the way within the planning. You can race quite well upon completion of our Base Builder Program, and even more so anywhere within the Race Prep programming. While racing every weekend is not recommended, racing every other or third week can be very effective.

Below are some links to our Mountain Bike line of Race Prep Training Plans. Each provides a look into what three progressions of event duration can look like. Each plan follows a 2-week block format and includes a 2-week taper into the target event:

 

As your target races of your season approach, have your training become more and more race-like: terrain, intensities, climate, and equipment should all be focused on for your best raceday performance.

With an effective Race Prep plan you can make the most of your training time and reach top form for your most important events. Good luck and have fun!

 

Cody Waite, Professional Off-Road Endurance Athlete & Coach
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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 6 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 6 Recap

I made it (along w/ 40 other athletes I’m training in our 2018 S:6 Base Build Program)! 

The sixth and final block of my off-season Base Build has been completed. 24 weeks of progressive building of fitness over the off-season has brought my Base fitness to a solid platform for my 2018 season. Now it’s time to race! Of which, I’ve already done with the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road event last weekend (full recap here). 

You can get the full explanation of Block 6 (and others) in previous posts. The gist is that we bring the energy system chain to a peak, with our heaviest weight lifting attempts and peak-power “sprinting” intervals on the bike. The concept with our Base Build Program is to start on the low-end of the energy system spectrum with basic aerobic & skill development. From here, each block takes the athlete through progressively higher energy systems as fitness builds: Aerobic Threshold, Anaerobic Threshold, Vo2 Max, Anaerobic Power, and finally Peak Power. Along the way we build off-bike strength & power in the gym, and endurance with longer outdoor rides within the week. Read about it all here.

GYM SESSIONS

After the first strength peak in Block 3, in Block 4 we reduced the weight lifting volume (number reps) significantly to allow for more stability and plyometric work. A second low-volume strength build was included in the routine and I was pleased to continue to make strength gains despite the slight change of focus.  

I was able to increase both my max Squat & Deadlift by about 10% over January maxes. Reaching 200 lbs. (from 185) and 225 lbs. (from 205), respectively. These both matched my previous all-time PRs in the lifts from 2015. Pretty stoked. Also eager to maintain this strength through the race season, so I can continue to improve my strength in 2019. Overall, I’m feeling strong & healthy going into my racing season. 

STRUCTURED RIDES

On the bike it was Sprint time! Now those that know me, know that I can’t sprint out of a wet paper bag. Never have, and never really will. A clear weakness! So while sprint training is not something I enjoy (or do much of), I do like the efforts for a few weeks each season this time of year to at least give it a go. 

With my improved strength off the bike, and a little technique work, I did see some minor improvements in my top-end power….

    • Max 0:10 power of 795w (outdoors)

    • Max 0:05 power of 935w (outdoors)

    • Peak “max” power of 1373w (indoors)

I’m not planning to win any sprints any time soon, but rather increase my “starting point” of power production on the bike. The higher I can get it, while maintaining a low Fatigue Rate, the faster I get across all energy system power outputs. This was seen in improvements in my recent power test, including a PR 1:00 power (more on that below). 

ENDURANCE RIDES

I was able to hit some long rides during this block, but due to weather and traveling a bit, they were more of an “every other week” kinda thing. I did get some bigger ones in to the tune of 6+ hours twice and 5 hours twice over the block. Everything else was more in the 3-4 hour range. I feel that with my endurance background I don’t need to do a lot of long rides (especially like I did in my younger days). I can now rely on that lifetime base and know that with just a few long rides I can be ready for most racing endeavors under 4 hours. 

FINAL TEST OF BASE BUILD

The last week of the program, week 24, was a lighter week of recovery and testing. Results were promising and indicated proper adaptation to training loads….

• 20:00 Aerobic Threshold Power @ 150 bpm : PR! This was unexpected, confirms I’m adapting positively to training load.   

  • Test #1, November:  238w
  • Test #2, January: 256w
  • Test #3, March: 264w
  • Test #4, May: 281w
  • (Recent “Best” from Summer 2015:  274w)

• 1:00 Max Power : ALSO a PR!  This one I can believe a bit more. Peak strength & Peak Power training will do this for sure

  • Test #1, November: 499w
  • Test #2, January: 505w
  • Test #3, March: 526w
  • Test #4, May: 561w
  • (Summer 2015:  529w)

• 2:00 Max Power : Not a PR, but getting there. Looking for one at the end of June!

  • Test #1, November: 380w
  • Test #2, January: 403w
  • Test #3, March: 438w
  • Test #4, May: 449w
  • (Summer 2015:  454w)

• 4:00 Max Power : Not a PR, but continued improvement. Looking for one at the end of June!

