What to do in one hour 2


Time to train is often at a premium.

So what can you do if you only have one hour, including time to get changed and shower afterwards?

Given the short time available, using a turbo will be more effective than riding outside. The turbo allows you to focus fully on the session without any concerns for weather, traffic and road conditions. As an added bonus, you don’t need to feel guilty about not cleaning your bike!

As always, to get maximum benefit from your training, each session should be focused and have a specific goal. At this time of year, many coaches would suggest you focus on developing your weaker points. For example, if you are a relatively strong climber or time-trialler, good at steady-state efforts for long periods, you might focus on the short, high intensity efforts needed to close gaps. This will also have a positive effect on your average power at much longer intervals.

Save time, be prepared!

One way to save precious time is to make sure your turbo is always set up and ready to go, and your kit is laid out and to hand (including shoes, heart-strap, Garmin, filled water-bottle, hand-towel, etc.) You can do this at odd times during the day so that your one hour of training time can be properly focused.

 

THE WORKOUTS

Here follow several workouts that all take 45 minutes, leaving you with 15 minutes to get changed before and after, including a quick shower. We have indicated the goal for each workout to help you decide which one is best for you. If you decide to do several workouts over successive days, do them in decreasing order of difficulty.

The workouts are provided in four categories:

  1. Leg Strength
  2. High Cadence
  3. STME (Short Term Muscular Endurance)
  4. VO2max

To get the most out of these workouts, you need to use a power meter and to have an accurate idea of your training zones. If you don’t have a power meter you will have to use the perceived effort scale. In this case, be particularly conservative on the first 3 or 4 intervals because it is easy to start too hard when you don’t have an accurate measure. Unfortunately, a heart rate monitor is useless for short intervals, because the interval will be over before your heart rate has stabilised.

Practical considerations

You will need to set your Garmin up to display instantaneous power (or 3s power), lap average power, lap time and cadence.

Depending on your turbo set-up, it may take some experimentation to find the right combination of gear and resistance to allow you to achieve the target power output at the target cadence for each session. Once you’ve found it, make a note so you can repeat the session more easily.

 

LEG STRENGTH

Since power is the product of force and cadence it is important to develop both. There’s usually more to gain, however, from the force side of the equation. Here follow a couple of turbo sessions which work well for leg strength. The longer intervals include a greater endurance element. In both cases you will need to experiment to find the right level of power that you can sustain through the complete exercise. Start at the lower end of the zone.

 

Leg Strength #1 (45’) Very high force for one minute intervals.

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (30’): 2 x 6 x [1’Z6 C50-60 – 1’Z1 C80-90] – 6’. Two blocks of 12’ each, consisting of 6 sets of 1’ in Zone 6 at cadence 50-60rpm followed by 1’ rest in Z1 at cadence 80-90rpm, with six minutes of easy spinning between the two blocks.
Cool down (5’): 5’ easy spinning at low resistance. Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

Fig 1: 2 x 6 x [1’Z6 C50-60 – 1’Z1 C80-90] – 6’

 

Leg Strength #2 (45’) High force for four minute intervals.

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (32’): 4 x [4’Z5 C50-60 – 4’Z1 C80-90]. Four sets of 4’ in Zone 5 at cadence 50-60rpm followed by 4’ rest in Z1 at cadence 80-90rpm.
Cool down (3’): 3’ easy spinning at low resistance. Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

Fig 2: 4 x [4’Z5 C50-60 – 4’Z1 C80-90]

It is important to concentrate on your pedal stroke during the power intervals. The power should come from your core and only your legs should move. Tighten your abdominal muscles, keep your upper body still and rest your hands on the bars (don’t grip them hard or pull on them). Look well ahead as if you were on the road, and keep the stroke as smooth as possible.

If your power meter provides a Torque Effectiveness reading, it should be as close as possible to 100% on both legs, meaning that each leg is fully unweighted on the upstroke.

 

HIGH CADENCE

Cadence is the second component of power (with force). You can generate the same power with either high cadence and low force, or with low cadence and high force. In the first case you are putting more stress on your cardio-vascular system, whereas in the second case you are putting more stress on your leg muscles.

