Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Typical Base 3 Workout

The accompanying WKO+ chart illustrates a typical Base 3 period training session. There are four parts making up this session - 1) a warm-up, 2) a workout including 5 x 6 minutes at FTP with 2-minute recoveries to boost muscular endurance, 3) a 60-minute steady state workout at just above aerobic threshold (about 75% of FTP), and 4) a cool down.
What sets this session apart from those in Base 1 and Base 2 is the broader focus on more than one ability. In the earlier Base periods training sessions typically include only one ability, either aerobic endurance, force, speed skills, or muscular endurance. The entire session is generally devoted to this ability in early Base. In late Base and especially in the Build period training sessions include two or more abilities. The reason for this change is "specificity." The closer you get to the first A-priority race the more like the race training should become. Exceptional race performances are usually made up of several abilities.
By Build 2, with three to seven weeks remaining until A-1, sessions are, essentially, mini-races with a great deal of variety simulating the demands of the race. This progression towards a broader training focus that simulates racing is the single most important aspect of periodization. If you get this specificity progression right you should be well prepared for your first big race of the year. But start this multi-focus training too soon, or worse yet, reverse the progression from multi-focus to single focus as the season progresses and your performance is likely to be unrewarding.


At April 16, 2008 9:41 AM , Anonymous Rick Kiley said...

Joe, Thank you for an illuminating post. I'm a Training Bible Annual Training Plan user and it's clear when doing the ATP workouts that there's a lot of thought given to development of the Plan. However, the underlying principals, for a given week or day, aren't clearly unstated. I'd love to have the ATP more clearly state what is accomplished by the workout/week.

You're actually providing more value in the ATPs than you're claiming credit for!


At April 17, 2008 11:36 AM , Blogger Tim said...

Joe -

If I want to translate this workout to HR-based, would the 5x6min be in z4 (just below LT) and then the 60min steady state would be in low z3?


At April 20, 2008 7:22 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Tim--Upper zone 4 and 5a for the first part (intervals) and upper half of zone 2 for the second part (steady state).

At April 21, 2008 1:26 PM , Blogger Tim said...

Thanks for the response Joe. I'm currently in Base 1, so I'll tuck this one away for a couple week.

At April 25, 2008 1:12 PM , Blogger jeffst said...


Just looking at this a few weeks after it was posted. I am a user of WKO+ and trainingpeaks and have found them to be very useful tools these past few years. I was interested in your comment "In late Base and especially in the Build period training sessions include two or more abilities."
Other than hard group rides (or training races) a few times a week I do tend to focus on one area, especially if L5 or harder, during my weekly sessions. To be honest I do not recall from reading your book or trainingpeaks seeing workouts in Build periods that focused on more than one Level, say L5 plus work at L4/L6/L7 - just L1-L2 before and after the interval sets and while recovering between them. Am I mis-understanding something on the blog or missed something in the book?


At April 25, 2008 1:26 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Jeff--My books describe 6 abilities: endurance, force, speed skills, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, and power. In the Base period these are usually trained individually. In the Build period two or more are included within a single workout. Since the purpose of training in the Build period is to train specifically for the stresses anticipated in the A-priority races (which may well fall into several different of the above abilities), some of the workouts in this period need to challenge multiple abilities. Fast group rides will certainly provide multiple abilities. In the Build period doing a group ride or two and another BT workout or two which also challenges your ability limiters is a great way to train for a road cyclist. Two to four such workouts per week--depending on your capacity for recovery--will produce excellent fitness in the Build period. The other weekly workouts are primarily focused on only one thing--recovery. The biggest mistake made by many riders is making these recovery rides too hard.

At December 21, 2008 7:07 PM , Blogger Duffy said...

Joe --
I am, and have often been, curious as to the rational for interval length. Allen and Coogan, for example, suggest performing 2x20 minute intervals at 90% of FTP while you seem to suggest 5x6 minute intervals as a means to achieve, I assume, the exact same thing (increase threshold power). In your opinion are 6 minute intervals as / more effective than 20 minute intervals? Why?

At December 21, 2008 7:57 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Hi Duffy--I merely start the athlete with shorter intervals and then progress toward longer ones. I also keep the intervals shorter when the athlete is training hard and building lots of fatigue. The shorter intervals makes it a little easier to get through the session. And it variwes with the sport. I'm likely to go longer with bike intervals at this intensity than with run intervals.

At November 17, 2009 10:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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