One-Hour Workout: Colt 45 Bike Intervals

Use this super-challenging bike workout to push your cycling threshold higher.

This week’s workout comes from Melanie Yarzy, co-owner of Houston, Texas-based Powerhouse Racing. Yarzy is an 11-year veteran tri coach, USAT Level 1 certified, and USA Cycling Level 3 certified. She’s also a five-time Ironman finisher and first overall female finisher at the 2014 HITS Marble Falls 140.6.

Too often triathletes can find themselves stuck in a rut—PRs are coming slowly and maybe eventually not at all. While age can be a factor, one of the easiest things for a triathlete to do is settle into a training plateau. Caused by doing too much work in the same training zone, a training plateau can cause improvements to stagnate and aerobic systems to remain in stasis—getting out of your narrow comfort zone becomes difficult or impossible on race day.

Even if the athlete is training for longer distances, it’s still important to work out the higher heart rate zones with interval training to get to the next level. These intervals—while incredibly challenging—will help raise your aerobic threshold on the bike, allowing you to ride faster, easier and come off the bike fresher for your run.

Named after the zones in the main set (4 and 5), the Colt 45 workout should be one of your key sessions for the week—go in fairly rested, and allow yourself a day or two of recovery from riding or running. Do these intervals in the middle to end of the season, after a good base and strength phase have been successfully finished.

Best completed on a trainer, these intervals can also be done on the road, but it’s very important that you use a course that won’t be interrupted by traffic, lights, or downhills. Because each interval is short, but intense, it’s key to do the efforts nonstop. Also, try to maintain your aero position in the aerobars while pushing hard efforts for maximum race-day adaptation.

Warm-Up:
5 minutes in zone 1-2, high-cadence spinning 90+ easy gear

Main Set:
3 minutes in zone 3, 1 minute in zone 4, 1-minute recovery
2 minutes in zone 3, 2 minutes in zone 4, 1-minute recovery
1 minute in zone 3, 3 minutes in zone 4, 1-minute recovery

5 minutes in zone 2, high-cadence spinning 90+ easy gear

4 minutes in zone 4, 1 minute in zone 5, followed by 2-minute recovery
3 minutes in zone 4, 2 minute in zone 5, followed by 2-minute recovery
2 minutes in zone 4, 3 minute in zone 5, followed by 2-minute recovery
1 minutes in zone 4, 4 minute in zone 5, followed by 2-minute recovery

(Bonus: 5 minutes in zone 5 to empty the tank)

Cool-Down:
7 minutes easy spin in zone 1-2

More one-hour workouts