Benefits of Base Training for Cyclists

What is Base Training?

With the expression ‘Base Training’ it is intended a training period, executed at the beginning of a periodized plan, where sessions are at a moderate intensity with an heart rates below 75% of the maximal one.

Riding at this pace you are not overextending yourself, meaning that you can get up the next morning feeling great and fully recovered from the previous day. In short, cycling  at  ‘base training intensities’ you will be able to complete a large volume of training. In fact, base training done correctly will leave you feeling like you have made an effort that is well within your limits!

 

However, be careful, this does not mean that you are not training!

The advantages of Base Training

As a matter of fact, Base Training has numerous advantages:

  • it stimulates your slow twitch muscle fibers and in turn makes them much more efficient enabling them to contract using less and less oxygen from the blood;
  • it teaches your body to conserve its glycogen stores within the muscles and vital organs;
  • base training trains your body to burn its larger stores of fat in preference to muscle glycogen. This can help you lose a considerable amount of weight that you may have gained during those months spent without training;
  • by training consistently for at least a month in this zone, it is likely that you will be able to extend your time to glycogen depletion;
  • blood vessels become larger and more flexible making it easier for the blood to flow;
  • to a certain extent, it also improves the angiogenesis (number and complexity of vascular capillaries transporting oxygen rich blood) and mitochondrial biogenesis within the muscles (number of energy producing mitochondria cells), resulting in a more efficient respiratory and muscular systems; thus allowing you to produce more power for the same level of work rate . However, it has to be noticed that greater results on both angiogenesis and mitochondrial biogenesis can be furtherly achieved by training at higher intensities.

All of the above mentioned helps build your economy on the bike so that come the racing season you are able to ride for long distances with comparative ease.