Base training with extended absence on the other end

My season came to an abrupt end due to a couple week business trip and then contracting COVID immediately after. It’s been nearly 4 weeks since I’ve ridden consistently so now I’m just going to tear it down and start over with base in another week.

My conundrum is that I don’t really have anything to train for specifically this upcoming year. I’m in the military and have a 9 month deployment scheduled starting next March/April…right at the start of racing season. I can put a lot of good time into a solid base this winter but I’m not sure if I can keep it up overseas, apart from the occasional spin sesh in the gym. I’ll definitely have the chance to get into running, which is fine, but doesn’t necessarily translate well to cycling from a maintenance perspective.

Aside from the enjoyment of structured training, is there an extended benefit towards dedicating time to a strong base over the winter and then trying to maintain it as best as possible over the course of nearly a year? I’d like to race in 2025 but won’t get back to training for it until Jan/Feb.


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You’ve probably already benefited from year-over-year training.

The smaller the gap the better in this situation I think.

Maybe put less time into short/top-end power and focus on building as big a diesel engine as possible. I think 2025 you will thank you for it.

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Hey @conman55.

First things first, thank you for your service :slight_smile:

Yes! There is definitely a strong benefit when dedicating time to base training. The aerobic energy system is the primary energy source during any type of sustained effort, which is why base training is primarily concerned with increasing aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. You can think of aerobic-based fitness as the foundation of a pyramid. A strong and big base supports an even higher peak.

It sounds like you have quite a bit of time to dedicate to it, so I would consider looking into Traditional Base, as it takes the conventional approach to base training, building resilient aerobic fitness—low intensity for long hours.

As far as being able to keep it up overseas, it should be a feasible task considering the good amount of work you are going to put in prior. The longer you’ve been training, the slower you’ll lose your aerobic base. It takes about 25-35 days before you see a decline.

So, maintaining your aerobic system through Endurance workouts like Baxter, completing 2-3 hour outside rides, and even using TrainNow Endurance or Climbing type of workouts should be enough. Also, this endurance work doesn’t have to always be on the bike. You could run, hike, or go for a swim. It just needs to be something that stimulates your aerobic system.

Additionally, getting some strength training in during that time will also help you out in regards to cycling fitness down the road once you’re ready to resume training Jan/Feb 2025. The important part, I think, is to think of your time oversees as an offseason and enjoy the training however you’d like to incorporate it. :slight_smile: