You're out riding with a group, and after some normal banter and warm up miles, the pace picks up. You're at the back of the pack and though on the edge, you're hanging on. Then, the pace picks up again.
There's a sinking feeling while your front wheel slides out of contact with the draft. You look up to notice the gap between you and the last wheel isn't much.
You decide to claw your way back to the pack, just in time for the pace to pick up again. This time you're dropped like a hot rock, demoralized. The pack is gone.
Fortunately, with a few tweaks to your training regimen, you can get faster and stronger, and learn to stay with the group.
It doesn't matter whether you are heading into the first road race of the season or you're just aiming to hang with the local shop ride, basic training principles remain the same for everyone. The same workouts that benefit road racers can benefit weekend warriors looking to crank out a strong group ride.
Let's look at a few specific intervals that will keep you with the pack in the season ahead.
After you've completed a base-training phase, adding anaerobic intervals will give you the speed you need to stay with the pack. These intervals are going to be difficult, so don't do them too often.
If you're training for a big race, don't do these intervals more than once or twice a week in the six weeks prior to your event.
- Pedal easy for 20 to 30 minutes in Zone 1 to 2.
- Near the end of the warm-up, include 2 to 4 sets of 30-second ramp ups, gradually increasing your power.
- Recover for 1 minute after your last warm-up set.
- Complete 4 to 6 sets of 3-minute intervals at Zone 5b intensity.
- Recover for 3 minutes between each set in Zone 1.
- The main set will work best if done as hill repeats.
- Complete 20 to 30 minutes in Zone 1 or 2.