The 12-week British Cycling Off-Season Base Builder plan is ideal for intermediate and advanced riders who are looking to build base fitness.
Who is it suitable for?
The 12-week British Cycling Off-Season Base Builder plan is ideal for intermediate and advanced riders who are looking to build base fitness. Whether your goals for next season are sportives, road races or time trials, this structured plan will help you to lay down the essential foundations for success.
You should already be capable of comfortably completing a 100 km (60 mile) ride and regularly logging five-to-six hours of riding time per week. If you are not currently at this level, you should start by following the Improvers plan.
How much training is involved?
The training weeks are typically broken down into three rides, two mid-week and one at the weekend. You have got four days when you are not riding. One of these will always be a rest day and the others can be used for cross-training, extra rest or can be swapped with riding days to fit the plan around your life.
From Week 5 onwards, there is also the option of a Bonus Session at the weekend for fitter or more advanced riders. However, your priority should always be the quality of the three main sessions and, if doing the Bonus Session impacts on this, don’t try and force it.
Total ride volume each week varies from just under 4 hours for the recovery weeks to a peak of over 9 hours including Bonus Sessions.
Is it all cycling?
No, you have options to fit in cross training sessions. Many riders choose to include some strength training as part of their off-season plan. Make sure that your cross training complements your riding and doesn’t cause too much fatigue, meaning you are unable to complete the rides at the required intensities. Our mobility routine, yoga or Pilates can be good restorative options.
Shouldn’t base training all be long and steady?
Traditionally, for professional riders, the off-season was spent grinding out long and slow rides and avoiding any higher intensity work. The theory behind this was to build a deep endurance base and, although most pros do now include higher intensity efforts in their off-season training, the bulk of it is at a steady pace. However, to get a training effect from long and steady riding, volume has to be big, 30-35 hours a week isn’t unusual.
If you are balancing your cycling with a job and family commitments, logging up this sort of riding time just isn’t do-able. If you’re typically riding for 5-15 hours each week, there is little benefit in doing it all at a steady pace as it won’t stimulate any real training effect. By adding some intensity to your off-season training, you will maximise your returns from your limited training time.
Don’t worry, you’ll still be putting in some long rides but don’t be surprised if there are some higher intensity efforts included in those too.
What equipment do I need?
As an experienced rider you should already have a suitable road bike and cycling clothing.
The two mid-week sessions are designed to be performed on an indoor trainer, however there’s no reason, if you can find suitable road, that they can’t be performed outdoors.
How will the plan be delivered?
This overview of the entire 12-week plan allows you to see how it progresses and the commitment that you’re making. The detailed sessions are delivered on easy to view, downloadable single page documents.