For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Use this workout to build solid-state power and to even up your pedal stroke.
Though simple, this week’s workout aims to improve upon two very important components of triathlon cycling: The ability to keep a steady cadence and pace, and the need to pedal efficiently. Because multisport cycling doesn’t require the changes of pace that regular road cycling does (e.g., the ability to respond to/launch attacks, sprint at the finish, etc), triathletes need to supplement their higher-intensity intervals that build aerobic capacity with steady-state tempo rides, focusing on keeping the pace consistent, even when physical and mental fatigue begins to creep in.
Similarly, it’s important for triathletes to maintain efficient pedaling form—creating even circles throughout the pedal stroke, not simply mashing down—in order to get the best power transfer on the bike and feel more fresh and loose on the impending run. When you combine a tempo and pedaling drill-work, you also learn to pedal better, even while fatigued—when your body truly doesn’t want to.
Because this workout isn’t nearly as intense as high-end intervals with large rest, you can perform this set at almost any time in your training block with only a bit of rest before and after. But because it focuses on form, try to plan a few of these sessions early in your season to help build good pedaling habits. For best results, do this workout on a trainer, but the open road also works well. Either way, be sure to stay in the aerobars as long as possible—this is a key part of your body’s tri adaptation.
5 minutes easy, Zone 1, or Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) less than 3/10
5 minutes RPE of 5/10
3 minutes of (30 seconds right-leg only, 30 seconds left-leg only at RPE of 4/10)
10 minutes at RPE of 6/10, holding 90 RPM
2 x (1 minute of right-leg only, RPE of 5/10, holding 70 RPM
1 minute of left-leg only, RPE of 5/10, holding 70 RPM)
10 minutes at RPE of 7/10, holding 90 RPM
2 x (1 minute of right-leg only, RPE of 6/10, holding 80 RPM
1 minute of left-leg only, RPE of 6/10, holding 80 RPM)
5 minutes at RPE of 8/10, holding 90 RPM
2 x (1 minute of right-leg only, RPE of 7/10, holding 90 RPM
1 minute of left-leg only, RPE of 7/10, holding 90 RPM)
10 minutes easy