Why 27 Weeks ? - The Importance of Base
We sometimes are asked why are your half and iron distance programs recommended to be 27 weeks long ? Can I just do the 15 week program ?
The answer to the second question is "Sure". The answer to the first question is "So that you get the most out of your last 15 weeks".
It's that simple. The first 12 weeks of our programs are the essential building blocks to a successful race day. Like the foundations of a house, a Base period lays the important groundwork for when the sessions get more focused later in the training cycle.
Our programs are periodised into three macro cycles; a Base cycle, a Build cycle and a Peak & Taper cycle. Each macro cycle has micro cycles (called Blocks) of 3 weeks. In the end of week 2 is an easier period followed by a week of testing (benchmark and CP 30). The Base cycle has 5 micro cycles, the Build has 4 and the Peak & Taper has 3 micro cycles.
The importance of the Base phase is to reinforce efficiency. This is both in terms of fitness - i.e. obtaining maximal aerobic functioning; and form - i.e. through focus on drill and technique work. As you approach your goal race the Build phase focuses more upon conditioning you to the rigours of race. As this period sees you maintaining higher levels of intensity for greater durations, the potential risk of injury or illness increases.
Both of these risks are significantly minimised through the careful foundation of a carefully planned out period of Base training.
The aerobic fitness you acquire during Base phase improves the bodies coping capacity during the Build phase. In simple terms, because you are aerobically fitter you recover faster both during the session (between intervals) and post session. This not only reduces risk of illness through over-training / poor recovery but because you are entering each session better recovered you execute that next session better !
The economical efficiency you acquire during Base phase through regular repetition of skill and drill workouts stay with you during those higher intensity sessions where form often falls away due to fatigue exposing your body to acute (sudden) or chronic (overuse) injury.
The initial stages of a properly planned Base phase may seem boring, easy or unrewarding. The challenge of focusing your mind upon a task that is so far out may be difficult but triathlon, whatever the distance, is an endurance sport and without a properly laid foundation you may never know what you are truly capable of achieving.
Unlock your true potential - build a proper Base.