Our Favorite Bike Workouts

Our Favorite Bike Workouts

In parallel with our Endurance Corner Cycling Challenge, we asked the EC coaching team to share some of their favorite bike workouts. We hope their suggestions will give you some motivation for the challenge!

Justin Daerr – The Long Climbing Workout

Ever since I moved to Colorado full time, I’ve made mountain rides a staple of my training program, particularly in the warmer months when more roads are available. I don’t create a specific workout, but I make a goal of achieving a certain amount of elevation gain. I usually start with 4,000 to 6,000 feet and eventually build to 8,000 to 10,000 with some days including even more than that. For an additional challenge, I will often finish the ride with the same approximately 15-minute climb at a TT effort. This helps serve as a way gauge my fitness level; my ability to hold a consistent finishing climb time even as the total elevation and duration of the ride increases. But most of all, this ride is fun and we need to continue to always have a place for that in our training.

Marilyn Chychota – Big Climbing Loops

One of my all time favorite ironman prep sessions is something I would do it Boulder. I would pick one of the big climbing loops like the ride to Estes Park or the St. Vrain Loop. Up the long climb I’d do a descending set with all efforts in my time trial race position.

The session was a total ride time of about 5 hours:
– Ride easy 60 minutes out to the start of the climb
– Up the canyon: 40 minutes at ironman race effort in TT position at 80-90 rpm / 5 minutes easy / 30 minutes at half ironman race effort in TT position at 80-90 rpm / 10 minutes easy / 3 x 10 minutes at 40km TT effort with 5 minutes easy between each
– Finish the ride up around the mountain loop riding relaxed, but still riding with some purpose.

Lisa Roberts – Big Gear
My favorite bike workout is a quick, simple, but effective 90-minute session. It’s ideally performed on the trainer, but can be fine on a long uphill gradient of 4-6% with few/no stoplights.

– 15 minute warmup
– 30x: 1 minute big gear (50-60 cadence) / 1 minute easy
– 15 minute cooldown

Depending on available time, you can do 15 or 20 of these instead. Either way it’s great sport-specific strength building.

Alan Couzens – The Progressive Bike Test

Ask an exercise physiologist what his favorite bike workout is and it is sure to be one that offers up some data.

The progressive bike offers a double whammy in terms of being both a test and a great workout that works its way through both threshold and VO2 training zones.

The test aspect is magnified if it is done occasionally with the use of a portable lactate tester. In my opinion, the most underutilized piece of tech for the serious athlete.

The entire workout/test spans approximately 90 minutes. Beginning at the aerobic threshold and progressively ramping all the way up to threshold or beyond into the VO2 zones.

– Warm Up: 20-30 minutes very easy at 50% of your estimated FTP
– Mainset: 8-10 x 5 minutes at 50% of your FTP + ~10% of your FTP per stage
– Cooldown: 10-20 minutes as easy as you like!

Sue Aquila – Smooth Power

Age group long course cyclists struggle with smoothing out their power when racing. The goal of this session is to have a VI (variability index in Training Peaks) below 1.05. A low VI prepares you to run successfully off the bike.

This is a great ride to practice on a course with some short hills and even a few turns. Do a short warm up followed by 4 x 12 minutes at race pace on 2:30 easy. Cap efforts on climbs at 1.2 x FTP or less. Focus on maintaining the power over the top and the first 20% of the descent. When turning, practice getting out of the saddle but again capping your effort at 1.2 x FTP or less. Smoothing your ride requires practice and discipline to have a great run in your race.

This ride requires a bit of tech prep.  Set up your computer head so that it shows the following on one page:
– 3s power
– Average power
– Normalized Power (NP)
– Lap Time
– Cadence
– HR

How did you do on each interval? Take your average watts and multiply by 1.05. This number should be equal to or less than your NP. If it isn’t? Reduce your efforts on the climbs and turns while focusing on hitting your goal watts on the flats.

– FTP 200 watts
– Climbing wattage cap 220 watts
– HIM goal watts pace 160 watts
– Max NP should be 168 watts

We race the way we practice. What are you practicing? #noeasyway

Jeff Fejfar – Over-Effort Pace Training

For those leading into 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga, I would suggest some “over-effort” pace training to prep for the Lookout Mountain climb. A great suggestion would be incorporating the below after a good 30-45 minute warmup. For the higher output efforts, consider doing at a slightly lower than normal cadence (5-10 rpm from normal race cadence) as gearing may not allow normal cadence during the climb.

– Week 1: 6 x 25 minutes as: 5 minutes at ~90-98% FTP (or at/just below Olympic distance effort) / 10 minutes at 80-88% FTP (HIM effort) with 10 minutes easy between rounds.

– Week 2: 5 x 25 minutes as: 6 minutes at ~90-98% FTP (or at/just below Olympic distance effort) / 12 minutes at 80-88% FTP (HIM effort) with 7 minutes easy between rounds.

– Week 3: 6 x 20 minutes as: 5 minutes at ~90-98% FTP (or at/just below Olympic distance effort) / 10 minutes at 80-88% FTP (HIM effort) with 5 minutes easy between rounds.

– Week 4: 3 x 40 minutes as: 12 minutes at ~90-98%FTP (or at/just below Olympic distance effort) / 18 minutes at 80-88% FTP (HIM effort) with 10 minutes easy between rounds.

Categories: Bike, Training

About Author

Endurance Corner

Endurance Corner wants to help you be the best multisport athlete you can be.