You know who you want to beat: your friend, your sister-in-law, that guy that always seems to win your age group. The only way you're going to beat them is to better yourself.
Here are five ways to do just that and blast the competition this summer.
#1. Devour Hills
If it were possible to swim up hills, we'd tell you to do that. That's how great hill workouts are. No matter what your current ability level is, riding and running up hills will make you better. There's no better workout.
For both cycling and running, find hills in your area that take you anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes to ride or run up. Sandwiched between a good warm-up and cool-down, work up to a set of 15 to 30 minutes of work intervals.
For example, 16 x 1:00, 8 x 3:00, 6 x 5:00. Ride/run up the hill at an intensity that is +/- eight BPM of your average heart rate in a 12-mile or 30-minute time trial (for cycling) and a three-mile time trial or recent 5K race (for running).
For example, if you averaged 160 BPM in a recent 12-mile time trial for cycling, do your work intervals at 152 to 168 BPM. Go hard, but pace yourself; parcel out your effort for the whole set of intervals, just as you would do in a race. You want to get as far up the hill, or further up the hill, on your last interval as you did on your first interval.
For the rest intervals:
- For cycling, coast down the hill practicing your descending skills.
- For running, run easy down the hill, staying light on your feet.
For cycling, stay seated for most intervals and most hill workouts. But mix in some standing climbing for variety. For example, you could do 8 x 3 minutes where you stay seated for the first 2:45 of each climb, then stand for the last 15 seconds. Or for 16 x 1 minute, you could stay seated for all intervals except for numbers 4, 8, 12 and 16, for which you'd stand. Mix things up, but keep climbing those hills.
#2. Do the Best Bricks
Make your bricks perfect race preparation. Most importantly, do portions of them at race intensity. Too many athletes do their bricks and other long workouts at too easy of an intensity (and thus at slow speeds/paces).
If you train easy and slow, how are you going to be able to go hard and fast in a race?
Instead, start putting some snap into your bricks. It will boost your race-readiness and the speed you can hold in races.