Workout Wednesday – Improve your Threshold Power!

Workout Wednesday – Improve your Threshold Power!

Threshold is a key predictor for cyclists.  Whether you’re a roadie, an MTB rider or a triathlete, improving your threshold power is your best avenue to improve your fitness and your results.

What is threshold?  You’ll see many terms out there; such as lactate threshold, aerobic threshold, anaerobic threshold and others.  The functional definition I use is simply how hard you can ride for 1 hour (as defined by power output and/or average heart rate) at an all-out Time Trial race-pace effort.

Improving threshold really means two things:

  1. Improving your power output (which is the key for any cyclist….riding longer at a higher wattage), and
  2. Increasing the time you are able to ride at this level.

Improving threshold power and duration required dedicated work right at this level.  The intervals are long and the work load is high.  It takes a tremendous amount of effort (both mental and physical) to complete these intervals, but the payoff will be great.

Here’s a great workout you can use to improve upon your threshold: (more…)

Workout Wednesday * Today’s ride plan!!

Workout Wednesday * Today’s ride plan!!

This portion of the off season should be dedicated to improving your pedaling efficiency, your cycling-specific leg strength and “raising your ceiling” by improving your VO2 Max power.  We’ll work on this with pedaling drills, with some short, full power intervals and some VO2 Max intervals while simulating climbing.

With that, here we go:

Warmup

  • 3 minutes easy
  • Pedaling drills (1 minute at each of the rpm speeds listed):  90, 80, 70, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120
  • 1 Recovery Interval (RI)
  • 3 minutes tempo/threshold (2 at tempo level and the final minute at threshold)/ 3 RI

 Main Set — Force Reps (You’re in your Biggest Gear)

  • 2 sets (4 x (:10/:50)) 1 extra RI between sets and after. Alt seated and standing. (start from 6 – 8 mph).  NOTE:  Cadence will be very low at the start as you’re in the big gear.  Then drive with everything you’ve got for 8-10 seconds.  You’ll just be getting on top of your pedals at the 8-10 second mark.
  • 2 sets (4 x (:10/:50)) 1 extra RI between sets and after. Alt seated and standing. (start from 12 – 15 mph rolling).  NOTE:  So you’ll be doing a total of 4 sets of 4 intervals each, so a total of 16 ALL OUT intervals.

Main Set  —  VO2 Max — climbing cadence (60 – 75 rpm)

  • 7 minutes at VO2 Max / 2 min RI (seated)
  • 4/2 (seated)
  • 3/2 (seated)
  • 5/2 (standing, sit & accelerate :10 each minute). NOTE:  These likely won’t be at VO2 Max level.  Tempo/threshold is OK
  • 3/2 (standing). Same as above

 Main Set  —  ILT (This is “Isolated Leg Training,” otherwise known as single leg pedal drills

  • 2 x (:60/:60/:15 RI.) Followed by :15 Big Gear (BG) Hill simulation.  Followed by :60 RI.  NOTE:  This means 60 seconds on each leg, followed by a 15 second recovery, then get in your biggest (hardest) gear and push HARD for 15 seconds.  Then a 1 minute RI

 Cooldown:  5 minute easy spin

That’s it!  You just completed another top quality and highly functional training ride that will accomplish all the goals laid out at the beginning.  Let me know how it goes for you!

Coach Bob

 

 

Workout Wednesday * Cycling-Specific Leg Strength

Workout Wednesday * Cycling-Specific Leg Strength

This week’s indoor workout is one the not only builds cycling-specific leg strength, but also develops pedaling efficiency with some high cadence work  and with single leg pedaling.

This training ride will be slightly over one hour long.

Here’s what it looks like:

Warmup (approx 25 minutes):

  • 5 minutes easy spin z1-2
  • Isolated Leg Training (ILT).  Unclip one foot from the pedal then put it on the back post of the trainer (the other “working leg” remains in the pedal).  You should be in the big chainring in front and somewhere in the middle of your back cassette.  Your cadence should be about 60 rpm with your leg fully engaged the entire 360 of the pedal stroke.
    • :30 smooth rotation one leg, then switch legs and repeat with the other leg
    • :45 each leg
    • 1:00 each leg, followed by :30 easy spin recovery interval (RI)
  • Cadence work (easy gear).  1 minute each at 95 rpm, 100, 105 110 and 115, followed by a 1 minute easy spin RI.
  • 5 minutes tempo/threshold.  4 minutes in z3/tempo, increasing slightly each minute.  The final minute should be at z4/threshold effort/power/HR.
  • 4 minutes easy z1 spin