You should do at least one high cadence session for every two or three high force sessions, or else you will lose the ability to spin fast and thus weaken one of the two components of power. These sessions are meant to develop your muscle coordination at high cadence and it is essential that the resistance be as low as possible so that your power output is very low.

The trick is to learn to spin your legs at the highest cadence possible against no resistance without bouncing. Professionals can reach 200rpm or more; a well-trained amateur should be able to reach 160-170rpm.

 

High cadence (45’).

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at a moderately low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (30’): Two block of fifteen minutes each, each block consisting of: 5’ at 100rpm, 4’ at 105rpm, 3’ at 110rpm, 2’ at 115rpm, 1’ at >120rpm (go for the maximum). No break between the two blocks. If you start bouncing at 110-115rpm, bring the whole set down by 5 or 10 rpm (e.g. start at 90rpm). If you find the exercise too easy, start at 105rpm.
Cool down (5’): 5’ easy spinning at low cadence (<90rpm). Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

Fig 3: 5’ at 100rpm, 4’ at 105rpm, 3’ at 110rpm, 2’ at 115rpm, 1’ at >120rpm

 

SHORT-TERM MUSCULAR ENDURANCE (STME)

This is the term used to describe the quality that enables you to get off to a fast start, respond to attacks and create or close short gaps. You need to be able to produce a high amount of power for a short period of time. This is in the anaerobic zone, Z6, where energy supplies are strictly limited. It is possible to make significant improvement in performance in this area. Expect it to hurt, however.

 

STME (45’) High power for one minute intervals.

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (30’): 2 x 6 x [1’Z6 C80-90 – 1’Z1 C80-90] – 6’. Two blocks of 12’ each, consisting of 6 sets of 1’ in Zone 6 at cadence 80-90rpm followed by 1’ rest in Z1 at cadence 80-90rpm, with six minutes of easy spinning between the two blocks.
Cool down (5’): 5’ easy spinning at low resistance. Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

 

VO2MAX

VO2max refers to the power output at which you are using the maximum possible amount of oxygen. It is the point above which your energy system relies increasingly on anaerobic processes. Most cyclists can sustain this level of power for 5 to 8 minutes. In a race or a sportive you would use this level of power to chase down breaks and close gaps of more than 30-40m.

 

VO2max #1 (45’) High power for four minute intervals.

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (32’): 4 x [4’Z5 C80-90 – 4’Z1 C80-90] – 6’. Four sets of 4’ in Zone 5 at cadence 80-90rpm followed by 4’ rest in Z1 at cadence 80-90rpm.
Cool down (3’): 3’ easy spinning at low resistance. Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

 

VO2max #2 (45’) Alternating high power/tempo power.

Warmup (10’): Ten minutes of spinning at low resistance, progressively increasing the cadence after the first 5’, peaking at 7’30” at a cadence at or above 110rpm, spinning easily for the last 2’30”.
Work (30’): 6 x [4’Z3 C80-90 – 1’Z5 C80-90]. Six sets of 4’ in Zone 3 at cadence 80-90rpm followed by 1’ in Z5 at cadence 80-90rpm.
Cool down (5’): 5’ easy spinning at low resistance. Don’t be tempted to skip this, it helps recovery.

Fig 4: 6 x [4’Z3 C80-90 – 1’Z5 C80-90] (the recording is of 9 sets, stop at 6 to stay within 45′ total)

 

TRAINING ZONES

The following zones are based on the model developed by Andrew Coggan and published in Training and Racing with a Power Meter.

If you have a power meter and you know your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) then use the percentage of FTP given below to calculate the upper and lower bounds of each zone in Watts. If you don’t know your FTP then use 95% of your best ever 20 minutes average power as a first approximation to your FTP.

If you don’t have a power meter the best you can do is estimate which zone you are in based on the “perceived effort” scale. Unfortunately a heart rate monitor is useless for short, high-intensity intervals because the heart rate doesn’t increase fast enough.

 


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