Interval Training for Cycling
Let’s talk about getting faster! If there was a nutritional supplement out there guaranteed to make you a faster cyclist (there’s not), you’d take it right? In this training tip I'll describe ways perform cycling workouts to make you faster on the bike. Its called interval training and intervals are simply going hard for a period of time followed by going easy and repeating as the workout designates.
If you perform intervals consistently week to week, intervals will be the cheapest most effective way for you to get the results you want. Forget the gucci wheels, supplements, doo-hick this new-fangled that. Get out there, find you favorite hill and go up and down it as hard as you can! I like the expression "Cry in the DoJo to Laugh on the Battlefield" Don’t just do intervals once, perform them on a consistent basis, every week like they way we have designed them in our interval training plans.
So how do you get started? Our interval training plans are a simple day by training plan to follow with all the explanations and descriptions for what intervals to do and when. Pick the interval training plan for the type of cycling you are training for! Again, listen to the podcast above to learn about intervals more. After all, these intervals are gonna hurt a little bit, it’d be nice to know they work! Uhummm, they do, guaranteed.
The example workouts below are based on the power demands of the event. By that I mean the type of power output you will be required from the course's terrain and the tactics + race strategy for getting results.
Criterium Racer: Zone 6/ Anaerobic Capacity: 2 sets of 3 x 1 min ON (FULL GAS*) 1 min OFF; 5 min in-between sets
Road Racing: Zone 5 / VO2's: 2 sets of 3 x 3 min ON (FULL GAS) 3 min OFF; 6 min in-between sets
Time Trialist: Zone 4 / Threshold: 2 x 15 minutes ON (FULL GAS) 7.5 minutes OFF
Hill Climbs: Zone 4 / Threshold 2 x 20 minutes ON (FULL GAS) 7.5 minutes OFF
Cyclocross: Zone 6: 2 sets of 4 x 30 seconds ON (FULL GAS) 30 seconds OFF, 5 minutes in-betweens sets
XC Mountain Biking: Zone 6/ Anaerobic Capacity: 2 sets of 3 x 1 min ON (FULL GAS*) 1 min OFF; 5 min in-between sets
Marathon & Ultra Mountain Biking: Sweet Spot: 3 x 15 minutes ON (Sweet Spot Pace) 7.5 minutes OFF
Fondo/Gravel: lots and lots of sweet spot, see our How to Sweet Spot training tip.
* Full Gas is an expression for going as hard as you can for the interval duration prescribed. Ahhh, lactic acid, your new best friend!
Copyright 2021, FasCat Coaching
Frank is the owner & founder of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. He is a full time professional coach of 15 years, former category 1 road racer and semi-pro mountain biker and current masters cyclist. He and the FasCat Coaches prescribe intervals for athletes all over North America and the World.
To talk with a FasCat Coach about interval training described above, please fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a coaching consultation or buy one of FasCat's six week $49 interval training plans.
Foundation : 3 Weeks
- Perfect for the road or mountain biker during the Fall
- Raise your CTL and the all-important muscle tension intervals
Phil Gaimon's FONDO
- Complete similar workouts to what Phil does to prepare for all his KOM's
- Sweet Spot training, threshold intervals, and some anaerobic work