One-Hour Workout: ITU-Style Bike Pace Change-Ups

This week’s workout comes from Michael Harlow, founder, CEO and head coach of Virginia-based Endorphin Fitness. A triathlete since the age of 10, Harlow has represented the U.S. at three age-group world championships. Harlow is a USA Triathlon Level II coach, a USAT Youth and Junior Certified Coach and was named Youth Developmental Coach of The Year by USA Triathlon in 2012.

This workout is best completed “early in a training block, bridging the gap between early season power/speed development and more sustained VO2 max and threshold efforts,” Harlow says. “These workouts break longer sets into small bouts, done above threshold with short rests in between. The short bouts make sustaining a higher intensity possible, whereas the short rest intervals don’t allow heart rate to fully recover. In the end, you get a combined threshold workout aerobically and speed skill development neuromuscularly.”

As many of Harlow’s athletes’ focus is draft-legal racing, this is a typical ITU-style bike workout, but works well for anyone looking to break through a plateau.

Ideally, this set should be done on a trainer to ensure consistency in effort and pacing. For the 20-second recovery between each bout, be sure you keep pedaling—don’t just stop completely. A major component of successfully completing this workout is managing the spike in heart rate through the short recovery.

10 minutes building Zone 1 to Zone 2
1 minute Zone 3
1 minute Zone 4
1 minute Zone 5
2 minutes Zone 2

Main Set
2 x 15 minutes of alternating 40 seconds in Zone 5-6 with 20 Seconds in Zone 1
5 minutes between sets in Zone 1

10 minutes in Zone 1-2

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