Short and Sweet Saviors for Maintaining Bike Fitness

As the holiday season approaches, many athletes are concerned that circumstances beyond their control will rob them of their hard-earned fitness.

The office parties, visiting, snow days and sledding trips tend to reduce everyone's training hours in November and December. But instead of trying to cram more training into an already packed schedule, try boosting the impact of a couple short workouts.

Cutting back on training time during the holidays doesn't have to harm your performance. Research shows that fitness can be maintained with a reduction of training frequency of 20 percent to 30 percent. If you were training six days a week, drop down to four. However, if you were training four days a week, you shouldn't go below three.

Intensity is the key to maintaining fitness with fewer training hours. Given the proper intensity, your power at lactate threshold can be maintained or even improved during this period. The workouts that follow provide the intensity needed to maximize the fitness bang for your training buck.

Workout 1: The first workout is designed to increase your maximum sustainable power output. Alternate between two intensities, tempo and steady state, during the course of one long interval.

After warming up for 10 minutes (including 3 x 1-minute high-cadence intervals with one minute of active recovery after each), go right into a five-minute tempo interval. This interval is a moderately hard effort (seven on a scale of 10, or 81 to 85 percent of your average time-trial power output) with a lower than normal cadence of 70 to 75 rpm.

After five minutes, pick up the pace to your steady-state intensity (eight on a 10-point scale or 86 to 90 percent of your average time-trial power) for 10 minutes. Think race pace for an Olympic-distance event and keep your cadence at 90 to 95 rpm.

Next, return to tempo intensity for five minutes and then do one more 10-minute steady-state effort and one last five-minute tempo effort before cooling down. This workout is hard enough to produce plenty of lactic acid but not so much that your body can't process it. As a result, you'll accumulate 35 minutes of solid work that will help your body adapt to handle more lactic acid and produce more power for prolonged efforts.

RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion

RPM: Revolutions Per Minute

 

Time

Description

RPE

RPM

0 to10 min.

Warm up with 3 x 1-minute fast pedals with 1-minute recovery

5 or 6

90 to 110

10 to15 min.

5-minute tempo

7

70 to 75

15 to 25 min.

10-minute steady state

8

90 to 100

25 to 30 min.

5-minute tempo

7

70 to 75

30 to 40 min.

10-minute steady state

8

90 to 100

40 to 45 min.

5-minute tempo

7

70 to 75

45 to 50 min.

Five-minute recovery

4

90 to 100

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