The beauty of Heart Zones® training is how specific you can be to improve certain aspects of your fitness or performance. While power training has become the norm in the world of competitive cycling, coaches will still use a Heart Zone focus during the base building phase of training. This is because at the start of every season, a true periodized training plan will begin with base building to establish a firm foundation for everything else that is to come. In fact, entire books have been written and dedicated to the importance of base building (Base Building for Cyclists: A New Foundation for Endurance and Performance)
While this phase of training typically will last just 2 to 3 months, the nature of the climb we are preparing for in Hawaii is such that our specific type of riding will be done predominantly in the base building endurance zone. We will be climbing continuously for 36 miles to ultimately cover 10,000 feet up the mountain. If we do not stay in the endurance zone for the bulk of this ride, we will either exceed our limit of cumulative fatigue, or risk cramping to the put a premature end to the climb.
This is why we will be maximizing our base building to prepare for this ride. The 16 week training plan shown here (compliments of Cycling Fusion) keeps us in the endurance zone for approximately 60% of our training, with a start at 75% of our time and finishing with 55%. The principle objective is to become more and more efficient; to be able to generate more power with a lower heart rate. The power does not need to be a lot, since the average grade is only 5% to 6%, but even with a mild grade, the legs and mind can get fatigued with how constant it will be. There is less than 1 mile of flat to slightly down hill from start to finish. In a word, this climb will be relentless, and we have to become so efficient that we can keep on keeping on.
For anyone wanting to join us on this training plan during the winter, I encourage you to check out our winter training website where you can secure 12 full weeks of training and education via video.