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The Need for Speed Two...
Quality Workouts for Cycling

Steve Elton

Well, I realized after writing down a list of workouts to increase your running speed (“The Need For Speed,”) that I should give cycling an equal billing as well.  I have also noticed this topic reoccurring on the Discussion Forum and thought some of you would benefit from these workouts. When incorporating speed work into your cycling program always be safe, build your efforts gradually and avoid doing to much too soon. Always err on the side of less than more.  Most of these can be performed alone, on the trainer as well as the road. But, for maximum effectiveness and FUN, I recommend working out on the road with a group. Oh, by the way, always be aware of your surroundings and the traffic around you. We want you to get faster, but preferably ALIVE! That said, here they are.

*Heart rate upper limit =(180-age), lower limit=upper limit –10 (note that heart rate on the bike is usually 5-10 bpm lower that when running, so adjust the above formula accordingly)

#1 The pyramid
Warm up 5-10 miles, do the following repeats: 1 minute hard/30 seconds rest, 2 minutes hard/30 seconds rest, 3 minutes hard/30 seconds rest, 4 minute hard/30 seconds rest, 5 minutes hard/30seconds rest, 4 minutes hard/30 seconds rest, 3 minutes hard/30 seconds rest, 2 minutes hard/30 seconds rest, 1 minute hard/30seconds rest, cool down 5-10 miles. Work interval should be 5-10 bpm above upper limit, recovery at or below lower limit. Too hard? Recover for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds. If on the trainer, your warm-up and warm-down can be 110-20 minutes.

#2 The Jack and Jill
Best done with at least one other rider, preferably a group. Warm up 5-10 miles, find a hill of moderate slope approximately 1 mile in length, riders leave in 15 second intervals and try and catch the person in front before he or she reaches the top of the hill. Work effort should be all out and recovery very easy. Start with 4 repeats and gradually work up to 6-8. Cool down 5-10 miles.WARNING: THESE REALLY SUCK and I LOVE ‘M!

#3 The Burner
Warm up 5-10 miles; do 4-6 repeats of 5 minutes hard/2minutes recovery. Best done with a buddy leaving 15 seconds apart (remember these Hazen J). Work interval 5-10 bpm above upper limit, recovery at or below lower limit. Cool down 5-10 miles. Those with less cycling base may want to start with 3 minutes hard/2 minutes easy.

#4 The time trial
Find a slightly rolling road and mark it off in 1-mile increments up to 5 miles. Warm up 5-10 miles then do a 5-10 mile time trial, depending on your level of fitness, trying to stay at your upper limit +5-10 bpm. This should be about a 90% effort, so you may have to adjust your heart rate range for the bike if you are not at 90% effort at 5-10 bpm above upper limit. Cool down 5-10 miles.

#5 The Miler
Holy heart rate Batman! This one will push it up there guys. Find a few buddies and warm up for 5-10 miles. Find a one-mile section of road and mark it off. “Toe the line ladies and gentlemen” and race one another for one mile. Recover below lower limit back to the start line. Start with 3-4 repeats and work up to 6-8. Cool down for 5-10 miles. THESE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO INDUCE VOMITING J.

#6 Team time trial
Definitely need a few buddies for this (3 total usually works best), warm up 5-10 miles, then each person take 5 turns in the front for 1 mile at 5-10 bpm above upper limit (this should be about 90%). After your mile “pull” peel off and draft the other riders until they peel off and it’s your turn to pull again. Cool down 5-10 miles. This is one of my favorites and even though you only do 5 “pulls” the total workout is intense and should leave you wasted! Sorry, you loners will have to sit this one out.

#7 The brick

Remember these workouts are intense so you only need to do one of them per week. If you are tapering for an important race you probably don’t need to do these during the week of the race. If you are just training through the race then go for it!

Happy training.


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