Main Set:

  • Put your bike in it’s biggest hear (53 x 11/12) and slow down to 4 – 8 mph.  Then completely ALL OUT, pedal as HARD AS YOU CAN for 8 – 10 seconds seated, followed by :50 easy spin RI.  You should just be getting on top of your pedals at the end of this 8 – 10 seconds.  Perform 3 more :10/:50 seated.  Following this, take an extra 1 minute RI.  Next, perform 4 x :10/:50 ALL OUT standing.  So it will look like this:
  • 4 x :10/:50 seated ALL OUT.
  • 1 extra RI
  • 4 x :10/:50 standing ALL OUT
  • 1 extra RI
  • 4 x :10/:50, alternate seated and standing, ALL OUT
  • 3 minutes RI

Then:

  • 2 x 4 minutes at VO2 Max level effort (Power/HR/RPE).  Cadence should simulate a hill climb (60 – 75 rpm), so you’ll be in a big, heavy gear.  2 minutes easy z1 spin RI between each interval.  We’ll then finish up with:
  • 1 x 6 minutes STANDING at approx tempo/threshold level (approx 60 rpm), followed by a 2 minute RI.

Cooldown:

  • 5 minutes light easy z1 spin at low cadence to flush your legs

This workout is a fantastic and all-encompassing off-season training ride.  The benefits include single leg pedal practice and cadence work and a significant amount of cycling-specific leg strength in multiple training zones.  All in an hour or less.

After this ride, you’ll get off the bike and know with 100% certainty that you put in some high quality work.

Remember that the success of your upcoming season is built NOW, in the off season, so keep it up!

Next week I’ll provide you with another GREAT workout plan, so keep in touch!

Coach Bob

Workout Wednesday * Time Trial!

Workout Wednesday * Time Trial!

The first step to training properly is to have a starting point, a baseline.  Knowing your heart rate zones and your power zones focuses your training and makes your time on the bike much more effective.  So today’s workout is a Time Trial.  While it might look “simple” on paper, it’s far from “easy.”

Bottom line is that you’re riding as hard as you can – as absolutely hard as you can – for 30 minutes.  At the end of the TT you should feel completely spent, like you gave every ounce of energy in your body – as you should have.

Our goal in the TT is to determine your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), or Functional Threshold Heart Rate.  FTP represents the “gold standard” for cyclists and triathletes, as the ultimate goal for all of us it to be physically and mentally able to ride more powerfully for longer.

True FTP is based on the highest average power (normalized) or average heart rate we can maintain for a 1 hour all-out race effort.  This is nearly impossible for most of us to do with any amount of reliability, so we ride a 30 minute TT and make adjustments to average power (not HR).  We reduce our 30 minute normalized power by 5% to arrive at our FTP.

If you ride a TT using only HR data (no power), we still ride a 30 minute TT, but use the average HR for the final 20 minutes (still ride the first 10 minutes at TT effort, but only use the average for the final 20 minutes).

Riding a TT is a necessary component to a well structured training program, so rest up for several days leading up to your TT, then go after it!

The TT can be done indoors or out.  I have my athletes ride their TT indoors if most of their upcoming quality training will be indoors.  Conversely, if most of their upcoming quality training will be outdoors, I have them do their TT outdoors.  There’s typically a measurable difference riding indoors vs outdoors, so it makes sense to set their zones based on the riding they’ll be doing.

The entire process to ride your TT (warmup, TT and cooldown) can be done in 1 hour.  Here’s how to do it:

Warmup:

  • 5 minutes easy
  • Fast pedal.  1 minute each.  95 rpm, 100, 105, 110.  Followed by 1 minute Recovery Interval (RI)
  • Fast pedal.  1 minute each:  100 rpm, 105, 110, 115.  Followed by 1 minute RI
  • 5 minutes at tempo/threshold.  (First 4 minutes at a power level/effort slightly lower than expected TT effort, followed by 1 minute at planned TT effort)
  • 5 minutes RI

Main Set  —  Time Trial: 

  • 30 minutes.  As hard as you can possibly ride (pacing yourself properly).  If you’re riding with HR only, hit your lap/interval button 10 minutes in, then use your average HR for the final 20 minutes.  If you’re using a power meter, use your normalized power for the entire 30 minute effort.

