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Local Recovery Day and Periodization

Tuesday’s ride was a long hard one so yesterday was an easy recovery day, just over 90 minutes near home. It was pleasant and my legs felt better afterwards. The ride is here on Strava

The east foothills across Hill Ave


Periodization is varying your training during the year to emphasize different things. Now I’m entering a phase where I’m increasing my mileage, so it’s a good idea to compensate by cutting back on intensity. On hard biking days I was doing more than one type of intervals, plus some sprints, plus “on-bike strength training“. I’m dropping the intervals for now and just concentrating on aerobic training with more steady riding. But this neglects the larger fast-twitch muscle fibers in my legs, and at my age I can’t afford for them to atrophy. So I’m still doing the sprints and on-bike strength training, both of which target fast-twitch muscles. After I’m done in a couple of months or so with my longer distance challenges, I can change things up again by reducing volume and adding more intensity back in.

I noticed something interesting back when I was running marathons. Leading up to the marathon I’d be heavily focused on increasing the length of my runs in training, and cut way back on everything else. After I’d run the race, I’d recover for a couple of weeks and when I’d resume training I’d emphasize speed instead of distance. Within a few weeks I would always set a personal record in a 10K race. So the several-month period of high volume, lower intensity acted as a good base, on which I could quickly add speed. I didn’t invent any of this, it is a classic periodization concept going back to Arthur Lydiard, but it’s nice to know something works for me personally. I’m hoping the same idea will for me in cycling. This is called base training followed by race-specific training, but I have never build as high of a base as I’ll be doing in the next couple of months.

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