One-Hour Workout: Bike Endurance Cadence Drills

As we get into the spring, this week’s workout combines a longer ride with some essential early-season technique work on the bike.

This week’s bike endurance cadence drill workout is courtesy of Olympian and coach Ryan Bolton, a former collegiate runner-turned-pro triathlete who now coaches athletes that range from beginner to elite. Excerpted from The Triathlete Guide to Sprint and Olympic Triathlon Racing, out now from Velopress, this workout is the best of two worlds for early-season bike training: endurance and technique. 

Though the workout itself lasts more than an hour, the “meat” of this session falls right in around 60 minutes. More than just a short-course workout, this session is beneficial to triathletes training for all distances, as it helps get the rider “through” the weekly long ride while still providing much-needed technical work on the pedal stroke. After a long warm-up, the main set focuses on very short intervals that shouldn’t be too difficult—even early in the season—but rather help to reignite one’s legs after a long winter and prepare them for the training ahead.

After the mini main set and spin recovery, this workout forces the rider to refocus on smooth, circular pedaling throughout the entire pedal stroke with high-cadence intervals, followed by rest. This section is placed later in the ride/workout, because this is often when one’s pedal form begins to deteriorate. By practicing good technique later in the ride with a focused section, you’ll be able to train your body properly before the season starts in full.

Be sure to ride intentionally though the cadence section for maximum benefit—don’t let your hips rock as you pedal through the 100 rpm intervals—and try to apply what you’ve taught your body in the final faster set at the end. For more workouts like this, 16-week training plans for short-course athletes from beginner to advanced, and more in-depth technique work, be sure to check out The Triathlete Guide to Sprint and Olympic Triathlon Racing, out now from Velopress.

Bike Endurance Cadence Drills


45 min. easy riding

Main set

6 × 1 min. on (Heart Rate Z3/Z4 or 76–105% FTP) / 1 min. off (Heart Rate Z1 or <56% FTP)

10 min. spin

2 × 5 min. on (100 rpm Heart Rate Z3 or 76–90% FTP) / 5 min. off (Heart Rate Z1 or <56% FTP)

2 × 1 min. on (Heart Rate Z3/Z4 or 76–105% FTP) /1 min. off (Heart Rate Z1 or <56% FTP)


14 min. easy 

Total: 1:45

Need more workouts to try? See our complete collection of one-hour workouts.