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I Won a Mr. Potato Head

  • November 1, 2018
  • Blog

My Base Builder Block 1 Recap

September marked the end of my race season and the beginning of my off-season. Following the principle of “no structured bike training”, I rode for fun and without rules. I made a concerted effort to connect for rides with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and branch out to different trails such as Staunton State Park near Bailey and Johnny Park near Lyons.

Cody and I coached the Green Mountain Composite HS Mtn Bike Team which meant I was on my bike with the kids a few times per week. If I felt like doing the intervals with the kids, I did; if I didn’t feel like doing the intervals, I didn’t. I could focus on the student athletes, because I didn’t need to worry about my own training. We had so much fun traveling across the state in September and October for the NICA league races, culminating in a cram-packed weekend of excitement in Durango for the State Championships.

The 2019 Base Builder Program officially began in October, and I was ready for some structure again. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I spent 75 minutes with the noon class in our Wahoo Kickr studio at our Lakewood facility, and I’d stay for another 40 minute bonus session. The first block of training focused on ILTs (Isolated Leg Training) and Aerobic Threshold intervals, a nice way to ease into structured training again. And, I continued to ride outside for fun when the Fall weather cooperated.

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2019 Base Builder: Block 2

  • October 29, 2018
  • Blog

With Block 1 in the books, we’re ready to progress into Block 2. As a quick recap, Block 1 on the bike focused on developing/refining pedaling skill through cadence drills, single-leg pedaling under varying loads, and training the Aerobic energy system with Aerobic Threshold intervals on the trainer and basic zone 2 rides outdoors. Block 1 in the gym consisted of learning the specific strength movements, working through any soreness, and cultivating basic strength to get things started. Get the full scoop in the previous post of this series: 2019 Base Builder: Block 1.

First we Recover.

Upon completion of Block 1, and between every block of our Base Builder program, we insert a recovery week. Our typical Base Builder structure is 3 weeks of training, 1 week of recovery. However this varies with the duration of the Base Builder Program you’re following (we have 12, 18 & 24 Base Builder Training Plan options). In-house, the pattern can vary slightly as we navigate the holiday season from November through New Years.

Recovery Weeks can take on different meanings for different athletes, and different phases of training. In general, recovery weeks are intended to allow for some form of rejuvenation. This can be in the form of fewer training days, easier training sessions, and more days off (lowered volume & intensity). For other athletes it may mean keeping the training consistency the same, while lowering the intensity of the training (maintain volume, lower intensity). For the more experienced athlete, a recovery week could consist of more riding, with all of it done at very low intensity (high volume). This variation is dependent on the overall training load and state of fitness, form, and fatigue an athlete is in. Bottom line, take rest if you need it, add miles in if you want it, but definitely keep the intensity low and be sure you’re eager to resume training when the new block begins.

Now Onward to Block 2!

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2019 Base Builder: Block 1

  • September 28, 2018
  • Blog

We covered the basic structure of our Base Builder Program in our LAST POST. Now that we have that out of the way, we can dig deeper into the specifics of Block 1…

Block 1: On-Bike

Three Objectives:

  1. Testing to Identify Baselines
  2. Develop or Improve Pedaling Skills
    • High Cadence Spin-Ups
    • Isolated Leg Training
    • Steady Spins
  3. Basic Aerobic Development
    • Aerobic Intervals (to Aerobic Threshold)
    • Aerobic Endurance

1. Testing

As we begin our Base Build for the new season, most of us are coming off a (hopefully) brief period of little or no training following the conclusion of their race season. Some fitness loss is expected, and appropriate, at this time of the year. Testing as we get started is key to set a benchmark from where you are starting fitness-wise, and to reset your training zones to likely lower levels from your in-season (or end of last Base Builder season) highs.

Normal “loss of fitness” is around 10% for a 2-3 week transition between competitive season and Base Builder Season. Perhaps slightly less at lower intensities (say Aerobic Threshold, our 20:00 AeT Test); and maybe slightly more at higher intensities (say our 1-4 minute Anaerobic Power testing durations). For an athlete using an FTP based training zone calculator an example could be someone with a 300w FTP might see a reduction to 270w FTP when beginning their Base Build.

There are several different ways to test your aerobic cycling fitness. Here is a previous post that covers our Testing Protocol that we prefer. If you already have a testing protocol that you prefer (and have historical data) you can certainly use it. Our test focus on two ends of the fitness spectrum: Aerobic Power & Anaerobic Power. From here we can calculate a rate of fatigue between the two, as well as an FTP if you prefer to be FTP based with your training. Included in the Base Builder Plan is a Training Zone Calculator that will collect your testing data and spit out the corresponding training zones based off your aerobic & anaerobic fitness and rate of fatigue.

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2018/19 Base Builder Trainer Series

Over the last 14 years we have formulated, tweaked, and perfected our off-season Base Builder Trainer Series to make this years 15th Annual Base Builder Trainer Series the most effective off-season programming to date!

Building your Aerobic Base on the bike through the Fall & Winter months is critical to Spring & Summer racing success. Gone is the old-school theory of long, easy miles as the only way to build your aerobic base on the bike. Long easy miles can be effective; however the time commitment and ability to put in those miles with limited daylight hours and less than ideal winter weather, long slow distance is rarely the most effective strategy. By replacing those long easy miles, with shorter, more focused, highly structured workouts mid-week, combined with a longer weekend ride(s) you can maximize your aerobic base building progression in the least amount of time (and workable around just about any family, school, work, and life schedule).

Our 24-week Base Builder Program is built around six 3-week training blocks (with a recovery week between), with each block focusing on a progressively higher intensity energy system:

  • Aerobic Threshold & Skill – HR zone 2: 2-4 hour power
  • Aerobic Strength – HR zone 3: 1-2 hour power
  • Anaerobic Threshold – HR zone 4: 30-60 minute power
  • Vo2 Max – 8-16 minute power
  • Anaerobic Power – 1-4 minute power
  • Peak Power – 0:05-0:30 second power

This progressive build of power through ascending energy systems allows for highly effective adaptation to each energy system and subsequently establishes a strong base of aerobic fitness upon the conclusion of the off-season program. Targeting the specific HR and/or power numbers as structured intervals within each block allows for maximum control of the workload that is designed to increase with the adaptation. Upon completion of the Base Builder Program a rider has trained every energy system in systematic order and now ready to take on their event-specific Race Preparation training program as they head into the Spring & Summer competitive-season.

Get the full run-down of our Base Builder Program.

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LT100 Build: First Half…

  • June 12, 2018
  • Blog

After a week off of training & racing in early May, I was refreshed and ready to hit it hard with a late-Spring training block as part of my 2018 Leadville 100 MTB build up. My previous post, LT100 Race Prep Plan, laid out all the details of the complete build-up to the August event following a customized version of our Ultra-Marathon MTB Race Prep Stock Plan.

The last four weeks have been focused purely on training.

Meaning, no racing over the last month until just this last weekend (June 9th) with the GoPro Vail Mountain Games XC race. This nice block of time has allowed me to focus on a re-build of sorts, building up some solid volume on the bike with longer outdoor rides while backing out the intensity in two week mini-blocks of training.

In the off-season, within our 24-Week Base Builder Program, we train in the more commonly found 4-week blocks: with 3 weeks of focused energy system training and 1 week of recovery/easy endurance. In our  Race Prep Phase we condense the training blocks into two-week mini-blocks of focused energy system work combined with increasing endurance volume.

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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

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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

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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

  • 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

  • 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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