This last weeks training was a welcome rest week. Rest week doesn't mean do nothing take it easy with your feet on the desk easy, no. All it means is that the workout intensity of a rest week is the same as the previous week but the duration is nearly halved. last weeks workouts were on Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun, and 7+ hours - this week just Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun and 4 hours, I bagged an extra day off yipee...
The idea of having an easy week every 3rd week is all to do with recovery and age. The training book - Joe Friels (and Gale Bernhardts) book say that us masters need a recovery week every 3rd week as opposed to every 4th - did I need it? Yes I think I did, I welcomed it as the regularity of the last two weeks workouts plus the increasing intensity coupled with an old decrepit body makes sense of the reasoning behind that rest week as I tired not so much with the intensity of the workouts but rather the duration.
Some of you may be thinking that base training is easy stuff and what's 7 hours?, well 7 hours isn't much for some but for someone who has lost most of his fitness due to sickness, 7 hours is a huge step-up in duration from little to no hours after weeks of illness. As far as easy goes, yes base training is fairly easy compared with what's to come but I'd much rather undertrain at this moment in my training regime rather than run the risk of overtraining, after all in a couple of weeks if I find the work too easy on my body then I can always increase either the intensity or the duration slightly and it's easier to step up the work than step back because when you've reached that point of being overtrained it's already too late; the damage has already occurred meaning possible time (days, weeks?) off the bike to recuperate.
So this last week consisted of just 4 workouts; 2 of base miles, 1 of speed drills and a 5 mile TT. The idea of the 5 mile TT isn't that of competition, it's a test workout. Friel has you work at a constant heart rate that of 10 beats below your proper TT heart rate, in my case 156 bpm. Warm up for 10 minutes hit the lap button and ride at the desired heart rate for 5 miles and record the time it took. In 3 weeks time the same test will be repeated and hopefully a quicker time.
I've mentioned a few times over the last few weeks about not being a 'zone drone', in my research I've come across a few coaches who say that you have to strictly stick to your zones when riding base miles, that going into higher zones is detrimental to your progress but the majority of coaches I have come across have the same opinion as Rick Stern in that you should not become a 'zone drone'. Joe Friel although he doesn't touch much on the question of the need to stay in your zone shows that he is of the don't be a 'zone drone' persuasion by the simple fact that every 3rd week he has you do a test TT that takes you up to zone 4 and now that I'm about to enter my Base 2 period he has me regularly doing intervals in the tempo zone and speed drills that take you into the dizzy heights of zone 5. So apart from the very first 2 weeks of a base period that lasts for 12 weeks, work outside of zone 1 & 2 is regularly performed.
This week I am about to embark on more strenuous workouts with the already mentioned tempo rides and I am really looking forward to it. Base riding doesn't have to be easy, riding an hour or two on the turbo in the upper zone 2 zone does take its toll after a couple of weeks and whilst they aren't the hardest of workouts they do get monotonous. I think it's much easier to ride these workouts on the road where you have regular breaks with junctions, traffic lights and downhills to break up the ride whereas on the turbo there are no downhills, traffic lights or junctions; it's an hour+ of constant 90+ cadence and for the majority of these workouts I've been on the turbo and now that the snow is heading this way I can see myself stuck on the turbo for weeks to come....at least I have my ipod, oh the joy of it...
Totals for the week
60 miles, 4hrs 7min.