It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut with lower intensity work at this time of year and while that is important, you also want to rev your engine from time to time. This is important not just physiologically, but also mentally: going fast is way more fun!
This workout involves a 15-minute gradual warm-up, where you’ll gently build effort in five-minute blocks. The first five minutes should be smooth and steady, the next five should see you up the effort a notch, and in the final five minutes it’s good to bring your effort level up to 7/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion). This is important to do so you’re ready to go when you hit the main set.
The main set includes three different parts, all of which are at/around your FTP (functional threshold power). Don’t worry, if you don’t use a powermeter this is easily translated as around 8/10 RPE: You should be working, but nowhere near maximum effort—instead, think of it as “comfortably uncomfortable.” Firstly, you’ll hit three sets of three minutes at 8/10 RPE with two minutes recovery spin between each. Next, it’ll be four sets of two minutes at 8/10 RPE with one minute recovery spin between each. And finally, you’ll do five sets of one minute at 8/10 RPE, with 30 seconds easy between each. Cadence should be 85-90 RPM (revolutions per minute).
Aim to keep the effort consistent throughout the entire workout—that is, your pace and effort should be similar on the first set of three-minute efforts as they are on the final set of one-minute intervals. Focus on smooth, fluid pedaling and don’t force it. This workout is best done indoors on the trainer, but if you have a safe stretch of open road that would work well for this then it can be taken outside.
Wrap up the workout with a 10-minute easy spin to bring heart rate down and kickstart recovery.
One-Hour Workout: Rev Your Engines!
15 minutes build by 5 minute blocks, bringing effort to ~7/10 RPE by the end
3 x 3 minutes @ 8/10 RPE – 2 minutes easy spin
4 x 2 minutes @ 8/10 RPE – 1 minute easy spin
5 x 1 minute @ 8/10 RPE – 30 seconds easy spin
10 minutes easy spin