This week I started the Base 2 training period, and yesterday I read Joe Friel’s blog post on Base 2 and 3 training. It was a timely post, and encouraged me to focus again on the purpose of this training period. My goals remain to gradually increase my TSS, and to gradually increase my running mileage with mostly lower intensity exercise. I thought it was interesting that in his blog post Joe Friel mentioned that many athletes want to start doing some higher intensity training during Base 2 because I have been tempted to start interval training. Gordon Byrn’s book, Going Long, also mentions this phenomenon, and cautions that this leads to an early peak with and ultimately suboptimal performance at the ‘A’ race.

Today I chose to use one of the Base 2 period interval workouts suggested by Friel, the 3X12 min in zone 3 with 3 min rest intervals. My zone 3 power (Coggan’s Tempo Power Range) is 258-308 watts. This is a pretty big range, and I figured it would be easy enough to do. I chose the 12 minute intervals instead of the 20 minute intervals because the road on East Miramar, where I plan on doing most of my interval work, is almost 5 miles long. A 20 minute interval would require me to do a u-turn in the middle of it.

My personal goals for this workout was to maintain as close to 300 watts as possible. The terrain is slightly rolling at East Miramar, so this would require a bit of focus. I only look at a 3 second power average, so I wouldn’t be using a lap average power to compensate for an average power that was higher or lower than 300 watts, but tried to focus more on the power at the moment. I also decided to throw in my own variation with the first and third intervals at a cadence typical of where I usually race at (around 90), and the middle interval at a lower cadence. The lower cadence interval I just rode in my 53X12 gearing and tried to keep the power at 300. There has been a lot of discussion about low cadence work on the wattage group, and the biggest consensus is that training at a cadence where you race is probably the most beneficial. Fair enough. At Ironman California 70.3 I’ll see plenty of hill climbs, and likely some lower cadences with those climbs, so doing some lower cadence work will simulate doing the interval on a hill. Here is how it worked out:


Average Cadence

Average Power

Normalized Power













I found that with the lower cadence interval it was difficult to keep the power that low. I had to force myself to lower the cadence to get the power down. The other two intervals the cadence felt more natural, but I did notice in the third interval I had to concentrate a little more to get the cadence where I wanted. I think if I had let the cadence stay around 85 I might have had an average power closer to 300. Although I didn’t feel particularly fatigued, the fact that I was challenged by maintaining the average cadence and power where I wanted is a pretty good indicator that fatigue was a factor. In many ways you can judge the quality and success of the workout by the final intervals. I often think to myself that the workout doesn’t begin until the second half.

Thanks for reading, and have a great Thanksgiving!