Many of our athletes are now preparing their season in warmer climates. We wanted to share FIVE of our favorite workouts for the BASE season. January is the time to set the groundwork for the racing season with some long hours on the bike. This period sets the base for the other pieces of the preparation puzzle with some more high intensity in the lead up to the first races. We suggest to be conservative with you FTP especially if you are starting from an untrained state. An inflated FTP could have you running too fatigued to reap the benefits of these workouts.
*Disclaimer: Any workout should be considered as part of an Annual Training Plan (ATP) and be combined with adequate rest to allow your body to properly over compensate for the training stress.
With 90-95% of training time consisting of below 75% FTP, structure can still be added to this period of preparation.
Power consists of Torque X Velocity.
Watts (power) is simply the output of these two inputs. To build a better and robust aerobic engine, it is important to work at both ends of the spectrum of cadence (polarize cadence) regardless of your natural tendency. In this period, we will be focusing on the Torque aspect of power and transitioning toward Velocity closer to the race season.
Workout 1 Hill Repeats
Muscular endurance is something that is essential for any type of long hard effort. Preferably do these into a headwind or up a climb. They should be done in control and not feel like maximal efforts. You should vary hand positions to get used to generating torque at different hip angles. The main goal of this exercise is to generate the torque needed at FTP without stressing the cardiovascular system (keeping fatigue lower). This is also a great way to work on eliminating dead-spots in your pedal stroke. All these repeats should be seated, you do not want to use the weight of your body, but fully load the muscles.
6 X 4min @50-60rpm 85-90%FTP (3mind rest)
RPE of 7.5/10
Workout 2 Endurance Ride
There just is no way to replace these for the time crunched athlete. This is why making time for a 3hr+ ride at least once a week goes a long way. The benefits of a long ride at <75% is mainly increasing mitochondrial density and teaching our body to rely on fat for fuel. In this session we aim to be 100% aerobic as cycling is an aerobic sport in the large majority of cases. A good way track your progress is to look at your HR at a certain Power in the final hour (HR decoupling)
Work yourself up from 3 to 5 hours (keep in mind that cycling on Zwift might mean you can cut back on the duration because of minimal time at 0rpm)
Workout 3 Sprint workout
In order to raise your general level and shift your whole power curve up, you need to develop all systems and this incudes short duration power under 20 seconds. This sprint workout can often be pre-loaded with a gym workout if you have the supervision of a professional to properly execute low rep-high load hip extensions. You can alternate the gym workout and the on the bike work (as there are benefits in putting either one first). These efforts are all-out, but as an endurance athletes they will not create important metabolic stress.
2 X max RPM 12sec sprints (3min recovery)
2 X seated standing starts 12sec sprints on your biggest gear (3min recovery)
4 X rolling sprints 12 sec all-out in the drops (2uphill and 2 downhill) (full recovery)
Workout 4 Fatmax
This workout has been made famous by Tadej Pogacar's coach who is the main scientist behind this protocol (Dr. Inigo San Milan). The goal of this workout is to spend as much time as possible at the power zone at which you are burning the highest amount of fat (this is zone 2 in a 5 zone model). An easy RPE metric is that this is usually the tipping point where you could have a discussion but it would be uncomfortable to entertain one. The execution of this workout is complex. You will need flat to rolling terrain and want very little fluctuation in power (NP and avgP should be literally the same). Ideally this is done up a 1 hour climb, but those are hard to find!
Start with 60min in zone 2 and work yourself up to 2 hours.
Workout 5 Dr. Seiler 3X8min
These are the craze in the endurance world right now. They not only stimulate the anaerobic system, but allow proper use of the aerobic system in the first few minutes of the interval. These are an adaptation of the 2 X 20min full out threshold intervals and have proven to be more effective as you can reap the same adaptation without the psychological and high fatigue that a 20min interval would generate.
3X8min @ 105%FTP (3min rest)
Caveats: Make sure to allow proper adaptation time if you are going from a cold to warm climate or going to altitude. You may need to adapt lower numbers and go by HR and RPE. During this building phase, it is best to fuel properly and avoid running empty as the quality of your workouts will greatly diminish which could hinder your progress and tank your motivation.
If you have any questions on how to execute these protocols, feel free to reach out to our riders through chat.
Rider Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MIND