  • Test #1, November: 324w
  • Test #2, January: 340w
  • Test #3, March: 364w
  • Test #4, May: 377w
  • (Summer 2015:  382w)

• Fatigue Rate : Up a bit. Not surprised as the focus on training was the top-end, trying to reach a high point of power

  • Test #1, November: 8.7%
  • Test #2, January: 8.17%
  • Test #3, March: 7.84%
  • Test #4, May: 8.2%
  • (Summer 2015:  6.9%)

• This calculates an FTP of…

  • Test #1, November: 247w (3.70 w/kg)
  • Test #2, January: 263w (3.89 w/kg)
  • Test #3, March: 292w (4.34 w/kg)
  • Test #4, May: 292w (4.43 w/kg*)    *lost 3 pounds 
  • (Summer 2015:  308w (4.71 w/kg))

All power numbers were up across all four test intervals, but estimated FTP remains the same. This is due to the increased Fatigue Rate; from a substantially increased power at 1:00, and lesser so increased power at 2:00 & 4:00. (ie. starting out strong, then slowing down as durations increase). Not surprised as this last block of training was focused on maximizing the high-end powers. As I enter my Race Prep phase of training for my target: Leadville 100, my peak strength & power will inevitably decline as my endurance (fatigue resistance) will increase. This in turn will lead to a reduction in Fatigue Rate along with an improvement in estimated FTP.

Read full testing protocol info here.

CONCLUSION

Base Build is complete & successful in returning me to some solid fitness and form to start off my Race Prep block for the year. Fitness appears to be just behind a recent peak in August 2015… and it is only May!!

From here, I will test my fitness with a couple of early season races in the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, AZ & USAC Marathon National Championships in Arkadelphia, AR. I’m feeling pretty fit, so these races should make for great tests. Then from there, it will time to get focused on a progressive Leadville 100 Race Prep Build. Along the way I will tackle several more races of the XC & Marathon variety as part of my build up for an August Peak. More details to come on my Race Prep plans.

Looking forward to racing  and continuing to build my fitness for 2018! Thanks for following along.

 

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Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Looking for help with your endurance sport training? Check out S:6’s Training Plans, Team Programs, and  Personal Coaching options created to fit your needs and budget.

 

 Shop Rudy Project for the best helmets & eyewear for the most demanding athletes. Use code: s6racing at checkout and receive 50-62% discount on all their gear.

 

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 5 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 5 Recap

  • April 5, 2018
  • Blog

The month of March was Block 5 of my 6-block Base Builder training. This consisted of continued strength & stability training along with progressions in plyometric/power development off the bike in the gym, training the Anaerobic Power energy system in the S:6 Wahoo Kickr Trainer Studio, and extending my 1-2x weekly endurance rides outside. Fitness is continuing to build and with just about 4 weeks now remaining until my 2018 race season kicks off in earnest, I’m feeling great and ready for Spring!

Read the full run-down of Block 5 programming HERE

Strength Training

I’m getting stronger for sure. I’ve been maintaining the squat & deadlift focus for the “strength sets”, similar to the first 12 weeks of training, but now with fewer overall reps while achieving more of those reps at the higher loads. What was once heavy is becoming more repeatable as the heavier loads are requiring less effort as more of my muscle fibers get in on the action.

The goal with resistance training for endurance athletes is not to gain moremuscle, but rather train muscles we have to do more work!

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 5

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 5

  • March 4, 2018
  • Blog

Spring is on the horizon and we’re 2/3 complete with our Off-Season Base Build Program with the final 1/3 coming up! I’m not going to lie, the last 8 weeks have been challenging for our 45 in-house athletes training with us Monday-Thursdsay each week. The middle third of our program is perhaps the most challenging on the bike with Anaerobic Threshold intervals (block 3) and even more so the Vo2 Max intervals twice weekly (block 4). Combine that with continued resistance training on Mondays and Wednesdays and you can see how the training load is reaching a peak. See exactly how we structured our Vo2 Max intervals on the bike in our previous post in this series: Block 4.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Our upcoming Block 5 makes up weeks 17-20 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about each previous block from links at top.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

  • February 3, 2018
  • Blog

It’s February and we’re now halfway through our Off-Season Base Build Program. Our local, in-house program of 45 Denver-based athletes are now beginning to feel the fitness gains! We’ve met 4 days a week, most weeks, for the last 12 weeks for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. A solid base of aerobic and strength training has been established in the first half of the program. We’re now prepared to build off the basic fitness and add some appropriate amounts of higher intensity work in the form of faster more powerful movements in the gym (plyometrics) as well as shorter and more powerful intervals on the bike in the sound half of the program.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Block 4 makes up weeks 13-16 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about previous blocks from links at top.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

  • January 15, 2018
  • Blog

Happy New Year! January brings block 3 of our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Upon conclusion of Block 2 we took a little recovery time through the New Year holiday window and returned on January 2nd for our second of 4 testing sessions within our 6-month program. Our first test was at the end of October right before we kicked off official training; test two was 8 weeks later right after the new year, tests 3 and 4 will follow in 8-week cycles at the 2/3 point of the program and conclusion of the program. We prefer testing every 8-weeks as this provides enough time for fitness to evolve and provides a carrot of sorts to keep your training consistent so you make the improvements you’re looking for.

