By now you are most likely in the final throes of your base training phases for the cross season. It is important to have an effort of 60 – 90 minutes (60 if preparing for a 30 minute race, on up to 90 to prep for 60 minute race) at the high end of zone 2 heart rate while wattage and/or pace remain the same throughout, and see this previous post for more info.
A good bridge from this phase into the build phases are tempo (AKA cruise) intervals. They are a zone 3 effort and you will find the most benefit with these in the mid to high end of zone 3. Start these at 20% higher power than you were pushing during aerobic threshold intervals and keep an eye heart rate. Adjust power to keep your heart rate within mid to upper zone 3.
Once you’ve done a couple of these rides you’ll know what power is at that rate, and so just peg it there as a matter of course for these intervals going forward. When heart rate begins to drop at that power level then up the power to get heart rate where it should be and you’ve just gotten stronger!
As always begin with at least 15 minutes of warm up and end with at least 10 minutes of warm down:
T15: 5×15 minute intervals at tempo with 3 minutes off between them T20: 5×20 minute intervals at tempo with 3 minutes off between them T25: 4×25 minute intervals at tempo with 3 minutes off between them T45: 2×45 minute intervals at tempo with 3 minutes off between them
As with your base workouts make sure to complete the duration properly before moving to the next one. Slowly and methodically building to your objectives will help prevent burn-out and injury. It’ll also make you faster! Start these at 20% higher power than you were pushing during aerobic threshold intervals and adjust from there. One or two of these sessions per week is plenty, and keep up the speed skill (see previous post here and here) drills and longer endurance rides.
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TRAINING BIBLE COACH