Tulsa Tough training is all about anaerobic intervals. Zone 6 intervals 20 – 60 seconds in length + sprints will prepare you optimally for this style of bike racing. When we designed a training plan for Tulsa Tough, we started by analyzing the power and physiological demands of the race. Check out the power, heart rate, elevation, speed and GPS data from the last 5 laps of Cry Baby Hill below:
This athlete was making greater than 500 watts for 14 – 18 seconds each time up Cry Baby Hill! For the 1 hour race, this athlete did 30 laps, thirty times up Cry Baby Hill and 30 times making over 160% of his Functional Threshold Power. So do you do thirty 15 second intervals to train for the Tulsa Tough? Not quite, that would be cruel and unusual punishment.
Instead here are three bread and butter interval workouts that are the core of our six week Tulsa Tough training program, starting April 28th!
- “1 minuters” (Zone 6)
- Sprints workouts.
Recovery Days: Monday & Friday
In our Tulsa Tough training plan there are always going to be 2 Recovery Days where we prescribed recovery techniques such as Foundations, Yoga, Foam Rolling and general lying on the couch. These days occur Monday and Fridays to rest from the weekend (Mondays) as well as Fridays to rest up for the weekend’s training.
Therefore, Tuesdays are for hard interval training days like Tabatas or a training crit. We start athletes off ‘gently’ with only 2 sets of 6 twenty second Tabatas but progress week to week to 3 sets and 8 reps per set. In the 5th week athletes are ready for the most diabolical Tabata workout of them all: 3 sets of 8 forty second reps.
Since we know you have to make the most of your time we prescribe intervals in 2 day blocks to help you get the most out of your body and your limited training time. Thus Wednesday is for VO2’s or anaerobic intervals aka 1 minutes but sometimes even more powerful 30 seconders. Both are highly effective, we mix up the durations to bring more variety to the training plan.
Thursday Sprint Work:
Sprint training is vital to your criterium success and we have designed sprints into the training plan nearly every Thursday. Think in terms of one max effort for only 5 seconds every ten minutes during a 60-90 minute zone 2 ride. With the zone 2 you are getting a “2 fer” 2 workouts in one.
If you are not tired on Fridays you probably are not pushing yourself hard enough Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Thus a well earned rest day; you’ve earned it. Put your feet up, eat a great meal(s) and get a good nights sleep, you are going to need it for the weekend.
For most of us with jobs, mortgages, kids, spouses, Saturday is the goto training day. We like to think our plans help you achieve life balance as well as getting faster on the bike. Therefore expect a hard training day on Saturdays in the form of intervals or a training race. Racing is good training but sometimes intervals are even better. Here’s why: in races you don’t always go as hard as you can for tactical reasons but with intervals we advocate FULL GAS.
Slow Sundays (except!)
Even though criteriums are short and fast we prescribe aerobic training in our criterium training plans. As my friend Dr. Andy Coggan likes to quip, ‘its an aerobic sport, dammit”. Sundays work great because the legs are tired and you are probably sick of performing intervals. We do like to keep your legs revving with sprint work. These types of training rides may be done with teammates and like minded training partners. If you choose to go harder than zone 2 on Sunday and can’t quite make your power output the following Tuesday or Wednesday, guess what? You went to hard Sunday 🙂 You’ll achieve your best results if you follow the plan as close as possible. FtFP!
Periodization: 3 Weeks “ON”, 1 week “OFF”
All of our training plans have periodization built in. We have found that a 3 weeks “ON” 1 week OFF” format works very well physiologically and psychologically. You just can’t kill it every day and every week. Therefore every 4 weeks we have “Regeneration Weeks” built in where your training is to rest, chill and get faster.
Our periodization comes in the form of harder and harder workouts from week 1 to week 3 AND more volume. For example 6.5 hours in week one, to 8 hours in week 2 to 10 hours in week 3. Then we design our Regeneration Weeks at 50% volume of the prior overload in week 4. Thus only 5 hours which will put you into week 4 rested, more powerful, and mentally motivated to keep training hard.
Week 5 is for Winning
This is where you’ll find your most difficult workouts of the entire plan. You can do it – remember your goals and the bragging rights.
Week 6 is for Resting
Let your CTL go down, TSB go over and remove any residual fatigue from your legs. Rest is best, all the hay is in the barn. Use the extra time you have to get more sleep, eat better and dial in your bike. Relax and trust that you’ve put in the hard work and with a little luck on race day you may be up there on the podium!
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Frank is the founder and owner of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. Frank and the FasCat Coaches have been designing training programs to coached athletes for 15 years and have introduced the very same training programs for only $49 in 2017.
You can buy FasCat’s six week interval Tulsa Tough training plans for here.