For the cyclists in the base phase, consistency and steady time spent in zone 2 are key elements in building plasma volume and teaching the body to burn fat in preference of muscle glycogen. Increasing mitochondrial density in all that newly developed muscle gained in the weight room is another adaptation that occurs during the base phase. Pushing yourself towards the red zone negates all these aerobic gains during these long easy rides.... An under developed aerobic engine, overtraining, decreased recovery, and ultimately decreased race performance are all risks of going too hard too early.
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Instead of showing up for your weekend group ride and getting sucked into the madness, I recommend finding a smaller group of friends with similar fitness levels interested in maintaining a steady zone 2 pace. You’ll be happy that you’re not in the gutter duking it out on the Saturday morning world championships AND your training will be better for it.I couldn't agree more.