Tag Archives: Bike Tempo

Workout Wednesday – Bike Power Hills

Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I  post a new Triathlon specific workout. (for free, What a Country!) If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

A couple weeks ago,  I was racing on the hilly but fun bike course. The sun was out, and t was beautiful morning. My legs were feeling good and pumping out the watts. Two more miles to go to the turn around, I am  crushing it. The hills on the course aren’t so bad. Then right before the turn around, I came up on a pavement wall. Suddenly, I staring up a .25 mile climb at 15%. I switch the the small chain ring, and grind my way up the hill. By the top of the hill, my heart rate was around 1000bpm, and my legs were Jello. Luckily, we turned around and came right back down the hill, so I had time to recover and then crush the rest of the course. (Also, I hit 46 mph on the downhill, waahooo!)

That hill exposed  a weakness in my recent cycling training. I’m lacking in hill power. Power hills are short intense efforts that keep your speed up on a hilly course. Power hills differ from long sustained hills, as they require pure leg strength. Increasing that leg strength requires short intense efforts with adequate rest. Think of it as doing squats on your bike. Working on power hills is also a win-win, as it will make you stronger on the flats.

Now let’s get to work:

Power Hills:

Warm up

  • 5 Minutes easy spin
  • 5 X  @70 Effort 1 min/1 min rest

Main Set

  • 5 X standing 1 min/1 min rest – of each min rep 1st 30 secs @70%/ 2nd 30 secs @85% effort
  • 3 min easy spin
  • 3 X standing 2 min/ 1 min rest – of each 2 min rep 1st min @60%/ 2nd min @80% effort
  • 3 min easy spin
  • 6 X standing 30 secs/ 1 min rest @85%

Cool Down

  • 10 min easy spin

This workout is best done on a trainer or stationary bike. Set the resistance heavy enough to make it challenging, but still be able to maintain a cadence above 60 rpm. Build into each rep, and focus on finishing strong. This workout is great for flatlanders is best done every couple of weeks. Work it into your program and you will be powering up the hills like a freight train.

Workout Wednesday – The Leg Chiseler

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout – The Leg Chiseler

Chiseled Legs

There are two factors that determine how fast  you can push on the bike. These are your lungs and your legs. Your legs and lungs work together to produce power, but a weakness in either system will become a limiting factor. I experience this every winter winter when I train for a marathon and neglect  bike training.  When spring comes, and I get out on the road, I have the engine of a Corvette, and legs like a Smart Car. Leg strength is the key to increasing your speed, riding better in headwinds, and climbing. For those of your with some vanity, these workouts will make your go sticks more chiseled.

This workout  consists of on and off bike training designed to increase muscular strength in the legs. While these intervals can be intense, the focus is to get that burning sensation in the legs, not max out heart rate. Load up the tension, so your legs are working harder than your cardio. Aim to keep your cadence around 40-60 RPMs under tension. Ideally, this work should be done on a trainer or spin bike. That way you can control the amount of tension, and there are no interruptions.

On to the workout:

The Leg Chiseler

  • Warm up – 10 mins – easy spin
  • Warm up – 3 X 1 min/30 secs off
  • Main Set – 3 min climb increasing tension every minute (Heavy tension RPM – 40-60)
  • Get off bike and do 20 air squats
  • Easy spin 2 min
  • Repeat Main Set 4-6 times
  • Cool down 10 mins Easy Spin

This workout should be difficult, but know your limits. If you need a bit of extra rest between sets, take it. This type of workout is best scheduled with a rest day or easy day after. Leg strength work scheduled once every week or two, will be enough to see significant improvement. Remember to maintain the best pedal stroke possible. Focus on pushing and pulling the pedals and making circles. For more info on good pedaling mechanics.

Photo Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/17/d5/98/17d598c3d928de6c1cc5b28feb67c10c.jpg

Step Out of the Pain Cave – 5 Tips for Better Indoor Cycling Workouts

I wake up at 6am for the normal 7:30 group ride. I go to the window, its still pitch black dark, and 35F outside. This is where the will power wanes, and the excuses kick in. Do I really want to put on all of that cold weather gear, and freeze my tail off for 2 hours? I could go back to that warm bed, and ride later, which turns into never.

