Basic Training

I’ve been struggling my way through an excellent book (in French) on cycling recently and have started fine tuning my training a little. Today I went out for a ride to work on my endurance base, or at least that’s my understanding of what the book is telling me. Cycling is an endurance sport, first and foremost, so it is natural I suppose to have to work on this part first as well, building from a solid base. It’s also the way to lose weight, so I’m all over it!

It seems I’m not totally geared up yet for all this 21st century training yet, since I don’t have a heart monitor. I needed to keep my heart rate at around 70% of my max, so there I was, fingers on throat every 15 minutes or so, checking to make sure I didn’t go over. There must be an easier way…

The ride was 3 hours long, which is the minimum time recommended (gulp) and I had a wonderful day for it. Here are some pictures from the road.

Empty Winter Road
Roadside Olive Tree

4 thoughts on “Basic Training

  1. Gerry, check out the Garmin 500s on Wiggle. Just about everyone I race against has one (or an 800). They’ll give you everything you need.

    May I ask what book you’re reading?

    And what are you training for specifically? Usually training plans have a target, or targets, in mind. At least everyone I ride with who has training plans/coaches, all are shooting for goals (like L’Etape, or a big classics-type race like Melbourne Warrnambool) and their training plans are tuned for this.

    Usually when you start, you’ll build base phase, then peak, then move to a foundation, or something like that.

  2. Thanks, Tim. I just bought a bike computer (but naively didn’t get one with a heart monitor), so won’t be going out to get a new one just yet…maybe.

    The book’s name is Guide Pratique du Cycliste, by Guillaume Judas, a former Masters World Champion. It seems to be written for people training for cyclosportives.

    I’m training for l’Etape, but also for the several cyclosportives that lead up to it. I’ve been riding for many years, but never put any thought into training, so it’s all new to me…and lots of fun, I might add.

  3. I’m no expert, but I have read of many techniques for measuring heart rate without feeling for pulse. To build endurance, you want to stay below your lactate threshold (the point when your body stops burning fat and starts grabbing energy out of your muscles). A good way to check this is to check your breathing. If you can carry on a conversation while riding, you’re way below LT. Keep working until you need to take a deep breath after every three or four words. Any harder and you’ve gone too far.

    NOTE: this type of training (reportedly) will only take you so far. Eventually, you’ll need some sprint workouts to build up your anearobic fitness.

    Also, I own a Garmin 500 with HRM and love it.

    • Thanks Steve. I think I should have been clearer in that post. That ride was only one type I’ve got myself doing these days, i.e. working on the base. There are also sprints, hills, anaerobic, near-anaerobic, power training…almost too much to remember! I’m feeling the difference already and I’m very glad I started something like this early in the season.

      About the HR, I also read what you were talking about with the breathing. It does work and I’ve been laying off counting the beats recently. Still, it’s pretty low-tech, so maybe I need to track one of those Garmins down. I love the stats you have on your site and it would save me making a Google Map nearly every ride I do!

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