Well its winter and as an old training partner once said you win races in the winter. So I thought my first Coaches Corner post should be about the importance of endurance training for peak performance when it comes time to put the hammer down in July.
Aerobic endurance is extremely important to any athlete wanting to have consistent performances week in and week out throughout their season. Without that solid base the highs and lows of fitness and race results can be greatly exaggerated. Yes you can get away with that one awesome race without much attention to your base, but what happens when you need that 2nd or 3rd great performance in a season.
A strong endurance base takes years and years to develop its the one area of training that should always be present. And its the easiest area of an athletes training to overlook or even skip. The reason its easy to skip is well cause its easy. Some athletes think if they aren't breathing hard or sweating up a storm they aren't training. The old saying 'no pain no gain” really strikes true with some people. And trust me there is a time that all cyclists and athletes will feel some pain. But the truth is if your “endurance” miles are hard or your sore after you probably are hitting all kinds of different zones and using a lot more than just your aerobic system to train.
Back to winter how the heck do we go out and do LSD miles, as they are often called, when there's six inches of snow on the ground? Option A) sit on your trainer/rollers for hours on end or B) X-train, get out on the snowshoes, xc skis, run, row anything that gets your heart and your lungs working at a steady consistent aerobic pace. My old coach put it best, your heart and lungs don't know what your legs and arms are doing.
There is a muscular component to endurance training, but as long as your on the trainer a couple times a week, its totally OK to keep the brain fresh and get most of your endurance hours down outside any way you can.
There are ways to test your aerobic base, these tests are great to use before beginning to add a lot of intensity into your training program. Remember without that solid base for your intensity to sit on then your intensity may work, or may work for a short peak but it may not be sustainable throughout a full season.
Three keys to a big base,
1 - Lots of miles/hours in YOUR proper endurance zone
2- Mix it up with X-training AKA the original cross fit
3- Test your aerobic endurance system before adding too much intensity to ensure your ready for it