Not sure when to start base training? You can use your goals, discipline, and experience with structured training to guide the start of your season and decide the best time to start base training.

When Should I Start Base Training?

For most athletes, base training is the best place to start a new season of training. With weekly workouts that build foundational fitness, muscular endurance, and essential power capabilities, the base phase has everything you need to begin working towards your goals. With Plan Builder, getting started with Base training is simple. Plan Builder automatically kicks your training off with a base phase when you build a season-long custom training plan. All you really need to do to get your next season off the ground is choose a start date. If you’re unsure when to start base training, your goals, events, and experience with structured training can help you find the best time to start base training for you.

Planning Around a Goal or Event

If you’re training for an event, you’ll want to begin base training at least twenty-eight weeks before your event. Twenty-eight weeks gives you just enough time to complete an entire training progression with a Base I and Base II phase, a Build phase, and a Specialty phase. Anything less than twenty-eight weeks, and Plan Builder will have to cut out training weeks from some of these training phases. While this is by no means detrimental to reaching your goals, you will be better positioned to reach your goals when you complete all of these training phases. So, if you’re focused on one very important event this year we recommend that you start base training between twenty-eight and thirty weeks before this priority event. While an extra two or three weeks isn’t necessary to complete a full training progression, it can give you a bit of a buffer if you need to take time off during the training season.

What if I don’t have an event?

If you’re training to build general fitness or reach a specific training goal you probably won’t need to be as rigid with the start date of your plan. Plan on beginning base training between twenty-four and twenty-eight weeks before you’d like to reach your training goal. For example, if your goal is to complete a century by the end of the outdoor riding season, and you do most of your riding in the spring, then you should plan on starting base training between twenty and twenty-four weeks before your outdoor riding season begins. The same goes for building general fitness. If you’re training to build fitness for the outdoor season you should plan on starting your base training between sixteen and twenty weeks before your outdoor riding season. The training before your season will prepare you for all the challenges of riding outdoors while the remaining workouts in your training plan will help keep your fitness sharp during your months of riding outside.

How to Plan for Multiple Priority Events

The timing of your base training tends to get a bit more complex when you’re training for multiple priority events. When you’re training for multiple priority events you’ll either need to extend your season or lower the priority of one of your events to B level priority rather than A level priority. For example, if you have two priority events that are eight weeks apart, you will want to begin base training twenty-eight weeks before your first priority event. After peaking for your first priority event, you’ll jump back into another eight-week block of Specialty. This will bring you back to peak fitness for your second-priority event. Peaking for two events while maintaining a full training progression, will essentially extend your season of structured training. If you don’t want to extend your season past twenty-eight weeks then you might want to shift the first event on your Calendar to a lower priority event and begin base training twenty-eight weeks before the second priority event.

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If you have two priority events within six weeks of each other you’ll have to prioritize one of the events over the other. You can’t peak your fitness twice within this time frame, so you’ll have to decide which event you’d like to peak for. When you decide which event you’d like to peak for, you should begin your training plan twenty-eight weeks before that event. The same applies when you’re training for multiple disciplines. If you are training for two different disciplines and you’d like to peak for events in either season you’ll need to extend the duration of your training plan. While it is possible to peak for two or even three events in a year, we generally don’t recommend having more than two priority events in a given season.

Considering Your Experience with Structured Training

When you’re considering extending your season beyond the traditional twenty-eight-week period it’s a good idea to factor in your experience with structured training. For more experienced athletes a longer season can be a great fit. In fact, there are plenty of athletes who prefer training ten or even eleven months out of the year, who won’t have any issues peaking for multiple events or seasons. If this is the case and you have the bandwidth to train well beyond the typical twenty-eight period, don’t hesitate to plan on peaking in two separate seasons or with multiple events. Depending on when you get started you might even be able to complete your base training twice!

This commitment to structured training isn’t for everyone though. If you know that twenty-eight to thirty weeks of structured training is your max in a given year, then plan on beginning the Base Phase twenty-eight weeks before your single most important goal or event. Similarly, if this is your first season of structured training, try not to overextend yourself with a ten-month training plan. Instead, if you have additional time before base training to work on something else, use it for something like off-season strength training, skill work, recreational riders, or maintenance training with TrainNow. When you’re about six months out from your priority event season, then start your structured season of training.

Rely on Plan Builder and Adaptive Training

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t stress yourself out too much over the start date of your training plan. Ultimately, Plan Builder is going to build you a training plan that works with your year and experience level, while Adaptive Training is going to handle any complexities and changes in your schedule. By considering your goals, events, and experience with the structure you can aim to fit in a full training progression this year and decide what training timeline works best for you and your goals.