With test results in-hand we can check progress, reset training zones, keep motivation high, and get ready for further improvements over the next blocks of training.

Block 3 builds upon Blocks 1 & 2 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 2 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 2 Recap

  • January 8, 2018
  • Blog

The second block of my off-season Base Build consumed the month of December. As we all know, the window of time between Thanksgiving and New Years is always a challenge. End of year business deadlines, family time, social activities, training time, and weather are all pieces in the “Life Puzzle” that must be assembled in this month of the year. I’m pleased to report that most of my pieces were large and few in numbers, so my puzzle went together with relative ease and success.

On the training front, I’m continuing to make some solid progress and I’m loving every minute of it.

Strength Training

As mentioned before, in my Block 1 Recap, Strength Training is going to be large part of my annual training program throughout my entire season. I’m turning 40 this year and I can really feel the effects of not strength training compared to the overall health and “feeling good” that comes with strength training. I don’t have any evidence to back it up, but I truly believe there are positive chemical/hormonal effects in the body when you lift heavy weights. I feel this is particularly valuable to take advantage of as we age. Kind of an “anti-aging” type thing: keep the muscles and hormones firing on all cylinders and we resist the degradation and slow the effects of getting older.

Use It or Lose It!

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 2

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 2

  • December 14, 2017
  • Blog

It’s December now and we’re digging into our second of six blocks that make up our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Hopefully a routine has been established in the first month of training, and you’re beginning to feel some level of fitness returning after your end of last season break. You can get the full rundown in the first post of the Series: Off-Season Base Training: Primer, and get caught up through previous posts in the Series Links above.

Block 2 builds upon Block 1 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

In my previous post I laid out the general weekly schedule that is built around three types of sessions: gym sessions, structured trainer sessions, and endurance sessions. We’ll continue to follow this scheme into block 2 and break down the subtle progressions in each of the three domains. Block 2 makes up weeks 5-8 in the 24-weeks of the Base Build Program.

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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 1 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 1 Recap

  • December 12, 2017
  • Blog

My off season training began the first week of November with a my pre-season testing to identify baselines and set accurate zones. Then followed that up with a week long trip to Arizona for the first of three Off-Season Training Camps. This first camp was more of a Training Camp Lite, as my fitness wasn’t in place for any real long rides or heavy training. Rather the goal was to return to consistent daily riding to find my rhythm, clear my mind, and get focused on training for the year ahead. I hit up 2-3 hours each day of riding for the sake of riding and having fun. No intervals, no thresholds to keep an eye on…just ride and enjoy!

Upon my return home I was ready to get to work with Block 1 of our Sessions:6 Off-Season Base Build Training Program.

You can read more about what we do in Block 1 in a previous post HERE.

My off-season training blocks are set up in the common 3-1 pattern of three weeks building fitness (ie. fatigue) followed by a week to de-load a bit to recover and absorb the training (ie. regain freshness). Off-Season Program Block 1 is very low intensity and focuses on adapting to strength training and gaining an aerobic base on the bike.

I’m a fan of routine. With a busy work, family and training schedule, developing a weekly schedule to follow helps me plan and stay consistent. I am also fortunate enough to be able to set up my work schedule as needed and get in more training time during the week than most folks. For this reason my weekly schedule varies slightly from those that we coach and train.

Here’s my typical training week* through the Off-Season:

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 1

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 1

  • November 11, 2017
  • Blog

We offer a 24-week Off-Season Base Build Program to our local athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

The following blog series will share some specifics of what each block of training is made up of and how we progress through our 6-month long base build to reach serious fitness by Spring and ready to dive into more specific Race Prep training for your goal events. The same progression occurs in our truncated 12-week version of the plan; however progression occurs at a much faster pace. This plan is ideal for the more experienced athletes with years of base in their legs or for those that don’t have the time or patience to spend 6 months building a killer base of fitness for the upcoming season.

The first of six blocks comprising our Base Building Program focuses on returning to structured training, finding your rhythm, and adapting to the movements.

There are three basic categories of sessions that make up our regular training week:

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