Pump Up the Base made me stronger. What next?


Howdy, I just finished a functional threshold power test (20 minutes flat out). Brutal. Over 10 weeks of Pump Up the Base, my FTP went up 8% to 271. I have no idea if that’s what I should be expecting. Stand up pedaling really improved, that’s for sure. Let me know what you think so I can figure out how to continue my training. Thanks,I hope you’re doing well.



Right on! An 8% improvement in FTP is significant for a rider who was already as fit as you. Even more significant, as you mentioned, is your improved pedaling technique, especially out of the saddle. You might not feel this yet, but your body is now prepared to do even more and better work.

Note: I know you personally, and I have a feeling you overtrained over the winter. With more rest your improvement would have been even higher. Seriously, two PUTB workouts plus some strength and one longer ride would be a big week — especially for someone who’s pushing … ahem … 40.

From here you can either settle into your normal in-season riding routine (which is totally fine), or you can get even stronger/faster/better.

With your PUTB base, you can start a more complete, intense program like Prepare to Pin It. You’ll hit every energy system on a regular basis. This gives you even deeper endurance, higher highs and an even greater work tolerance. I think it’s fun too. Also, it works very well for people with hectic schedules.

Pump Up the Base is all sweet spot (orange) and sprints (black). Prepare to Pin It enters the dreaded red zone. Very few riders go here, but it’s where the magic happens.

Relative intensity per day for Prepare to Pin It program. You can mix and match to suit your schedule, but basically: two off or very light days, two easy days (one with sprints) and two hard days.

The keystone workout is “Red Intervals.” A classic example is 30 seconds max power, 30 seconds easy for 3 sets of 5. These are fantastically hard. No sane person would do this unless he has a reason. This short workout is perfect for mid week after work. I do red intervals on the trainer, pump track or rowing erg. When I finished my red intervals this week on the trainer, I couldn’t see straight, and I was pissing myself uncontrollably. Maybe that was a bit too hard?

The last time I did a formal test, after five weeks of Prepare to Pin It, I gained more than 25% across the board: 20-minute, 3-minute, 1-minute, 30-second and max power. That was huge. The secret? Going very hard when it’s time to go hard, then taking rest days. A crazy work schedule forced extra rest days — which turned out great.

I did PUTB faithfully over the winter, and now that the coaching season has started I’m taking the red intervals seriously. Even though I seldom train for more than an hour at a time, I have the reserves to coach/ride for four 9-hour days in a row. This stuff works!

Mix it up. Go hard when it’s time to go hard. Otherwise, take it easy.

Have fun,


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