5 Intense Cycling Workouts You Should Try

FTP Coastdowns

This is just fun. Great for variety in a workout, it also helps with the repeated surges of racing. Spend the first 45 minutes warming up with a minimum of 350-500 kilojoules in your legs. Do a couple of 30-second efforts to open up the legs during the warm-up.

The workout starts with two minutes at your threshold power (FTP). Using your "average power" view on the power-meter, ride two minutes at FTP then semi-soft pedal until your power drops 10 watts, taking a minimum of 15-20 seconds to drop, then hard accelerate (near sprint) until your average power is back at FTP. Repeat the soft pedal, 10-watt drop, hard acceleration back to FTP sequence for eight to 10 minutes.

The coast/tempo efforts average approximately 80- to 90-percent FTP and get a bit easier as the interval progresses. The hard accelerations are usually between five and 40 seconds, average between VO2max and one-minute maximal power, and get harder as the interval progresses. The farther into the interval you get, the harder it is to surge back to your average FTP. You have a lot of control over the "coast" portion so don't make it too easy! These are supposed to mimic the pacing and hard accelerations found in a race. Rest for 10 minutes between efforts and try to do between two and five of these in a session.

More: 6 Cycling Drills to Improve Sprinting Speed

Group Ride Redux

Often one's motivation to ride hard is derived from doing the local "weekly world championships" that dot nearly every community. These hard, mid-week, race level efforts are fun, build skills, and help keep your race fitness up. Next time you go try this variation:

Attend the regular group ride, but make your goal to keep your average power as low as possible with a few caveats. The first is that you have to spend the entire ride in the front 10 percent of the field. You should also contribute to the pace making by taking pulls at the front during the ride. Next you have to contest any and all sprints by either contributing to a strong lead out or sprinting for a place. Finally, you have to try and have at least 10 to 15 percent of your ride time at zero power. This is a fun variation to the usual "hard as possible" approach to group rides that we often default to.

The end of summer can often mean a decreased motivation to train in a focused way for those athletes coming to the end of their season. It is also a good time to spice up your workouts by trying something new. The five workouts here are just the tip of the creativity iceberg when it comes to effectively training with power. Give them a try and see what else they may lead to in your personal creativity. You may end up creating new workouts that expand on the concepts above or find whole new ways to challenge your body and mind to continually improve.

More: 7 Tips for Hanging With the Local Peloton

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