One of the more memorable presentations from a Coaches conference I attended in 2010 was on “Myths”.

The myth that caught my attention was the idea that there was another way of building base on the bike other than “hours and hours of long, slow” bike rides (a.k.a. “LSD”). There is more evidence that the judicious use of high intensity workouts would give the same overall physiological, muscle adaptation and VO2 Max improvements as the tried and true long slow aerobic base ride.

While we are luckier than most in regards to weather here in Northern California, our outdoor time is still limited at this time of the year, and it seems that if anything could give us the same conditioning in significantly less time would be of interest. Of course you should not interpret this to mean “ride shorter distances at a faster pace”. The high intensity efforts that are called for in this theory are very HIGH – all out efforts – usually 5 minutes or less and should be approached with a certain amount of caution. Also, if you try to attempt a Half Ironman or Ironman distance event with just a few weeks of wind sprints, or worse yet just the Beer Mile as your base, you will be asking for a certain amount of trouble including injury.

There is still research to be done in this field to understand all of the implications, but there seems to be enough evidence in favor of adding these workouts in to your routine especially if time, weather and other factors are conspiring against you in terms of finding time to put in the traditional base work.

That said, if you’re curious what we recommend for this type of training, follow us on Twitter and Facebook; and contact Kain Performance for more information about Winter Training and Base Building Plans.

Coach John Magee

Related links: regarding high-intensity cycling more on base building, including a ratio of high and low intensity