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One-Hour Workout: Laser Focus, Lungs on Fire Bike Intervals

Get your body and brain buzzing with these bike intervals from pro Lisa Becharas.

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This week’s One-Hour Workout comes from up-and-coming pro triathlete Lisa Becharas and it involves a fun and feisty blend of best-effort intervals with some FTP (functional threshold power) work.

The workout can be done outdoors or indoors on the trainer, but Becharas—who is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is part of the Julie Dibens squad—said she far prefers doing it out on the road.

“I prefer to do a 20-minute easy spin (at about 50% FTP) out to my favorite gradual hill climb,” she said. “My go-to here is Lefthand Canyon, which is a nice 4% grade most of the way. I like using an uphill because it slows the speed down a bit on the hard parts and allows me to focus on controlled riding. If you don’t have a hill I would recommend finding a quiet road with little to no traffic.”

Within the 20-minute warm-up, you can add in some 10 to 15-second spin-ups to help wake up your legs, lungs, and heart, so that you’re ready to go when the main set rolls around. You’ll get right into it with: 30 seconds at your best sustainable effort, followed by three minutes at 92-94% FTP, which equates to RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) 8/10 for those not using power. Do two rounds of this, before a five-minute easy spin, just turning your legs over.

You’ll then hit two rounds of 45 seconds at your best sustainable effort, followed by three minutes at 92-94% FTP or RPE 8/10, then another five minutes easy spin.

The final part of the main set comes in the form of two rounds of 60 seconds at your best sustainable effort, followed by three minutes at 92-94% FTP or RPE 8/10.

You’ll then wrap it all up with some easy relaxed riding to cool down to the hour.

And Becharas has some further advice for those tackling this workout: “Remember that your best sustainable effort is the hardest effort you can hold for that interval without completely falling apart. Do not, for example, start out with a 500-watt sprint and fade to 250 watts by the end of the effort. If you’re doing this on your tri bike, do the best sustainable effort intervals out of your aero bars and the 92-94% FTP intervals in good, controlled aero position.”

For those athletes who are currently enjoying some end-of-season rest and recovery, maybe tuck this workout away for later on as Becharas advised it’s best done after a couple of weeks of some tempo/sweet spot work on the bike, adding: “It’s not a very long workout, but boy does it get the heart rate up! It’s a good introduction to longer, harder intervals that come later in the season. For me, the most challenging part is maintaining focus during the second round of each interval set. It’s definitely good for the mind and the body—give it a try and have fun!”

One-Hour Workout: Laser Focus, Lungs on Fire Bike Intervals

Warm-up

20 min. easy riding, including a few 10-15 sec. spin-ups

Main set

2 x (30 sec. @ best effort into 3 min. @ 92-94% FTP or RPE 8/10)

5 min. easy spin

2 x (45 sec. @ best effort into 3 min. @ 92-94% FTP or RPE 8/10)

5 min. easy spin

2 x (60 sec. @ best effort into 3 min. @ 92-94% FTP or RPE 8/10)

Cool-down

Easy, relaxed riding to the hour

 

Get more 60-minute sessions from top athletes and coaches around the world in our One-Hour Workout archives.