Do you feel like no matter how much you train, your performance has remained unchanged (or decreased)?
If this is you – or if you simply want to improve your current cycling power, endurance and overall performance – then these key sessions used by our coaches at Science to Sport can do just that!
Science to Sport athlete, Tristan Cardew chatted to our coach, John Wakefield in this YouTube video to find out more about which sessions are best to include in your training – and when to use them.We’ve summarised the key points for your reading, in this blog article.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Do I need a power meter?
While these sessions are best done with a power meter, you can also use heart rate (HR) or a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) to complete this training.
If you don’t use a power meter, be aware that both HR and RPE are likely to be influenced by external factors such as weather and levels of fatigue. Similarly, your RPE and HR will increase during the longer efforts, as you accumulate acute fatigue.
If you’re using RPE, aim your efforts at 2/10 for recovery and 7/10 for threshold.
Must these sessions be done outdoors, or can I do them indoors?
There are benefits to both – and it’s about finding a combination that works for you.
While indoor training offers time efficiency and ease of completion for prescribed sessions – riding outside adds specificity. Ultimately, both create the necessary training stimulus, so it’s about finding the balance for you and your goals.
If your goal events require technical skills, such as mountain biking, gravel racing or bunch riding, then it is recommended to train in these situations as much as possible.
How many hard sessions should I do in a week?
If you’re starting out, we recommend that you mostly follow a rule of 80/20, where 80% of your training is easy and 20% is hard. Practically, this translates to two hard sessions per week. If you are a well-trained athlete, at the end of a specific training block, you can consider adding a third hard session from time to time.
It is important that you leave enough recovery time (around 3 days) between the more intense sessions to maximise the stimulus from each workout and reduce the risk of injury.
How do I know what my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is?
YOUR TYPICAL TRAINING PHASES AND OUR KEY SESSIONS FOR EACH
Broadly speaking, it’s best to work your training into 4 phases, each around 3 weeks long:
1 – Neuromuscular work, also known as low-cadence work
The objective of this training block is to create neuromuscular pathways between your muscles and brain – to increase your functional strength and muscular endurance, used as a good base building block.
Remember, these intervals are performed to a torque value and not to power. You are able to select this as an option on your Garmin or Wahoo device. Alternatively, you can calculate torque after your session by using the calculation on the graphic.
You may find it quite difficult performing these intervals at the prescribed cadence, but you should be able to reduce your RPM the more you do these intervals
2 – Metabolic work
Sessions during this phase will stimulate type 1 muscle fibres and mitochondrial growth, as well as improve your metabolic flexibility and ability to use fat and lactate substrates as fuel.
It’s best to perform this session on a route that doesn’t have any steep declines and that doesn’t require any stopping, to keep your effort consistent.
3 – Threshold work
Training to increase your FTP.
It’s best to find a climb with a steady gradient of around 3 – 8% for these intervals.
4 – High intensity
A general sharpening that includes some race specific sessions.
A bonus, panic session
We have one bonus session that you can use if you get that late race call up and need to be race ready, fast: the Bent R Rønnestad intervals or the 40/20 session above should get you as race ready as is possible in the short time available.
IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT THESE INTERVAL SESSIONS
Remember to include low intensity work and sufficient rest in your training. Rest plays a critical part in your training adaptions.
LOOKING FOR A COACH OR TO LEARN MORE?
If you’re interested in following a structured training program that is personalised to your goals and lifestyle, get in touch to find out more about our coaching options available.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in learning more about these coaching techniques, have a look at our coaching course available.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional performance advice. diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your professional or other qualified provider with any questions or health confirmation before undertaking a new training regimen, and never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.