Climbing Kaloko in Kona, HI. Picture - Paolina Allan
Ounce again, I'm putting the 30-Year-Base to the test. If you have been involved in an endurance sport (running, cycling or triathlon) for less than 5 years, with all due respect, skip right to the end of this post for the final good news.
It's at times like this that I'm thankful that I've been doing what I have for the last 30 plus years. You see, there is a huge advantage to having a massive base of aerobic fitness that you can tap into. You can do things and get away with things that the newer athlete can't.
In a few weeks we are off to Cuba again for some cycling with some pretty serious road cyclists. I'm really looking forward to it, and again, my goal is the same - don't get dropped!
Because of the big base of fitness that I have, over a relatively short period of time, I can elevate my regular fitness to a higher level reasonably "quickly". It's not easy, and it does not come without some genuine, hard and concentrated work, but I always surprise myself, how quickly the fitness does ramp up. I've been using several different sessions on the indoor trainer, coupled with steady state riding on the rollers on the "off-days". I dug into some old training logs, and also read up on "Sweet-Spot" intervals. As a classic "pursuit-style" rider my whole life, these are the kinds of sessions that I both "enjoy", if that's the right word, have a high impact, and ramp up my fitness quickly.
The other two sessions I've been doing are NOT so enjoyable (to be honest they are ugly, brutal and painful) - but are also high-impact: T-Max sets, as well as one minute All-Out bursts with almost full recovery - I've always been the, world's worst sprinter on the bike, but these sprint sessions forces me to activate and work this range and the five fast-witch muscle cells I have in my whole body!! Both these sessions have me on the trainer for 60 minutes or less. A painful, 60 minutes - but a productive, 60 minutes!
The good story to end this with and for the newbies just joining back in now, THIS is one of the key up-sides and advantages to hanging in there for the long-haul with endurance sports. Once that serious, long-term aerobic base is established (roughly 5 years or more), you can whip yourself back into some pretty decent form over a relatively short period of time.
The BIG base is helpful in other ways. When you have some down-time either by choice (vacation, taking a break etc , .) or by force (injury, sickness), the loss of fitness tends to be more minimized the bigger your overall fitness and aerobic base is, and the quicker you will return to good to great form!