This month is all about getting your feet wet with some formal training combos. More to the point, this month is about endurance combos. As mentioned in my last article, training combos should be introduced slowly and used sparingly within a well-structured training program.
Endurance combos are intended to further improve your base fitness, while introducing the stresses of varying terrain and tempos. This is a great workout to use during the transition between base and race fitness. Endurance combos are also a great workout to place into a 3-4 day intensity build during the race season.
Start off with a nice 20-30 minute warm-up in your small ring. Try to do your warm-up on a flat section of road to prevent your heart rate from going above zone 2. This is also the time to stretch your body out and truly get yourself ready for the efforts ahead. Remember, after your warm-up your body should feel loose, open and ready to push into your higher training zones, if you do not feel this, continue to warm-up! Use this riding format for your cool down between efforts and for your final cool down.
Once warm it is time to find some rollers. Do your homework and find a good stretch of road that has relatively even hills on it. You do not want to run into any hills that take more than 2min 30 sec to ride. Bring your heart rate up to 75% max and continue this effort for 15 minutes. Try to stay in the saddle as much as possible, keeping your RPM’s as close to 90 as you can. Your gears are your friend on this part of the workout so use them as much as you can in order to maintain your RPM’S.
At this point in your workout you should be feeling pretty warm and ready to push your HR even higher. Before you push your HR to your redline do at least 10 minutes of base riding just to allow for some active rest.
Here is your chance to hit your redline! Since this is a fairly gentle training combo, the spikes should be very short and start from an RPM higher than 75 on climbs, 90 on flats. This is not the place to act like a super hero by sprinting up a steep hill in your big ring, we are looking for leg speed, not an injury!
Bring your RPM’s up to either 75 or 90 depending on the terrain you are on. Once up to the right RPM, smoothly transition into a standing sprint. Your RPM should get close to your max within 10 seconds at which point your main objective is to maintain at least 90% of the RPM’s for another 10 seconds, rest for a good 5 minutes and repeat. You should do at least 3 spikes, increasing the number based on fitness and training period.
Upon completion of the spikes, return to the base format. Try to get a good 15 minutes of base riding in at the end of the ride to aid in recovery.
So there it is your first training combo. After a few weeks of integrating this workout into your schedule you will feel your speed and recovery come around rather pleasantly. You will also notice your RPM sweet spot will increase, which should result in less leg pain and more snap when it comes time to raise the heart rate.
Enjoy your training!