"Pre-base" training plans to get my body ready for base stage training?

I’ve been off the bike for a couple of years now, before that, I was racing mainly crits and a little bit of road/TT. But now, I am determined to get riding again, and have signed up to a 40km TT event in a year’s time.

After a bike fit by my physio (he specialises in cycling), I have started to ride my bike gently for a couple of weeks now, then slowly ramping up the intensity but found my hip and knees can’t keep up with the intensity and cause me pain whenever I try to ramp it up.

I planned to go through the three stages of training starting this week, but looking at the workouts, I don’t think I’m ready. After speaking with my physio, he suggested to spin easy over the weekend for no more than 60 min a session for the next couple months until my body is ready to take on something a bit more.

My question is, are there any plans suitable for someone to condition their body, ready to take on more serious base endurance (stage 1) plans? A plan that is like for a hypothetical “pre-base” stage?

Thanks :slight_smile:

Low volume traditional base? Or just plenty of Petit and Baxter?

From what I know is that the plans are designed to take you from wherever you are currently, to wherever you want to be. So based on your FTP test the intensity will be set correctly.

Just give it a go, Sweetspot or traditional base low volume and see how you get on.


Agree, you don’t need to train to train. Do a ramp test (already scheduled in the beginning of any plan) and your FTP will adjust the future workouts. You could literally have never worked out a day in your life and start a TR plan. Pick low volume Sweet Spot Base to start.


The ramp test is still a big hit on the body compared to sitting on a couch. I’ve done one just to experience what it’s like and got an FTP from that. Can I just use that data instead of doing another ramp test?

If it’s reasonably recent then just go with it. Hop on the bike and get going :slight_smile:

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I just finished a pre base base and think it’s worth it if you’re heavily detrained. I was just riding around at endurance pace for a few weeks then found some random tempo workouts, like 5min intervals, that sort of thing and did that. Worked up to some threshold and maybe even touched VO2 a few times but very short intervals. Nothing really that would put me into a hole. Did around 6 weeks in total. No structure, just playing around, doing what I wanted until I felt like I was ready to try a structured serious base plan.

Use the ftp from the previous test. Dive in to sewwt spot 1 lv and if it is too easy bump your ftp in 5 watt increments, if it is too hard, do the same the other way until you are where you want to be. Then retest after a few weeks.

I had a similar experience when I tried to start training on an indoor trainer. I’ve been riding MTB regularly for several years and even raced a few times, some of them Epic Rides 35-milers so I thought I had a good base. I mounted an old road bike on a smart trainer and did the Ramp Test. I think my bike setup was bad and ended up with sore knees. I tried to power through the next couple workouts at my FTP -2 and the sessions were pretty easy but too much for my sore knees so I shut it down. I think doing some low intensity sessions to tune in the trainer setup and verify tolerance to the workload prior to the first ramp test is a good idea.

Both you and your physio know your hips and knees better than any of us online so take their advice over ours all the time.

If you are after easy spins of no more than an hour then probably workouts like Pettit are your friend. I’d take the outline of the Traditional Base Low Volume plans and replace them with sessions of an hour at the most. You could replace the longer rides with Pettit and use rides like Carter, Birch or Taku for example to keep the structure of the programme but with shorter rides.

See how it goes for a couple of weeks and reassess maybe but take the advice of a paid professional. I wouldn’t be considering anything vaguely approaching the Sweet Spot programmes until you know how your body reacts to the lower intensity workouts if that’s the advice your physio is giving you.

Yeah, you don’t really want to go against your doctor’s advice… but…

If you find the 60min workouts in sweet sport base low volume to still be too much for your whether it be your endurance or your joints, maybe jump in a try the 45min or 30min versions of each workout. most workouts have a “minus” version and it’s usually -3 or -4 that are the 30-45min versions of the same workout.

I just came off a month off (planned at the end of last season) and to ease back in (and to focus on family time) I went through the first few weeks of SSB LV but substituted the 45min versions during the week and the 60min version on the weekend ride. From there I’ll jump into a full blown base plan.

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All very good advice and to the point. Thanks JulianM, I think your advice nailed it, I will play around with the lower intensity and shorter duration rides before hitting a structured plan :slight_smile: