Want to get the heart pumping? These bang-for-your-buck workouts are perfect for your midweek ride or as part of your weekend long ride.
3×16-Kilometre Descending Intervals
Pick a course that’s about eight kilometres in one direction without traffic lights or signals. You’ll use it as a 16-kilometre out- and-back.
Goal: To refine your pacing skills. You’ll chop your time with every16-kilometre interval. “Pacing is everything,” says coach Dave Pruetz. “If you go out too fast, you may fail to get progressively faster.”
• First out-and-back: Ride at an average pace (Zone 2) and time yourself.
Rest 3–5 minutes.
• Second out-and-back: Pick up your pace (Zone 3) and beat your first time. The trick is to not beat yourself by too much because the third set will be the hardest.
Rest 3–5 minutes.
• Third out-and-back: Get your pace up even more (Zone 4 or time-trial pace) and beat your second time. Cool down by spinning easy for 10 minutes.
Coach Greg Mueller uses this 3×20-minute workout to get his athletes “out of the groove.”
Goal: To hit several training concepts within one ride. “This offers some relief over steady efforts where you’re engaging the same muscles and cadence for long periods,” says Mueller.
• Warm up for 15 minutes. Include single-leg drills and high-cadence spin-ups.
Main Set: Choose four zones you want to “toggle through,” such as easy, tempo, lactate threshold (LT) pace and VO2max. If you’re not familiar with these zones, choose four effort levels on a scale of 1–10.
• Three sets of (4-min LT pace, 5-min tempo, 1-min VO2max, 10 minutes easy).
• Cool down with a 20-minute easy spin. As you get closer to a race, do an easy spin into a transition run.
“The Joker” Aerobic Threshold Builder
Insert this workout into a ride of any length to add a little aerobic stress. Coach Suzanne Atkinson dubbed it “The Joker” because it can be flipped for a slightly different perspective—either a tempo or VO2max workout.
Goal: To improve aerobic threshold by working with both tempo (just below threshold) and VO2max (just above threshold) effort.
Warm up for 15 minutes.
• 6 min tempo, 1 min VO2 max
• 5 min tempo, 1 min VO2 max
• 4 min tempo, 1 min VO2 max
• 3 min tempo, 1 min VO2 max
• 2 min tempo, 1 min VO2 max
• Cool down for 10 minutes.
Sample 50-kilometre “Joker” workout:
• Km0–10: Gradual warm-up, build to just below threshold heart rate. Include a 30- second hard effort once every three kilometres, with at least five minutes of spinning prior to the first set.
• Km11-24: Joker Set No.1
• Km25-29: Relaxed recovery
• Km30-44: Joker Set No.2
• Km45-50:Cool-down, easy spin