Tap into your speed during the colder months without going too hard, too soon.

With much of the Northern Hemisphere plunged into a chilly darkness during the next few months, it’s still important to break out of those one-speed indoor and outdoor rides. Do your legs (and your brain) a favor by mixing a little bit of built speed into your off-season training—this way once the season rolls around, your legs (and again, your brain) won’t be stuck in one gear.

The trick behind this workout is not jumping into the hard intervals too suddenly. There’s no reason to abruptly slam your legs into gear, and the standing sections should still not hit max effort. Also, be sure the pre-standing sections aren’t pushed so hard that you arrive fatigued when it’s time to attack—bear in mind this should be more of a shakeout than a hardcore fitness-building set.

Ideally this workout should be done on a trainer with a good amount of resistance. While power will be useful as a benchmark for the hardest sections, it actually makes more sense to pay attention to your heart rate zones during the building phase of this set. Don’t get too wrapped up in your power numbers (except for the standing section—there likely won’t be enough time for your heart rate to give a good reading), especially since this is meant to be an off-season workout. By worrying about power numbers at this point in the season, you’ll likely end up overextending yourself on a workout that’s not meant to.

This workout can also be performed out on the road, but be sure to pick a spot where you can safely ride uninterrupted without lights or traffic.

10 minutes easy with 4 x (20 seconds right leg only, 20 seconds left leg only, 20 seconds both together)

5 minutes as 5 x (30 seconds build to Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8/10, 30 seconds easy spin)
Main Set
3 x
3 minutes at RPE of 5/10, heart rate zone 2, ~75% FTP
2 minutes at RPE of 6/10, heart rate zone 2-3, ~80% FTP
1 minutes at RPE of 7/10, heart rate zone 3, ~90% FTP
15 seconds at RPE of 8/10, heart rate zone 4-5, >100% FTP
3 minutes easy spin
12 minutes easy spin with 4 x 15 seconds at >100 RPMs