Workouts

One-Hour Workout: The “Time Flies” Trainer Ride

Fed up of riding the trainer? Try this workout—there's plenty for your brain and body!

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While it feels like spring for some, many of us still have some winter-like days ahead before we can fully turn to outdoor riding—and sometimes it’s just quicker and more efficient (not to mention safer) to knock out a quick one-hour endurance ride indoors. If this sounds like you but the thought of yet another endurance hour on the trainer makes you want to scream or cry or both, this workout will help you see that hour through fresh eyes.

Providing a mix of endurance intervals at varying cadences and brief surges to threshold effort, this workout will help the time fly by quickly. Better yet, you can scale the duration of the workout up or down by adding or subtracting “building block” sets, doubling the length of intervals within a given “building block,” or even repeating the entire workout.

This bike workout is meant to be executed indoors on your trainer; if you are running a smart trainer, set yourself up on a free ride or a flat route within your software of choice. Use the warm-up to find the gearing that allows you to maintain a cadence of 85-95 RPM at your endurance effort level (65-70% of FTP/RPE 4 on a scale of 1-10, where RPE 7 is your threshold effort level) while still providing some room to move a few gears harder.

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The following building blocks are used to create the workout:

Building Block #1: Cadence Play (5 min.)
Shift 2-3 gears harder for 2 min. maintaining 70-75 RPM, Endurance Effort/65-70% of FTP/RPE 4
Return to your original gearing for 3 min. at 85-95 RPM, Endurance Effort/65-70% of FTP/RPE 4

Building Block #2: Threshold Surges (2.5 min.)
Shift 2-3 gears harder for 30 sec. at 100-110 RPM, Threshold Effort/95-105% of FTP/RPE 7
Return to your original gearing for 2 min. at 85-95 RPM, Endurance Effort/65-70% of FTP/RPE 4

The workout itself is built as follows:

One-Hour Workout: The “Time Flies” Trainer Ride

Warm-up:
5 min. easy/50-60% of FTP/RPE 3
5 min. endurance effort/60-70% of FTP/RPE 4

Main Set:
4 x Building Block #1: Cadence Play (20 min. total)
2 x Building Block #2: Threshold Surges (5 min. total)
5 min. at your original gearing, 85-95 RPM, endurance effort/60-70% of FTP/RPE 4
2 x Building Block #1: Cadence Play (10 min. total)
2 x Building Block #2: Threshold Surges (5 min. total)

Cooldown:
5 min. easy/50-60% of FTP/RPE 3 to finish out the hour

Alison Freeman is a co-founder of and triathlon coach with NYX Endurance in Boulder, Colorado. She works with a wide range of age-group athletes, but athletes new to long-course triathlon are her favorites because there is no such thing as too many questions.