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This week’s One-Hour Workout comes from 70.3 world champion, Kona runner-up, and Triathlete of the Year, Lucy Charles-Barclay and it’s one of her go-to workouts for improving her pedal stroke and cadence that she does every month.
You’ll begin with a 10-minute steady warm-up, steadily building from a very easy spin (Zone 1) up towards Zone 3 by the end of the 10 minutes. If you don’t use heart-rate or power and prefer to train by feel or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) then this equates to a 6-7/10 RPE by the end of the warm-up.
It’s then time for five minutes of single leg drills, alternating 30 seconds left leg only, 30 seconds right leg only, then back to the left again. Charles-Barclay said: “Try to deliver even power on the pedal stroke all of the way through the rotation and focus on smoothing out any dead spots.”
You’ll then conclude this prep set with five minutes in Zone 2-3 (RPE 6-7/10) to get your heart-rate elevated and get ready for the main set.
The main set involves five rounds of four minutes riding at a cadence of 95+ RPM in Zone 3 (RPE 7/10) followed by one minute recovery. Charles-Barclay said: “This is higher than most people’s standard cadence and the focus here is to improve your leg speed capabilities. While you might be happy riding with a slower cadence in a large gear, it is always important to have the ability to switch your cadence up in certain situations without shocking your system, so I do this session at least monthly to practice this skill. If this an area you wish to focus on and improve then doing a consistent block of sessions like this and progressions will lead to easier higher cadence riding.”
Wrap it all up with a 15-minute easy spin, gradually spinning down to Zone 1/2 and letting your heart-rate fall. You can also repeat some of the single-leg drills during the cool-down to see if you can still be smooth in your pedaling.
One-Hour Workout: Lucy Charles-Barclay’s Pedal Power Trainer Session
10 min. steady, building from Z1 to Z3 (or RPE 4/10 to 6/10)
5 min. single leg-drills, alternating legs every 30 sec.
5 min. @ Z2-3 (RPE 6-7/10)
5 x (4 min. @ Z3 (RPE 7/10) @ 95+ RPM; 1 min. recovery)
15 min. @ Z1/2, including some single-leg drills if desired
Get more 60-minute sessions from top athletes and coaches around the world in our One-Hour Workout archives.