The Foundation of Cycling Success

Why Base Building Training Is Essential for New Cyclists

As a new cyclist stepping into the world of biking, the excitement of exploring new routes and feeling the wind against your face is undoubtedly exhilarating. However, before you dive headfirst into intense training sessions or challenging terrains, there’s a crucial phase that often gets overlooked but holds the key to unlocking your full potential on the saddle – Base Building Training. In this article, we’ll delve into why spending time in base building training is essential for new cyclists, especially those who might be out of shape or just starting out in the sport.

Understanding Base Building Training:

Base building training, also known as base miles or foundation training, refers to a period of structured, low to moderate-intensity cycling aimed at developing aerobic fitness and building a solid physiological foundation. During this phase, the emphasis is not on high-intensity efforts or pushing your limits but rather on gradually increasing your endurance, improving cardiovascular health, and laying down the groundwork for future performance gains.

Importance for Out of Shape or New Cyclists:

For those who are out of shape or completely new to cycling, diving straight into intense workouts or advanced training programs can be both physically demanding and demoralizing. Base building training offers a gentle entry point into the sport, allowing your body to adapt gradually to the demands of cycling while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries or burnout.

  1. Building Aerobic Capacity: Base building training primarily targets your aerobic energy system, which is crucial for sustained efforts during longer rides. By gradually increasing your time spent in the saddle at a comfortable intensity, you’re effectively enhancing your body’s ability to utilize oxygen more efficiently, leading to improved endurance and stamina.

  2. Enhancing Fat Metabolism: One of the key benefits of base miles is their role in promoting fat metabolism. During low to moderate-intensity cycling, your body primarily relies on fat as a fuel source, sparing precious glycogen stores for when you need them most during high-intensity efforts or climbs. This metabolic adaptation not only improves your endurance but also aids in weight management and overall metabolic health.

  3. Building Muscular Endurance: Base building training isn’t just about cardiovascular adaptations; it also plays a crucial role in building muscular endurance. As you spend more time pedaling at a steady pace, your leg muscles gradually adapt to the repetitive motion, becoming more resilient and capable of sustaining prolonged efforts without fatigue.

  4. Laying a Foundation for Future Performance: Perhaps the most compelling reason for new cyclists to invest time in base building training is its long-term impact on performance. Scientific studies have consistently shown that cyclists who undergo a structured base building phase exhibit greater improvements in performance metrics such as time trial times, lactate threshold, and overall aerobic capacity compared to those who skip or rush through this phase.

Scientific Evidence:

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that cyclists who completed a 12-week base building program experienced significant improvements in lactate threshold power and time trial performance compared to those who followed a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocol without a dedicated base phase (Lindsay et al., 2018).

Another study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated that cyclists who prioritized base miles during the off-season exhibited higher levels of aerobic fitness and fat metabolism, leading to superior performance gains during the competitive season compared to those who focused solely on high-intensity training (Hansen et al., 2005).


In conclusion, base building training lays the foundation for success in cycling, especially for new cyclists or those who are out of shape. By prioritizing gradual increases in aerobic fitness, fat metabolism, and muscular endurance, you’re not only setting yourself up for improved performance on the bike but also safeguarding against overuse injuries and burnout. So, before you tackle those challenging climbs or join the peloton for a fast-paced ride, invest time in building your base – your future cycling self will thank you for it.


  • Lindsay, F., Hawley, J., & Myburgh, K. (2018). Enhanced performance with base-building training in competitive cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(6), 1676-1685.
  • Hansen, E. A., Emanuelsen, K., & Gertsen, R. M. (2005). Long-term effects of prior low-intensity endurance training on exercise capacity and substrate utilization in obese women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(5-6), 541-547.
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