When mother nature turns down the thermostat, and shuts the lights off early, its time to switch to indoor cycling workouts. You don’t want to lose all fitness in those finely chiseled legs, earned by riding all summer. With some quality time spent cycling indoors, you can maintain some of that fitness. Indoor cycling can be incredibly boring. Don’t view it as a sentence to a dull sweaty prison. Instead, here’s some tips to get the most out of your indoor sessions:

Leg Speed

1. Keep it short – 

Quality over Quantity is the key for effective indoor work. Interval work is the best bang for your buck. Quality interval workouts will keep up your cycling fitness, without sitting on the trainer for hours at a time. A well planned session should only take 45 minutes.

Example Interval Workout

2. Spin Class – 

If you like to others around to keep you motivated, try a spin class. Most classes are under an hour and offer plenty of intensity. The great thing spin class is you don’t have to plan your workout, just show up and ride. Be careful not to over do it with intensity, if you are in your off season. When I go to class, I will modify the workout to fit my current goals.

3. No Pain Cave – 

I see people post pictures of their pain cave, the dungeon where they ride their trainers. Dark damp basements, smelly garages, and one guy I saw riding  in an old bathroom. If you are really into the suffering thing, I guess that’s ok. Since riding a bike going nowhere is already mentally tough, I like to be as comfortable as possible. Find a place where you are comfortable, that’s not too hot or cold. Be sure to have a fan, and plenty of water. You spouse may not want you riding in dining, but you on’t have to suffer next to the boiler.

4. DJ Handbar –

Be your own DJ, and have a great playlist. Great music will motivate you, and help you turn your brain off. Its also fun to play music games during the workout. You can sprint the choruses, and spin during the verses. Also, you can increase tension every time the singer repeats a phrase. Mix it up and jam out.

5. Drills

On a trainer you don’t have to worry about cars, loose dogs, or falling over. This is a great time to work on pedaling drills. Pedaling drills help you develop a stronger, smoother stroke. They emphasize one aspect of the stroke, so you can concentrate of firing those muscle groups.

Here’s some drills to make you pedal smooth like butter.

Workout Wednesday – Work Horse of Bike Fitness – Tempo

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout – Bike Tempo


In the past few weeks, we have covered cycling leg strengthpedaling mechanics, and cycling intervals. Now it’s time to pull together that strength and efficiency with tempo efforts. Tempo efforts are just long intervals. The key is to perform them at the correct intensity. Tempo intervals should be done at 80% effort, your breath and heart rate will be slightly elevated. At this work rate you are working just below your lactate threshold. Be careful not to exceed that 80% effort, as you will be entering the red zone, and working a different energy system.

Tempo workouts are in that sweet spot of training where you are working endurance and speed at the same time. These sessions simulate race effort, but at shorter intervals, so you don’t wreck your legs. Remember, effective training sessions should be done hard enough to get benefits, but leave you able to do the next session. (Check your self, before you wreck yourself.)

Tempo work can be done indoors or outdoors. If riding outside, be sure to have enough road to complete your interval without stopping. Once you get your self in the correct zone, it is much easier to maintain than restart.

On to the workout. This workout is programmed for an athlete how has been riding for at least six months. Feel free to add or remove intervals to meet your goals.

Bike Tempo Work I

  • Warm up I – 10 min Easy
  • Warm up II – 3 X 1 min on/30 secs off
  • Tempo Effort I – 2 X 5 min @ 80% / 90 sec res
  • Easy Spin – 2 min
  • Tempo Effort II – 2 X 10 min @ 80% / 2 min rest
  • Easy Spin 2 min
  • Tempo Effort III – 5 min @ 80%
  • Cool down

Give it a go! If you use this interval in your training, please leave a comment, and let us know how it went.

Happy Training!

photo credit: Tom Gill. via photopin cc