You’ve opened Christmas presents, eaten tons of holiday food, and hopefully you were kicking back enjoying the holidays. It’s a New Year which means a brand new season so now what?
I’m going to touch on a couple of things: 1) what I believe your focus should be on in the early months 2) planning your season.
Depending on when your A race is; will depend on how long you have to build a strong foundational base. Yes I know, I know, you’ve been racing for a number of years so your base is good and has carried over. While there is some truth in that, some fitness is lost depending on how long of an “off season” you’ve taken. But look at any professional athlete in the endurance realm, they all go through a ‘base’ period again. Call me old school, but let’s talk about why should you log all of those long easy miles.
Besides the obvious, being able to socialize and have fun with friends, there is a big scientific backing to ‘building an aerobic base.’ Here is the scientific backing which I will then explain in simple terms. It improves mitochondrial size and function (Case, 2018). The larger the mitochondrial size the more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essentially chemical energy.
Cliffs notes: Improving the size of this structure in your cells will allow you to produce more energy and use it more efficiently, plus who doesn’t like a nice coffee ride!
I’ve always favored easy heavy bike miles during the off season (and during) and for a couple of key reasons. Running a lot rarely transfers over to you being a better cyclist but cycling more transfers over to being a stronger runner. The other big reason is it’s minimal impact on your body.
Now let’s talk about topic 2: Planning your season.
You should always look at the bigger picture and some athletes tend to struggle with this. While I (personally) only like to have one A race there is nothing wrong with having two as long they are spread out far enough. Once you’ve targeted those one or two A races you can then look at how much time you (and your coach) can dedicate to your base period. Then you can plug in B and C races which you can use to either sharpen you up and/or just dust off the triathlon logistics.
If you do have two A races, treat it like a whole different season. Let your body recover for a bit after your first A race and then guess what…..start another build with another, but shorter, base period.
Reference: Diagnosis – How many base miles do you really need? Chris Case 1/2/2018 http://www.velonews.com/2018/01/training-center/diagnosis-many-base-miles-really-need_454048