Though tailored for the Wildflower Tri bike leg, these intervals help you work any course’s early miles.

Though tailored for the Wildflower Tri bike leg, these intervals help you work any course’s early miles.

This week’s workout comes from Los Angeles-based Ryan Schneider, head coach of Good Wolf Coaching. Schneider is certified USAT Level 1 and has raced competitively in triathlons and running races of all distances—from sprints to his nine Ironman finishes (number 10 is planned for Ironman Santa Rosa in a few weeks).

“Most of my athlete-clients are busy executives and time-crunched,” Schneider says. “They’re typically meticulous planners, which serves them well in their careers. Yet several don’t have much race experience, so understanding proper pacing (along with other important factors like nutrition planning) is critical. I therefore try to combine functional training with actual, practical race preparation.”

Recently many of Schneider’s clients have been preparing to compete at the long-awaited return of the Wildflower Triathlon. He cites the rolling hills and often blustery conditions as two major reasons that Wildflower is known as a tough course. “There are steep pitches both right at the beginning leaving Lake Nacimiento and towards the end of the ride. To account for that, and knowing many of my clients can only complete two rides during the week, I’ll structure one-hour workouts as mini-course segments so race day isn’t as much of a surprise,” he says. “This also gives athletes confidence that they’ll be ready to conquer the terrain on race day.”

This workout is meant to simulate the difficult early miles of Wildflower, but is still solid training for any course. “The goal, again, is to breed some sense of mental familiarity with the demands of the course while working the power zones and durations most likely needed to optimally execute on the athlete’s goals,” Schneider says. “We tend to replicate the workout while changing the watts targets based on past performance for a period of weeks heading into the race.”

RELATED: 10 Mistakes to Avoid at Wildflower

Warm-up
7 min easy between 55-60% FTP (Functional Threshold Power), 2 RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion), or HR zone 1; higher cadence of 85-90-plus RPM to wake legs up

Main Set
5 min 88% FTP (RPE 5, HR zone 4), cadence 75-80 RPM range to mimic harder initial effort earlier in the ride – again, simulating a climb from the lake floor at Wildflower in this case

10 min 75% FTP (RPE 4, HR zone 3), cadence 80-90 RPM range, settle into a rhythm

3 min 95% FTP (RPE 6, HR zone 5), cadence 65-75 RPM, simulating a tougher climb effort, with final 10 seconds (7-10 pedal strokes) a little harder and stronger cadence to simulate cresting a hill if stuck indoors on a trainer

1 min 65% FTP (RPE 2, HR zone 2), cadence 85-95 RPM, simulating downhill recovery but emphasizing that we don’t coast down hills

3 min 88% FTP (RPE 5, HR zone 4), cadence 80-90-plus RPM, simulating another tough climb, this time reserving some power and focusing on increasing cadence

1 min 65% FTP (RPE 2, HR zone 2), cadence 85-95 RPM, simulating downhill recovery but emphasizing that we don’t coast down hills

3 min 110% FTP (RPE 7, HR zone 5), cadence 60-70 RPM, simulating a tougher climbing effort but going a bit farther into discomfort – emphasizing later that we want to limit these efforts on race day

1 min 65% FTP (RPE 2, HR zone 2), cadence 85-95 RPM, simulating downhill recovery but emphasizing that we don’t coast down hills

10 min 85% FTP (RPE 5, HR zone 3), athlete-defined cadence, simulating finding a comfortable tempo sweet spot for extended periods in the second-third of the race

2 min 70% FTP (RPE 2, HR zone 2) recovery in aerobic zone

10 min 88% FTP (RPE 5, HR zone 3), athlete-defined cadence, testing ability to increase effort and pacing towards end of ride. Also discovering upper limits of comfort zone.

Cool-down
4 min 50-55% FTP (RPE 2, HR zone 1), easy spin-down

More one-hour workouts