The difference between build and base periods

Sam Hodges cycling tr

With my ‘winter’ base training finished it’s time to start building race fitness – the build period.

The build period typically starts about 12 weeks before your target event. I want to hit my first fitness peak of the season in early March, so my build period starts today (7th Jan).

During the base period my focus was on building general aerobic fitness and muscular endurance.

Workouts during the base period focused on duration. Completing lots of long rides at lower intensities was a key focus to build up a solid aerobic base.

This approach during the base period would be the same for most cyclists regardless of discipline (time trialists / crit specialists / road racers etc.)

In contrast, workouts during the build period become much more like the efforts we’d expect to see in our respective events.

If you tend to race on the road and short circuits like I do, this means a shift towards higher intensity training sessions that mimic the demands of these races.

An Ironman triathlete on the other hand will continue to focus on longer aerobic efforts during their build phase as this is the intensity they will expect to race at.

The key for a successful build period is to perform workouts that mimic the demands of your target event.

My build period will see me spending significant amounts of my training time at high intensity power zones above my functional threshold. Lots of Zone 5 / Vo2 max / anaerobic work. Lots of hurt.

To plan my workouts for the build period, I’ll begin by analysing key races from last season, and structuring my training intervals to mimic those race efforts. Doing this will prepare me as well as possible for race days in 2019.

Next I’ll share how I analyse previous races to build workouts from them.

Have a great week.