Hilly base

3.Hilly-baseAim of Session

Enable the development of base endurance and efficiency at low-intensities

Session description

WARM UP and COOL DOWN: No warm-up / cool down is required, session duration is total session time

MAIN SET: After using the first 15 mins to get into the ride, use the hills to push up the heart rate, but still keeping controlled. Use a mixture of  climbing in and out of the saddle. Keep the cadence as high as possible when climbing.


As with its sister 'base' session, this hilly ride asks the rider to training at the heart rate or power output equivalent to the lactate threshold, improving the systems working on using fat as a fuel as well as building the muscle machinery to remove lactate. The introduction of hills though allows periods of time spent slightly over LT, stressing this system a little more (but in a controlled way).

Application for the Rider

Riding a base session over hillier terrain also asks the rider to acquire other skills - riding in and out of the saddle; keeping effort constant regardless of terrain; learning how to use the full range of gears to bring about the target powers and cadence. Races are rarely entirely flat after all!

Practicalities and tips!

  • Focus on riding 'even effort' on the ups and the downs
  • The suggestion to ride in and out of the saddle helps the rider practice two different techniques which they might come to use in racing: staying in the saddle for shorter climbs is often the best approach when the hill won't bring speed down too much; whilst on longer climbs, the ride might need to get out of the saddle to offset fatigue by recruiting different muscle groups. Be mindful that the latter technique will increase heart rate, so a drop in effort might be needed to keep HR in zone 2.

Evaluation of the session

  • Very smilar to the zone 2 base session - but take some time to look at how well you have kept the intensity within the zone 2 heart rate or power range up the ascents and descents.
  • Have you been able to keep your cadence up?
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