Why Base Training for Cycling is So Important?

Base Training for Cycling

What is Base Training?

Base training for cycling is the most important part of the cycling season when your body learns how to use oxygen as effectively as possible. Base training can be split into 4 periods: Preparation, Base 1, Base 2, Base 3. Each of them focuses on specific training aspects. Base training is necessary to be able to execute more intensive workouts and races.

2. Preparation Period

Right after the transition zone, you are starting preparation for the new season. This is a time of the year when you should be doing all other activities besides cycling. Usually, it takes from 4 to 8 weeks and should be focused on different muscles part of your body, other activities like:

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Climbing
  • Weights
  • Balance, Core
  • Flexibility

It allows you to get back to sports you really like and don’t have time to do during the cycling season as well as work on different muscle groups. Try not to be a focus on “numbers”, enjoy those activities and lets your “brain” rest from the training regime. At this period you should focus on building your strength, flexibility, and oxygen engine for your future activities.

3. Base Training Periods

Base Periods are split into 3 periods: Base 1, Base 2, Base 3.

Every one of them is 3-4 weeks.

Depends on what training system you are using 3 weeks: 2 weeks load, 1-week recovery or 4 weeks: 3 weeks load, 1-week recovery.

The minimum duration of “Base” should be 12 weeks, so 3 x 4 weeks or 4 x 3 weeks.

If you are doing 4 x 3 weeks, you can repeat one of the base periods that you want to improve most.

3.1 Base 1

At this phase you get back to regular cycling workouts after the preparation period, you can put the structure together and ride 3-4 times a week, stay in zones 1-2 and you can add training with a low cadence like 5 x 4 min, cad 60-70. High cadence workouts 4 x 1 min at cad 120+.

Keep your strength workouts but lower the number of training to a maximum 2  times per week and decrease your weights. Low and high cadence training on your bike will help you with bringing “strength” from the gym to pedals.


  • Endurance Zone
  • Strength
  • Cadence

3.2 Base 2

In the “Base 2” period you increase the intensity of your training focusing on the tempo zone and still increasing the overall duration of workouts during a week. It is a good time to work on muscular endurance which is training with low cadence and higher intensity.

If you are about racing a lot of hills during the season, start doing uphill intervals around a 3-5% gradient. Decrease your gym workouts to a maximum of once a week.


  • Tempo Zone
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Uphills

3.3 Base 3

Increase your intensity and focus on the 4th zone which is the sweet spot and threshold zone. The overall duration should still grow through the base 3 periods.

Keep your gym workouts at least once a week or bring it to zero on focus on cycling workouts.

It is a good time to focus on 10s maximum power intervals to increase your finishing abilities.


  • Threshold Zone
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Maximum Power

4. Summary

Recovery, recovery, and recovery is the most important part of every training period and every training plan. Always remember to plan recovery weeks and follow them even if you don’t feel tired.

Don’t underestimate flexibility workouts, remember about stretching after every workout. Core and balance workouts are very important during the preparation period and early base phase. You can implement them in your training plan throughout the whole season.

Use prioritization to build your training plan and increase your TSS number every week, besides recovery weeks. You will be able to decrease it after your base training to “catch freshness” before the first races.



Article by Damian Chlanda, Cyklopedia

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