Cooldown:  5 minutes (or more).

You’re done!!  Congratulate yourself on a fantastic effort.  A future post will provide you with zones for both HR and power.  If you ride your TT in the meantime, please feel free to contact me to set your zones.

Best of luck, and please contact me with any questions.

 

Workout Wednesday * Leg Strength +  VO2 Max Intervals

Workout Wednesday * Leg Strength + VO2 Max Intervals

This week’s indoor workout helps kill two birds with one stone; high-end VO2 Max work plus cycling specific leg strength (hill simulations).

Off season training must prepare us for the rigors of what we’ll experience in our events and races, and today’s workout fits the bill exceptionally well.  This training ride will be approximately one hour long.

Here’s what it looks like:

Warmup (25 minutes):

  • 5 minutes easy spin z1-2
  • Cadence work (easy gear).  1 minute each at 90 rpm, 95, 100, 105, then followed by a 1 minute z1 recovery.
  • Cadence work (easy gear).  1 minute each at 100 rpm, 105, 110. 115, then followed by a 1 minute z1 recovery
  • 5 minutes tempo/threshold.  4 minutes in z3/tempo, increasing slightly each minute.  The final minute should be at z4/threshold effort/power/HR.
  • 5 minutes easy z1 spin

Main Set:

  • 5 x 3 minutes at VO2 Max level effort (Power/HR/RPE).  Cadence should simulate a hill climb (60 – 75 rpm), so you’ll be in a big, heavy gear.  2 minutes easy z1 spin between each interval.
  • 3 x 1 minutes at VO2 Max level.  Once again, cadence should be hill climbing cadence (60 – 75 rpm).  1 minute Recovery Interval (RI) after each.

Cooldown:

  • 5 minutes light easy z1 spin at low cadence to flush your legs

This workout offers a great starting point for VO2 Max level work.  You’ll be at VO2 Max (or above) for 18 minutes, so this will be a big challenge.  We’ll increase your time at VO2 Max in the future.  Make sure you give the appropriate effort (VO2 Max is HARD, so don’t back off)!

Congratulations, you just packed a great deal of quality work into a 1 hour ride!

Next week I’ll provide you with another GREAT workout plan, so keep in touch!

Coach Bob

 

 

 

Winter Indoor Training * Your 2018 season begins Jan 4!!

Winter Indoor Training * Your 2018 season begins Jan 4!!

Hi Riders,

Our annual Winter Session of Indoor Training begins January 4, 2018. We’ll train in the basement of Penn Cycle: Woodbury once again, as we have for the past several years. We’ll train twice per week in the winter session, on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Monday evenings at Penn Cycle Woodbury (5:30 pm start).

  • 10 sessions including January 8, 15, 22, 29.  Feb 5, 12, 19.  March 12, 19, 26 (No Feb 26 or March 5 training).
  • Training held at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location
  • Cost for 10 training sessions is $149 (less than $15 per training ride).
  • NOTE:  I extend a 50% discount to the athletes I’m currently training 1-1.

Thursday evenings at Penn Cycle Woodbury (5:30 pm start).

  • 12 training sessions, including: Jan 4, 11, 18, 25.  Feb 1, 8, 15, 22.  March 8, 15, 22, 29.  (No March 1 training).
  • Training held at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location
  • Cost for 12 training sessions is $179 (less than $15 per session).
  • NOTE:  I extend a 50% discount to the athletes I’m currently training 1-1.

Want More?  Join us twice a week for only $289

Each ride is approximately 90 minutes long.  There will a different focus on each night (Monday and Thursday), with threshold, VO2 Max and leg strength being key areas of emphasis.  Then it will all come together the final weeks to simulate the rigors of outdoor riding.  Each rider will be 100% prepared for the outdoor season in April.  Each ride is 100% unique, and the training load will progress throughout the 12 weeks.

Can’t join us @ Penn Cycle?  I’m offering the exact training via email.

For those selecting this package,  I’ll email your training each week.  You have the same choices as the “live” riders – The 10 “Monday” ride plans for $89, the 12 “Thursday” ride plans for $109 or all 22 training sessions for only $179.

*** For everybody involved in this series of rides, I’ll also create a private Facebook group.  This “member’s only” access will allow us to ask questions, to have a private dialogue and to help us maintain continuity.

I look forward to seeing you the first week of January at Penn!

Coach Bob

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